Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, November 19, 2020


Page 1


LACBA Owes Nearly $1 Million in Back Rent on Offices

Current Expenses Are Exceeding Revenues; Shriveling Income Attributed to Pandemic


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The financial woes of the Los Angeles County Bar Association are mounting, with nearly $1 million owed in back rent for the organization’s two floors in an office building at the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Bixel Avenue, and with the year-to-date expenses exceeding revenues.

The figures were contained in a financial summary prepared for viewing by members of the Board of Governors at their monthly meeting, scheduled to take place last night via remote technology. That report was an attachment to the meeting agenda and, while the agenda was available on LACBA’s website, the report was not—but was widely disseminated yesterday by a watchdog group, the Council of Sections.

“Unpaid rent continues to accrue ($960,000) April through October and is reflected on the financials as an expense,” the summary says.

Behind Budget

“Both income and expenses are below expectations comparing to the [year-to-date] budget specifically due to the effects of the pandemic on programming, advertising, and sponsorships,” the report notes, disclosing that the association is behind budget by $906,000.

Total revenues for the calendar year, through Sept. 30, are shown as $6.9 million with expenses reported to have been $7.9 million. Factoring in a portion of a 2017 cy pres award, applied in annual increments, LACBA has lost about $851,000 so far this year—the big drain on its resources being the rent.

Even before the pandemic hit, LACBA was using only one of the two floors it had leased under the previous chief executive officer, Sally Suchil. It could have extricated itself from the lease by now had Suchil not waived the escape clause in favor of other allowances.

Investment Balance

The report notes that as of Nov. 13, LACBA’s investment balance was $4.2 million and its line of credit with UBS, at an interest rate of 1.878 percent, was $2.6 million.

LACBA’s executive director, Stanley Bissey, said last month:

“As LACBA begins work on the 2021 annual budget, the elected leadership and staff are exploring all options for the financial stability and sustainability of the bar.”

On the bright side for LACBA, dues income as of Sept. 30, projected to be $1.9 million, has exceeded $2 million notwithstanding that the only meetings that have been held have been via remote technology.


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