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Farm Center being evicted by administration


Pierce College is evicting the company that runs the Farm Center on the corner of De Soto Avenue and Victory Boulevard after nearly a decade of community service, citing financial and college program support reasons.

Asylum Productions runs the Farm Center and is currently in a legal battle with the college administration and Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) to save its business after Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher served a 30-day eviction notice on July 10, 2013, according to public documents.

The owners of Asylum, Robert and Cathy McBroom, hired legal counsel Roger Stanard, who demanded in a July 19 response letter that the notice be retracted:

Even if the contract can be interpreted to have expired on December 31, 2012, the interim contract was renewed by operation of law in accordance with Civil Code §1945 … if a lessee continues to occupy the leased premises after the expiration of the hiring, and the landlord accepts rent, the parties have presumed to have renewed the hiring on the same terms and for the same period of time.

Stanard said later in an interview that Best, Best & Kreiger, which represents the college and LACCD, has offered to mediate the matter and that the McBrooms have accepted that proposal with new counsel, Paul C. Bauducco.

No one from either law office returned calls to the Roundup, and Robert only confirmed by telephone that a meeting occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.

Asylum was under a joint occupancy contract with the Foundation for Pierce College from 2005 to 2010 as a fundraiser project when college administration took control of farm oversight, representatives from the Foundation said.

The Foundation has been a non-profit organization since 1970. It currently manages 32 scholarship funds and assists 84 departments with resource and financial support. It generates revenue for scholarships and school support through grants, donations and fundraising endeavors like partnering with Asylum on the Farm Center.

According to public tax records from the years 2008 through 2010, in the last three full years, the Farm Center contributed $1,312,351 in revenue to the Foundation.

The amount the Farm Center was compensated for by the Foundation and the cost to the Foundation to run the project is not clear as accountants and the tax reporting changed, said Kathy Zanghi, financial manager for the Foundation.

But one thing is clear: the revenue in 2011 — after Pierce took on oversight for the Farm Center — dropped from the hundreds of thousands of dollars down to $58,268. In recent meeting minutes it was revealed that in June 2013 the Foundation only managed to bring in $268.

The McBrooms were the only proprietors to apply for an LACCD joint occupancy proposal by the deadline. On July 11, 2012, LACCD Board of Trustees passed to “authorize intent to award and negotiation of a joint occupancy lease agreement with Asylum Productions, Inc. for operation of the Farm Center at Pierce College.”

The office of the vice president of Administrative Services were asked by the Roundup if they have a definitive plan for the farm land that required the eviction of the McBrooms, but they declined to answer.