Given Salvador Huizar’s plea deal and the leaked audio, it would not be too surprising to see additional scandals coming out from the LA City Council
On Sunday, after racist comments were published online, Los Aangeles City Council President Nury Martinez issued a statement apologizing, saying, “In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry” In the leaked audio Martinez derided some of her council colleagues and according to the Los Angeles Times “spoke in unusually crass terms about how the city should be carved up politically.” The contents of the leak were not new. The LA Times first reported about the audio recording of a conversation that happened back in October 2021 between Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera while discussing the redrawing of districts. “The conversation remained private for nearly a year, until a leaked recording reverberated explosively Sunday and turned the focus of a sprawling metropolis toward Los Angeles City Hall.” Response to the leak was swift. The California and Los Angeles branches of the NAACP demanded late Sunday that Martinez and the others involved, resign.
Ron Herrera, the president of Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, who was part of the leaked conversation resigned at a meeting Monday, The organization’s remaining leaders demanded Tuesday that the three City Council members involved in the leak scandal resign as well. Thom davis, the chair of the federation’s executive board, said that “The Executive Board of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor also calls on those elected officials who were present to follow President Herrera’s example by immediately resigning as well,” According to its website. The Federation “support progressive leaders and policies that will ensure the protection of our rights and the betterment of our lives”
You might recall Doctor Jill Biden apologized via a tweet from her Spokesperson Michael LaRosa after she characterized Hispanics as unique as breakfast tacos. Martinez, Herrera and the others, like Biden, regardless of the issue, demeaning statements, racist remarks or vacuous apology is not what matters. Politicians are like the wind – they apologize if they sense resistance, or bask in it if praised
As if on cue, on Wednesday, right after Martinez and Herrera stepped down from their respective positions, Salvador Huizar, 57, of Boyle Heights, brother of Former L.A. City Councilman José Huizar, facing federal racketeering charges stemming from a “pay-to-play” scheme, admitted in a plea agreement that they took cash from José Huizar on numerous occasions and immediately wrote checks back to him or arranged to pay his expenses, and then lied about his actions to federal investigators, On at least 20 occasions, José Huizar gave his brother an envelope of cash and asked him to write checks or facilitate electronic payments to José Huizar or pay for his expenses.
The Chinese Connection
You might recall that in 2020 Huizar’s brother, then council member Jose Huizar, 52, of Boyle Heights, was Indicted for conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in which Huizar agreed to accept at least $1.5 million in illicit financial benefits. A superseding indictment also charges Richard Chan, who formerly was the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and, the city’s deputy mayor of economic development. Five new defendants were added in the superseding indictment
- Raymond She Wah Chan, also known as “She Wah Kwong,” 64, of Monterey Park
- Wei Huang, 55, a resident of Shenzhen, China, who also maintains a residence in San Marino, previously identified in court documents as “Chairman E,” who is the billionaire chairman and president of a global development company headquartered in China
- Shen Zhen New World I, LLC, one of Huang’s U.S.-based companies, which acquired the L.A. Grand Hotel Downtown in 2011 for $90 million and planned to redevelop it into a 77-story tower
- Dae Yong Lee, also known as “David Lee,” 56, of Bel Air, a developer with multiple properties in Los Angeles
- 940 Hill, LLC, a Lee-owned company that purchased a South Hill Street property in downtown Los Angeles in 2008 for $9 million and planned to redevelop it into a mixed-use development
According to United States Attorney Nick Hanna, “The scope of corruption outlined in this indictment is staggering. As the indictment alleges, Huizar, Chan, and their network of associates repeatedly violated the public trust by soliciting and accepting numerous cash bribes and other financial benefits, turning Huizar’s City Council seat into a money-making criminal enterprise. Powerful developers, operating through well-connected lobbyists, eagerly participated in the schemes to get preferential treatment for their downtown projects. This detailed indictment, which lays bare these backroom deals, should prompt a serious discussion as to whether significant reforms are warranted in Los Angeles city government.”
On August 2020, Morris Roland Goldman, a.k.a. “Morrie,” 57, of Porter Ranch, a longtime Los Angeles City Hall lobbyist and close associate of City Councilman Jose Huizar agreed to a plea deal where he was charged with participating in a bribery scheme in which he brokered deals where a developer client agreed to make $50,000 in political donations in exchange for Huizar’s official actions for the developer’s benefit.
Federal prosecutors today filed a criminal information charging a longtime Los Angeles City Hall lobbyist and close associate of City Councilman Jose Huizar with participating in a bribery scheme in which he brokered deals where a developer client agreed to make $50,000 in political donations in exchange for Huizar’s official actions for the developer’s benefit.
A Chinese company’s Arcadia subsidiary, established to redevelop a downtown Los Angeles hotel, agreed on October 7, 2020, to pay $1,050,000 to resolve an investigation into the company’s conduct with public officials in the City of Los Angeles, including bribery, honest services fraud, and foreign and conduit campaign contributions.
On January 7, 2021, CP Employer, Inc., formerly known as Carmel Partners, a San Francisco-based company has agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation that focused on the company’s relationship with former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who voted to approve its 35-story project in the Arts District.
Dae Yong Lee and one of his companies were found guilty by a jury June 27, 2022 of federal criminal charges for providing $500,000 in cash to then-Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar and his special assistant in exchange for their help in resolving a labor organization’s appeal of their own Los Angeles development project
Given Salvador Huizar’s plea deal and the leaked audio, it would not be too surprising to see additional scandals coming out from the LA City Council.
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