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Former Compton Grant Writer Paid $190,000 by city of Commerce to ‘Negotiate Cannabis Licenses’

The “business consultant” was reportedly placed on administrative leave for questionable use of Compton city credit card.

BY BRIAN HEWS • Sept. 27, 2019

The mission of the Grants Division for the city of Compton  is to “secure, manage and administer local, state and federal grants, providing grant-related support to City departments and area non-profits.”

Renea Ferell worked in the Division, writing grants for the City for seven years, earning $64,000 in 2011, $83,000 in 2014, $89,000 in 2016, and $84,000 in 2017, according to the website Transparent California.

During Ferell’s employment in Compton, she managed to establish a corporation called Klimt Consulting LLC in 2017, which, according to the Secretary of State’s website, is registered as a business consulting firm.

Klimt has had three corporate addresses since its start, two at single family homes, with the latest at 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., #110-784 in Los Angeles.

But that is where any semblance of a limited liability corporation ends.

A check online shows the 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd. # 110 address to be a UPS store; the 784 is a P.O. box number.

Database showing Ferell’s corporate address is located at a UPS store.

A previous address was listed at 623 West 77th Street in Los Angeles, with title documents showing a 2,000 square foot triplex that was transferred to Ferell for zero dollars in September 2016.

At the end of 2017 Ferell listed a new corporate address as 3500 West Manchester Blvd, Unit #467,  which is a Planned Unit Housing Development in Inglewood owned by Loretta Ferell.

In addition, Klimt does not have a company website or Facebook account; Klimt does have a Twitter account created in June of this year with no tweets or followers.

Ferrel’s Klimt Consulting LLC Twitter page showing a June 2019 joined date, no followers and no tweets.

Despite the questionable corporate presence and apparent lack of experience, Ferell and Klimt somehow landed a $120,000 contract in 2018 with the city of Commerce, with a recent approval of $70,000 more, to “evaluate individuals or companies applying for cannabis licenses in the city of Commerce.”

Apparently the discrepancies did not cause concern to Alvarez-Glasman-Colvin based City Attorney Noel Tapia, Mayor John Soria, Mayor pro tem Ivan Altamirano or Councilwoman Oralia Rebollo; all three elected officials voted twice to approve the Klimt contracts. 

From (l-r) Mayor John Soria, Mayor pro tem Ivan Altamirano, and Councilwoman Oralia Rebollo.

Council-members Hugo Argumedo and Leonard Mendoza have both voted no for the contracts.

It also did not matter to them that Ferell had a very questionable career with Compton.

According to online reports, in 2015 Ferrell, and her aide, Turmel Woods, were placed on administrative leave. Allegations in the Grants Division that Ferell directed included work performed by the City on two private residences belonging to a family member of an City employee, $50,000 paid to a Compton employee for work that was never performed, and misuse of the First Time Homebuyers Program which was administered by the Grants Division. 

In addition, the Compton Herald reported in 2015 that $1,193 was charged for airfare to Washington, D.C. and that the purpose of the charge was missing and unsupported. Per the credit card statement, the plane ticket was for Ferell. “Beyond that, there was no further information on Ferell or her business with the city.” 

Councilman Leonard Mendoza told HMG-LCCN, “From the beginning, this process has not been transparent.  This is just the beginning, you are opening up Pandora’s Box. The community has spoken and they want to vote [against cannabis licenses]. The majority of Mayor [John] Soria, Mayor pro tem [Ivan] Altamirano, and Councilwoman [Oralia] Rebollo are responsible for passing cannabis [licenses] against the will of our residents.”

Councilman Hugo Argumedo said, “we had the signatures for a referendum. There are 6,800 registered voters in Commerce, which equates to 680 valid signatures to qualify the referenda, we gathered over 900 valid signatures and they had to be signed 23 times, one for each cannabis license. The majority City Council overruled the signatures. The people of Commerce do not want cannabis in the City, but Soria, Altamirano, and Reballo keep pushing.”

Emails into Soria, Altamirano, and Reballo went unreturned.

Finding Renea Ferell’s number proved difficult given she does not have a website nor a  Facebook page, and her Twitter account does not have contact information. The number listed at BuzzFile went to a robo-answering machine.

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AndyAmerican

I once new someone who was a life guard for the city of Commerce, who dated a city clerk also employed by the City of Commerce.That city clerk had a mother, 3 aunts, 2 uncles and cousins who were also employed by the city of Commerce & this same city clerks’ uncle was the mayor of Los Angeles. Commerce is one big family and big families never go against the family.