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Councilmember jose huizar


councilmember jose huizar

LA City Councilman José Huizar's salary has been terminated by Controller Ron Galperin following federal racketeering charges. Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar endorsed Jimmy Gomez for Congress. “Jimmy and I work tirelessly to understand the needs of our. Councilmember Jose Huizar is a public servant on the Los Angeles City Council. Our office represents the great residents of our rich and diverse communities.

Councilmember jose huizar -

José Huizar On Downtown Building & City Council Vote To Reform Planning In Shadow Of Measure S Vote

TPR last interviewed you in , after the City of LA’s redistricting placed much of Downtown in your council district. At the time, you shared your priorities for the area:  economic development, livability, and connectivity among all of Downtown’s neighborhoods. Speak to how satisfied you are with what has transpired in these last four years.

Jose Huizar: When we last spoke, I laid out my vision for Downtown Los Angeles as an area that provides more economic opportunities, and that we could begin to see as a cohesive whole.

As far as economic development, the amount of investment in the Downtown core has been astronomical—not only in terms of new commercial buildings, but also in terms of the economic activity that new restaurants, bars, retail, and hotel development has brought in.

We are finally getting the Downtown that we’ve always wanted—one that serves as a center point for the entire region. I think we are going to look back at the last three years of development in the Downtown core as days where LA moved forward by leaps and bounds.

We are also encouraging more job growth in the area, both in the tech industry and entertainment industry. We’ve seen examples, like Warner Brothers moving into the Arts District, showing that Downtown is going to be the future of job growth.

In terms of livability, we just opened the Arts District Park and have undertaken the Pershing Square Renew process. As a result of the recent Quimby fee reform, we will have an additional $25 million for upgrading parks and open space. 

The challenges we have in increasing livability are building public amenities and keeping families Downtown. Whether by providing better educational opportunities for kids, offering more than one-bedroom units, or increasing open space, our challenge is growing Downtown for families. It is my belief that if we want to develop long-term quality of life for Downtown, we have to be able to keep families Downtown. We want people to be able to say that it is a neighborhood.

Our DTLA Forward Initiative will also help with livability. It focuses on improving pedestrian walkways, bikeways, and alternative forms of transportation.  Examples like MyFig, the Los Angeles Street streetscape plan, and the Broadway streetscape plan all reflect how Downtown LA is the future of bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Update our readers on the status of the DTLA Community Plan, which is well advanced compared to the few community plans now being processed. Do you believe that plan, now beginning its EIR process, will realize the potential of Downtown?

The Downtown Los Angeles area is projected to grow by , people by the year , according to SCAG projections. The question of our Community Plan is: How do we manage and shape that growth? 

We are looking to provide 70, housing units in the plan, and to help with that we are looking at the emerging communities of the Fashion District and Arts District. What has kept Downtown back in the past is both the unwillingness to invest in Downtown, and also our own city’s view of Downtown. 

We, as the city, should allow more residential activities.  The DTLA Plan allows for more density and upzoning in these areas.

Another area that we are looking into is the Civic Center, which is currently undergoing its Master Plan Update. In the future, we do not want this area to just be government dead-space in the evening. We want to encourage a vibrant area with more residential and commercial opportunities night and day.

The Civic Center area can connect with its neighbors—Union Station, Little Tokyo, Chinatown—to provide a neighborhood-like feel. Otherwise, the Civic Center area will be a wasteland in between vibrant, energetic areas of evening and weekend commerce.

When it comes to planning for a growing economy, Downtown is becoming a hub for entertainment. Warner Brothers recently opened in the Arts District, an area that is opening a ton of creative office space. These companies are coming Downtown because of the new restaurants, bars, and energy that you can find at all hours. We anticipate receiving many more proposals similar to the Warner Brothers project in the coming months.

The issue of the Arts District Live/Work Zonewhich you been an essential part of leadinghas been debated and discussed for years. What is the value of such a zone and such a plan for the buildout of the Arts District?

The courts ultimately held back on the Hybrid Industrial Live-Work ordinance, but I believe that the exercise of engaging a conversation about the future of the Arts District was fruitful.

Now, even though we do not have an ordinance in place, we have generally agreed-to its parameters if someone wants to rezone in the area. As developers come to us to build or adapt properties, we are using the hybrid industrial zone as a model that we ask people to abide by.

Its industrial and artistic character makes the Arts District attractive. We want to protect those characteristics, while allowing for more density. The challenge is that the public infrastructure in the Arts District is antiquated, so we also need to accommodate upgrades to the area.

Transportation is one of the largest issues facing the Arts District. Although it is walkable and pedestrian friendly, the area is in need of investment for better public transportation options. Our proposed Los Angeles Streetcar—a circular people-mover that will operate in the Historic Core—will hopefully be built out into the neighboring Arts District in the future.

I don’t know if I’ll be around for the second phase, but I expect it to be very popular and for people to push for quicker expansion.

The growth of investment in Downtown is part of what’s fueling the desire for plan updates that has propelled Measure S to the March 7 ballot. A few weeks ago, City Council unanimously approved your motion to draft an ordinance mandating that community plans be updated every six years. Share what led to this vote—which did not include a discussion of financing—weeks before the citywide election.

This vote has been in discussion since last April, and it’s something that I have been advocating for—as a planner—over my tenure. Recognizing how slow the city is in updating the community plans, it is imperative to move faster.  In fact, only three out of the city’s 35 community plans have been updated within the last decade—and all three were in

The discussion around Measure S did expedite this window of opportunity to move the council forward. We have a general framework of what we would like to see, and now we’re just waiting for the city attorney’s office to draft the actual language.

The fact that it will be an ordinance is significant, because in the past, we have only had guidelines. Now that it’s an ordinance, law mandates that the Planning Department update the community plans every six years or else they will be in violation of our own law.

Although we did not specify to the Planning Department how we will consistently fund the community plan updates, we know that it will cost the city about $10 million a year. That is part of why we have not updated the community plans in the past. The plan is to commit $5 million from the General Fund annually, and create the other $5 million from a 2 percent increase to the General Plan Maintenance Fee surcharge. That surcharge, which is already in place, applies to any project applicant who requests an amendment to the General Plan.

We have a funding mechanism in place. We are doing this by ordinance. And we will have five planning teams working year-round to get our city plans updated. This is a real investment for our city.

As we upgrade these plans more often, we expect to see fewer zone changes and General Plan amendments, because the community plans will be reflective of the future needs of the community.

As councilmembers, we are trying to keep up with changing neighborhoods and changing economies. Having updated community plans benefits us, because we will have the plans to support our vision.

We are also changing how environmental impact report consultants are selected. In our last PLUM Committee meeting, we voted to recommend that developers be required to select EIR consultants from a pre-approved city list. This will ensure quality and alleviate the concerns of perceived bias in the report from the developer directing the consultant.

Finally, we are going to institute a new process called “batching” for any General Plan amendments. On a semi-annual basis, we will look at a local neighborhood and assess how many General Plan amendments have been proposed there. Then, we will have them go through the approval process all together, so we can see the cumulative impacts of projects on any given neighborhood. This will benefit our entire planning process, allowing us to view neighborhoods more holistically.

As chair of PLUM, you are well aware of the decades of resistance from the development community to contributing more from their transactions, as well as to community plan updates in general. If Measure S were to fail, would there still be the political will to pass this long awaited ordinance, and to fund the planning effort for the next decade?

Passage of this ordinance is a done deal. We are going to move forward, irrespective of the outcome of Measure S.

The Council has agreed to these principles and the framework we have put before them. Now that we have identified and committed to a funding source, we are fully committed.

 The good thing about Measure S is that it brought light to the city’s need to update its community plans. Even our General Plan needs updating. We have updated the Transportation and Housing Elements, as well as added a new Health Element. But the General Plan is like our Constitution—it is our generally agreed-upon view of the city we want to see. It is important to have an updated vision.

The bad thing about Measure S is the two-year moratorium. Not only will it slow down development and growth in our Downtown area, but it will not allow us to manage that growth over two years. Passing Measure S will bring more chaos to the system it wants to fix. The slowdown in economic development and job creation would be horrible for the city.

Additionally, we just recently passed Measure HHH to provide more housing for chronically homeless individuals. 11 of the 12 city-owned sites where we hope to build that housing would require General Plan Amendments or some type of zone change that would not be allowed if Measure S were to pass. 

The reforms that we have made over the past months rebuke the fears of Measure S, and hopefully people will see the negative impacts that passing Measure S would bring. 

There is a sense that when Gail Goldberg was pushed aside as Planning Director seven years ago, the city missed its chance to seriously undertake these community plan updates. Looking back, most would now be completed if the Planning Department had executed on her timeline. Instead, a month before the vote on Measure S, City Council votes to ask for an ordinance to mandate such updates. There’s great public skepticism about this sequence of events. What can you say to calm those skeptics, who feel like planning and zoning have lost public support and are no longer relevant to decision-makers?

The conversations that we have been having in my office, with the Mayor’s Office and the Planning Department, have been occurring been the last year or so. Since April, when the Mayor announced his goal to update all of the community plans within a decade using $5 million from the General Fund, the question has been how to fund an even more regular update to all of the plans.

We charged the Planning Department to investigate ways to raise a matching $5 million, and we came up with the General Plan maintenance surcharge. I suspect that these efforts would have happened this year, whether or not Measure S was on the ballot.

In closing, please update our readers on the status of Parker Center.

When the City staff came to me, as the representative of Downtown LA, saying that they wanted to adopt the EIR for the demolition of the Parker Center, I asked them to go back and look at its historical significance and the larger context of the changing area. 

We then went back to updating the entire Master Plan for the Civic Center, and asked the Historic Commission to assess the significance. The demolition of the Civic Center would allow more open access to Little Tokyo and the new businesses that are springing up. 

I consider myself a preservationist. But in this particular context, Parker Center is not one of architect Welton Becket’s best works. There are specific elements of Parker Center that are historic, but looking at the larger context, there is a dark history that occurred there. Looking even further back, this area used to be a part of Little Tokyo and was acquired through eminent domain.

When you take all of these issues into account, we have a number of options that can improve this area’s livability and cultural importance. The history there begins even before the Parker Center was first constructed.

Источник: mynewextsetup.us
City News Service

LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for Jose Huizar have filed papers arguing that the bribery case against the ex-Los Angeles city councilman should be tossed because the alleged conduct does not violate laws cited in the count federal racketeering indictment.

Huizar, the central figure in a six-year probe of suspected corruption in City Hall politics, and his associates were allegedly involved in a $ million pay-to-play scheme in which real estate developers were shaken down for cash and campaign donations in exchange for help getting building projects through the city&#;s approval process.

The defense argues that the federal corruption statutes brought against the defendants are &#;overbroad,&#; repeatedly transgress the Supreme Court&#;s limits on such charges, and violate the statute of limitations.

In the indictment, prosecutors confuse favors as bribes, deem that First Amendment-protected contributions are crimes, and treat &#;virtually everything that Huizar did as an &#;official act&#; no matter how informal or disconnected from government power,&#; according to the motion for dismissal obtained by City News Service.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney&#;s Office declined comment.

The federal probe ensnared political operatives, lobbyists and developers. Raymond Chan, who formerly was the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and, more recently, was the city&#;s deputy mayor of economic development, is also charged.

Huizar, who represented downtown L.A. and was the chairman of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, has denied all allegations.

Defense attorneys contend that Huizar&#;s only crime was acting as an &#;evangelist for robust development&#; whose mission as representative of Council District 14 was to bring hotels, apartments, jobs, tourism, and entertainment to the city&#;s downtown, according to the document.

A hearing in Los Angeles federal court to discuss the motion is set for Nov. Huizar and Chan are expected to face trial next May.

The defense argues that Huizar and Chan saw it as their responsibility to bring development and businesses to downtown Los Angeles. Partly as a result of their work, &#;the region became a livable and attractive destination for locals and tourists alike. During this period, nearly everyone in Los Angeles talked or heard about how much downtown had improved,&#; the motion filed late Tuesday says.

&#;Huizar&#;s ability to raise money from developers — who, like other interests, supported him because he supported them — helped to fund not only homelessness initiatives, but the campaigns of some of the most prominent local, state, and national politicians,&#; the defense says.

However, the federal indictment &#;reimagines this period as one permeated by corruption,&#; and wrongly charges Huizar and Chan &#;with selling out their constituents and running (the council district) as a criminal enterprise,&#; according to Huizar&#;s attorney.

Co-defendants George Esparza, Huizar&#;s former special assistant, real estate development consultant George Chiang and fundraiser Justin Kim each pleaded guilty last year to federal charges.

Related Articles

Источник: mynewextsetup.us


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A Los Angeles City Council member who has been under the cloud of a federal corruption investigation was arrested early Tuesday, the FBI said.

Councilman Jose Huizar was taken into custody without incident at his Boyle Heights home, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. The mayor and other city leaders have been calling for Huizar to resign since his former special assistant agreed to plead guilty in a $1 million bribery scheme involving real estate developers. The Los Angeles U.S. attorney scheduled a late-morning press conference to discuss the arrest. 

Read more on this developing story here from KPCC/LAist reporter Libby Denkmann.

With files from the Associated Press

Guest:

Aaron Mendelson, KPCC/LAist senior investigative reporter; he tweets @a_mendelson


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Источник: mynewextsetup.us

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar — former chairman of the powerful planning and land use committee — was arrested by FBI agents today after more than ayear-and-a-half long federal corruption investigation at city hall.

The councilman allegedly directed “a money-making criminal enterprise that shaped the development landscape in L.A.,&#; according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The pay-for-play schemes involved multiple real estate developers, illicit cash payments and political donations, more than a dozen gambling trips to places like Las Vegas and Australia, and other bribes that were given in exchange for city approval and entitlements on major or otherwise contentious projects.

SEE ALSO: CVS Health Invests in $23M Affordable Rental in DC

TheLos Angeles Times first reported the news of Huizar’s arrest.

Huizar is expected to appear in court in Downtown L.A. on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). He was arrested at his home in Boyle Heights, and is charged with federal racketeering for using his position to solicit and accept bribes of at least $ million “to enrich himself.” The charge includes bribery, honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Huizar faces 20 years in federal prison.

“This case pulled back the curtain on rampant corruption at [L.A.] City Hall,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna, in a statement. “Councilman Huizar violated the public trust to a staggering degree, allegedly soliciting and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from multiple sources over many years.

“Using the power of his office to approve or stall large building projects, Huizar worked through a web of other corrupt city officials, lobbyists, consultants and developers to line his pockets and maintain his hold on Council District 14 (CD), which he turned into a money-making criminal enterprise.&#;

Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s L.A. field office, said Huizar’s operation &#;sold the city to the highest bidder behind the backs of taxpayers.”

At today’s council meeting, where Huizar was registered as “absent” during roll call, city council President Nury Martinez said she will begin the process of removing Huizar from his position. 

“The horrendous and disgusting allegations leveled against [Huizar] and others have painted a dark cloud over our city government for a long time now,” Martinez said in a statement sent to Commercial Observer today. “Effective today, I will begin the process of removing him from office.”

Councilman David Ryu said Huizar’s alleged crimes are “stomach-turning.”

“Instead of serving the best interests of our city, Huizar chose to enrich himself,” Ryu said in a statement today. “He must be removed from city council. This scheme is disgraceful, and I hope Huizar and anyone else involved faces swift justice.”

The “CD Enterprise” was created in early by Huizar and an unknown individual, according to authorities. He is, so far, the fifth and largest domino in the scheme to fall and be charged by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office. The criminal complaint alleges that the members of the enterprise referred to Huizar as the “boss” and operated as a criminal organization.

Several former associates and colleagues have already been indicted or agreed to plea deals in which they admitted to participating in illegal activity. They include Huizar’s former aide, a political fundraiser, and a real estate consultant, as well as real estate developers, a CEO of a construction company, and a lobbyist. 

Last month, Huizar’s former aide,George Esparza, agreed to plead guilty, and admitted to scheming to squeeze money from developers for Huizar in exchange for green-lighting their projects. He conceded that a Chinese billionaire gave him and Huizar cash and trips to Las Vegas, and other gifts as bribes, and also helped Huizar settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him. The developer paid Esparza and Huizar more than $1 million to get approval for a story skyscraper in Huizar’s district.

Chinese developer Shenzhen New World Group — which was among the developers named in a search warrant in the same investigation in — had proposed a story tower at the Marriott in Downtown L.A. at South Figueroa Street in Huizar’s district.

Appraiser and consultant Justin Jangwoo Kim pleaded guilty on June 3 tohelping a developer pay a member of the city council to advance a development. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August Kim was charged one week after another former Councilman Mitchell Englander was indicted for allegedly trying to cover up cash payments, a female escort, a trip to Las Vegas, and other bribes he received. Englander is scheduled to plead guilty on July 7.

Consultant George Chiang has also agreed to a plea deal that involves a separate scheme between Huizar and hotel developers. Chiang is scheduled to plead guilty on June 26, according to the DOJ.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield said given all of the “damning material that has already been released,” he doesn’t know why it took “so darn long” for Huizar to be arrested.

“The FBI and DOJ have been clear that they are still investigating any and all forms of corruption at city hall and I welcome their efforts,” he said in a statement. “We need to root out all illegal schemes and participants before we can lift the cloud of corruption and uncertainty that is making it hard for the city to function properly.”

After federal agents raided Huizar’s home and office in , he was removed from the council&#;s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which oversees approval discretion for the city’s largest proposed projects. The DOJ has now revealed that agents seized approximately $, of cash that was stashed in his closet that day. Shortly after, Richelle Huizar ended a campaign to replace her husband after he hit term limits.

In the past few weeks, Huizar stopped attending city council meetings after colleagues called for him to step down and resign.

Ryu said justice against wrongdoers is not enough. Since he was elected in , Ryu has fought toban developer contributions to politicians, and also introduced anti-corruption legislation. 

“This culture of corruption and pay-to-play politics has been allowed to fester in city hall for far too long, and I&#;m sick and tired of putting forth ideas that are dismissed as going too far, too fast,” Ryu said. “How many more examples do we need until something changes? We need an Inspector General with the power to oversee, investigate and subpoena councilmembers, especially over land use decisions.” 

“We need changes to our city charter to remove the levers of power that city councilmembers can exploit for their own personal gain. These are just some of the reforms I have put forward, and it&#;s clear that they are far overdue.&#;

This story has been updated to include commentary from the U.S. Attorney&#;s Office and the FBI, as well as additional details on the criminal charges.

Источник: mynewextsetup.us

By FRED SHUSTER

watch the video

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar — former chairman of the powerful planning and land use committee — was arrested by FBI agents today after more than ayear-and-a-half long federal corruption investigation at city hall.

The councilman allegedly directed “a money-making criminal enterprise that shaped the development landscape in L.A.,&#; according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The pay-for-play schemes involved multiple real estate developers, illicit cash payments and political donations, more than a dozen gambling trips to places like Las Vegas and Australia, and other bribes that were given in exchange for city approval and entitlements on major or otherwise contentious projects.

SEE ALSO: CVS Health Invests in $23M Affordable Rental in DC

TheLos Angeles Times first reported the news of Huizar’s arrest.

Huizar is expected to appear in court in Downtown L.A. on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). He was arrested at his home in Boyle Heights, and is charged with federal racketeering for using his position to solicit and accept bribes of at least $ million “to enrich himself.” The charge includes bribery, honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Huizar faces 20 years in federal prison.

“This case pulled back the curtain on rampant corruption at [L.A.] City Hall,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna, in a statement. “Councilman Huizar violated the public trust to a staggering degree, allegedly soliciting and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from multiple sources over many years.

“Using the power of his office to approve or stall large building projects, Huizar worked through a web of other corrupt city officials, lobbyists, consultants and developers to line his pockets and maintain his hold on Council District 14 (CD), which he turned into a money-making criminal enterprise.&#;

Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s L.A. field office, said Huizar’s operation &#;sold the city to the highest bidder behind the backs of taxpayers.”

At today’s council meeting, where Huizar was registered as “absent” during roll call, city council President Nury Martinez said she will begin the process of removing Huizar from his position. 

“The horrendous and disgusting allegations leveled against [Huizar] councilmember jose huizar others have painted a dark cloud over our city government for a long time now,” Martinez said in a statement sent to Commercial Observer today. “Effective today, I will begin the process of removing him from office.”

Councilman David Ryu said Huizar’s alleged crimes are “stomach-turning.”

“Instead of serving the best interests of our city, Huizar chose to enrich himself,” Ryu said in a statement today. “He must be removed from city council. This scheme is disgraceful, and I hope Huizar and anyone else involved faces swift justice.”

The “CD Enterprise” was created in early by Huizar and an unknown individual, according to authorities. He is, so far, the fifth and largest domino in the scheme to fall and be charged by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office. The criminal complaint alleges that the members of the enterprise referred to Huizar as the “boss” and operated as a criminal organization.

Several former associates and colleagues have already been indicted or agreed to plea deals in which they admitted to participating in illegal activity. They include Huizar’s former aide, a political fundraiser, and a real estate consultant, as well as real estate developers, a CEO of a construction company, and a lobbyist. 

Last month, Huizar’s former aide,George Esparza, agreed to plead guilty, and admitted to scheming to squeeze money from developers for Huizar in exchange for green-lighting their projects. He conceded that a Chinese billionaire gave him and Huizar cash and trips to Las Vegas, and other gifts as bribes, and also helped Huizar settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him. The developer paid Esparza and Huizar more than $1 million to councilmember jose huizar approval for a story skyscraper in Huizar’s district.

Chinese developer Shenzhen New World Group — which was among the developers named in a search warrant in the same investigation in — had proposed a story tower at the Marriott in Downtown L.A. at South Figueroa Street in Huizar’s district.

Appraiser and consultant Justin Jangwoo Kim pleaded guilty on June 3 tohelping a developer pay a member of the city council to advance a development. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August Kim was charged one week after another former Councilman Mitchell Englander was indicted for allegedly trying to cover up cash payments, a female escort, a trip to Las Vegas, and other bribes he received. Englander is scheduled to plead guilty on July 7.

Consultant George Chiang has also agreed to a plea deal that involves a separate scheme between Huizar and hotel developers. Chiang is scheduled to plead guilty on June 26, according to the DOJ.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield said given all of the “damning material that has already been released,” he doesn’t know why it took “so darn long” for Huizar to be arrested.

“The FBI and DOJ have been clear that they are still investigating any and all forms of corruption at city hall and I welcome their efforts,” he said in a statement. “We need to root out all illegal schemes and participants before we can lift the cloud of corruption and uncertainty that is making it hard for the city to function properly.”

After federal agents raided Huizar’s home and office inhe was removed from the council&#;s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which oversees approval discretion for the city’s largest proposed projects. The DOJ has now revealed that agents seized approximately $, of cash that was stashed in his closet that day. Shortly after, Richelle Huizar ended a campaign to replace her husband after he hit term limits.

In the past few weeks, Huizar stopped attending city council meetings after colleagues called for councilmember jose huizar to step down and resign.

Ryu said justice against wrongdoers is not enough. Since he was elected inRyu has fought toban developer contributions to politicians, and also introduced anti-corruption legislation. 

“This culture of corruption and pay-to-play politics has been allowed to fester in city hall for far too long, and I&#;m sick and tired of putting forth ideas that are dismissed as going too far, too fast,” Ryu said. “How many more examples do we need until something changes? We need an Inspector General with the power to oversee, investigate and subpoena councilmembers, especially over land use decisions.” 

“We need changes to our city charter to remove the levers of power that city councilmembers can exploit for their own personal gain. These are just some of the reforms I have put forward, and it&#;s clear that they are far overdue.&#;

This story has been updated to include commentary from the U.S. Attorney&#;s Office and the FBI, as well as additional details on the criminal charges.

Источник: mynewextsetup.us


Download this story 15MB

A Los Angeles City Council member who has been under the cloud of a federal corruption investigation was arrested early Tuesday, the FBI said.

Councilman Jose Huizar was taken into custody without incident at his Boyle Heights home, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. The mayor and other city leaders have been calling for Huizar to resign since his former special assistant agreed to plead guilty in a $1 million bribery scheme involving real estate developers. The Los Angeles U.S. attorney scheduled a late-morning press conference to discuss the arrest. 

Read more on this developing story here from KPCC/LAist reporter Libby Denkmann.

With files from the Associated Press

Guest:

Aaron Mendelson, KPCC/LAist senior investigative reporter; he tweets @a_mendelson


More from this episode:AirTalk FOR June 23,

Oregon, New Mexico Cities Serve As Examples For How New Models Of Community Policing Might Look In LA And Nationwide


Enjoy AirTalk? Try KPCC’s other programs.

See all of our programs

With Larry Mantle

Weekdays 10 am - 12 pm

Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.

What's popular now on KPCC

Your contributions power KPCC. Give today.

Источник: mynewextsetup.us

Los Angeles councilman faces 34 federal charges in alleged bribery scheme

A federal grand jury returned a count indictment against Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar on Thursday, alleging he accepted bribes, concealed income, evaded taxes and lied to investigators.

Huizar, 61, is accused of accepting $ million in "illicit financial benefits," the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles said in a statement. He was councilmember jose huizar last month and released on $, bond.

A previous federal charge of conspiracy to violate the RacketeerInfluenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was incorporated into Thursday's indictment, said Ciaran McEvoy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles.

A spokeswoman for Huizar did not immediately respond Thursday evening to a request for comment.

The new allegations include multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, traveling interstate mills v board of education of the district of columbia aid of councilmember jose huizar, bribery and money laundering and single counts of structuring cash deposits to conceal bribes, making a false statement to a financial institution, making false statements to federal law enforcement and tax evasion.

The case stems from allegations that Huizar took bribes from an unnamed Chinese billionaire developer and others in exchange for weighing in favorably on proposed construction projects.

Huizar was chair of the city's powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

The indictment alleges the councilman received about $, in benefits from the billionaire, described by the U.S. Attorney's office as a multinational developer who owns a hotel in Huizar's district.

The developer wanted to build a story building in Huizar's district.

Prosecutors alleged in last month's criminal complaint that Huizar received “direct and indirect financial benefits” on more than a dozen trips to Las Vegas casinos, which included rides on private jets and stays at posh villas.

He failed to report his "illicit benefits" on tax returns, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

The grand jury indictment alleges Huizar operated his office as a "criminal organization," according to the U.S. Attorney's statement, and that others, including a former deputy mayor, Huizar's special assistant and a real estate development consultant, participated.

In May, George Esparza, 33, a "special assistant" to Huizar untilagreed to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators about his role in the alleged scheme.

The FBI raided Huizar's home and office in Novemberand he was subsequently stripped of his committee assignments.

"During the search of his home, agents seized approximately $, cash that was stashed in Huizar’s closet and which, according to the indictment, he received from a Chinese billionaire and another businessperson seeking favors from him," federal prosecutors said in their statement Wednesday.

Huizar was scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Monday by videoconference.

The indictment is part of a wider probe of City Hall corruption in Los Angeles that has seen five people charged. Former Councilman Mitch Englander pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges of scheming to falsify facts about trips, funded by a businessman, he took to Las Vegas and Palm Springs.

Huizar has represented the downtown area since

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

Источник: mynewextsetup.us
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Jos� Huizar was elected to the Los Angeles City Council's 14th District in and overwhelmingly re-elected in and Through his years of public service, Councilmember Huizar has proven himself a staunch advocate for educational reform, public safety, environmental protection and sustainable economic development.

He has helped create thousands of new jobs, promote historical preservation and bring hundreds of acres of open space and park upgrades to park-poor areas of the City of Los Angeles.

He is one of the City's leading "Complete Streets" proponents, ushering in groundbreaking transit, pedestrian, business and bike-friendly policies that are seen as the model for the entire City. Councilmember Huizar is leading the effort to bring the Streetcar back to Downtown Los Angeles after a half-century absence.

A strong supporter of the arts, Councilmember Huizar has councilmember jose huizar created legislation to allow Los Angeles muralists to once again practice their craft and help Los Angeles reclaim its place as the "Mural Capital of the World."

He is Streetsblog L.A.'s Elected Official of the Year for all of Los Angeles County. InJos� Huizar received councilmember jose huizar Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters Environmental Champion Award and the Sierra Club's Political Leadership Award, recognizing his efforts to usher in environmentally sound policies to expand the City's recycling efforts in commercial and apartment buildings, transition the City of Los Angeles to cleaner, renewable energy and to make the City coal-free by

Under his leadership, the City also embarked on two of the largest solar projects in the country, adopted an unprecedented $ million annual budget for energy conservation and created policy to cut down on pollution by leading efforts to make the City of Los Angeles the largest city in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags.

Councilmember Huizar is a former Board of Directors member for Los Angeles Metro, where he helped oversee transportation policy for Los Angeles County. Prior to his Council election, Jos� served as a member and President of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education. As Board President, Jos� oversaw the planning and implementation of the largest school construction program in U.S. history.

Councilmember Huizar has been awarded numerous awards and distinctions, including profiles by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the 25 figures in the Los Angeles Area that "stand out for their potential to shape lives" and by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the " most influential Hispanics" in the United States.

Jos� Huizar was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master's degree in Public Affairs and Urban Planning from Princeton University and a Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law. He is the first Latino immigrant elected to the City Council in Los Angeles' history and inhe became the first Latino to serve on the Princeton Board of Trustees.

He resides in Boyle Heights with his wife Richelle Rios, their son Sim�n and three daughters, Emilia, Isabella and Aviana.

Источник: mynewextsetup.us

Councilman Jose Huizar Shows Up For Work but Refuses to Answer Questions About FBI Raids of Office, Home

There was yelling from the crowd, and an onslaught of deflection from Jose Huizar in the embattled councilman’s return to City Council Tuesday. It was his first public appearance since FBI agents raided his field offices, his office at City Hall, and his home in Boyle Heights.

“Where’s the transparency?” yelled resident Armando Herman at one point during public comment. He was later removed from the City Council chambers for causing a disturbance.

Huizar said mostly nothing to reporters and refused to answer their questions when he walked into chambers. The only thing he would say over and over again was, “I’m here to do my job. I’m here to work,” according to an account by the Los Angeles Times.

RELATED: How FBI Agents Raided the Office and Home of Boyle Heights Councilman Huizar

Questions sent to Huizar’s office get referred to his lawyer Stephen Kaufman, who said only that he would return to work this week. In fact, Huizar and other council representatives have yet to make any public statement at all addressing the federal investigation. The media blackout spurred wild speculation and aggressive comments from the public attending Tuesday’s meeting.

“We know where Jose Huizar was,” said John Walsh, a year-old retired teacher, during public comment. “He was in federal detention.”

There is no indication that Huizar has been arrested, detained, or even charged with a crime yet.

The FBI raid Huizar’s home and office on Nov. 7, carrying off boxes of documents and computers. Less than a week later, Council President Herb Wesson removed him from several committees, including the powerful Planning and Land Use Committee, where Huizar had been chair for years.

Huizar did not stay in his seat during most of the meeting, especially councilmember jose huizar public comment. But he did cast votes on the motions before the council.

“As taxpayers paying his salary, we have a right to know — and you stripped him of all his committees — we want to know why he might go to prison,” resident Patricia McAllister said during public comment. “Why there are all of these searches, bringing dogs to his house. We need to know!”

Huizar was first elected in He represents a sprawling district that includes the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, and parts of downtown Los Angeles. He has missed several meetings since the first of two lawsuitswas filed on Oct. 31, followed by the federal probe.

RELATED: Jose Huizar, Boyle Heights Rep on City Council, Sued by Two Former Staffers

Источник: mynewextsetup.us

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