After racist leak, L.A. County Fed finds a new leader to repair damaged relationships
In a small, well-appointed office overlooking the downtown Los Angeles Times building, the chief executive officer for the Los Angeles County Federal Reserve Bank is sitting silently behind a large, green metal desk. It’s 6 p.m. on a Thursday, and the chief executive officer, David Stokes, is reading a letter from the board of the L.A. County Fed, a letter that contains the first open public discussion he has heard in at least six years about the problems and controversies with the bank.
“The public at large and the press were not given sufficient time to make informed decisions and to consider the facts and rationale for our actions,” the letter says.
At the same time, the public was not given sufficient time to make informed decisions about the bank, the letter says. The board of the L.A. County Federal Reserve Bank is now operating a special board meeting to address the financial crisis and the concerns by the public, which was not considered during the regular board meetings.
“With this unprecedented crisis, the board of directors felt that it would be helpful to engage the public in order to better inform the board about the financial situation and to address concerns raised by the public,” the letter says. “I am pleased to announce that, today, we held a special meeting of the L.A. County Federal Reserve Bank board of directors.
“The meeting lasted for two hours and was attended by 11 directors and six other staff members. As many of you may be aware, today’s meeting took place the day after the New York Times published an exposé about the bank in a story by reporter Robert L. Lee. We at the bank have been working with the Times for many months in our attempts to correct any misperceptions. The Times did not write a single story about the institution.
“Today’s meeting was the first time the board was fully informed of the situation. The board discussed the substance of the report and what we need to do to address the issue of irresponsible lending practices.”
The board meeting at which Stokes learned that the L.A. County Fed has been in financial difficulty took place on a Thursday, and it was not announced or advertised in advance. It was held just two weeks after the first public board meeting held to hear from the public about the financial crisis