The Southern California Legal Foundation, a nonprofit organization best known for challenging Santa Monica's rent control law in the courts, has laid off its staff and closed its office because of financial difficulties.
Organizers blamed the financial problems on a lack of community support. They said that director David Shell will continue to handle foundation cases on a volunteer basis, but added that the foundation will dramatically reduce its caseload.
Shell, who unsuccessfully challenged Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) last year, has run the foundation since its inception in October, 1982.
Earlier this year, three founding board members--all apartment owners--resigned from the foundation in a dispute over Shell's management style. Clo Hoover, the foundation's chairwoman, said the board held fund-raisers to pay off undisclosed debts, but didn't raise enough money to continue operating.