Former Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa is asking the city to restructure a $275,000 home loan he obtained from the city in 2004 so he can sell his house without losing money, according to a city councilman.
Ochoa, who became the city manager of Glendale in January, was given the loan when he was appointed in 2004 as part of his compensation package. He has to repay it within 18 months of leaving the city, according to the loan agreement.
But Ochoa's home on Madeline Drive is worth less than what he owes on it, so he is asking the city to restructure the loan so he doesn't have to sell the house now for a loss, City Councilman Tom Adams said.
"He doesn't want to wait for prices to recover, he wants to leave and go to Glendale," Adams said. "Glendale is apparently not offering him any assistance so he wants Monrovians to assist him."
Ochoa did not return a message left with his secretary or email messages sent to him and Glendale's public information officer.
Adams said he didn't know if the council would be inclined to aid Ochoa, saying it would set a bad precedent since many other Monrovia homeowners are upside down on their mortgages.
"I suspect though that this would be a change that most people in Monrovia would not be in favor of," Adams said. "I suspect that many of them might step forward and say, 'Well, are you willing to help me too?'"
"If we offer any relief to Mr. Ochoa, are we willing to offer relief to anyone else? I don't know that," he added.
A sign posted in front of Ochoa's home says the house is currently in escrow. Adams said he does not know what the sale price of the home is.
"We do know that the sale price is not sufficient to cover the debt," Adams said.
Ochoa currently and brought in about $182,000 as city manager of Monrovia.
Adams said Ochoa has not made a "concrete proposal" to the city detailing exactly what kind of assistance he is requesting, so the council will address the issue at its regular meeting Tuesday.
City Attorney Craig Steele wrote in a 2004 agenda report that loans like the one made to Ochoa were not unusual for cities to make.
"Housing assistance loans for new city managers are becoming somewhat more common, especially in areas with high real estate prices," Steele wrote.
The city of Beverly Hills extended a $1.5 million loan to its city manager back then, according to Steele.