FBI Corruption Probe Casts Wide Net Over L.A. City Hall
In November, City News reported on an FBI raid at the home and offices belonging to L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar. Thanks to revelations over the weekend, it’s now clear that sting was part of a much larger investigation into possible bribery, extortion, money laundering and other corrupt practices at L.A. City Hall.
On Saturday, the L.A. Times was able to review the search warrant executed in November. It names a dozen people besides Huizar, including L.A. City Councilman Curren Price; Mayor Eric Garcetti’s former deputy mayor for economic development Ray Chan; Deron Williams, Chief of Staff to Council President Herb Wesson; Joel Jacinto, another Garcetti appointee who serves on the L.A.’s Board of Public Works; three foreign investors; and a number of city council aides.
At the heart of the probe, the Times reports, are ambitious development projects in Downtown L.A., many of which have been financed by Chinese investment.
In recent months, real estate developers with projects in Huizar’s downtown-to-Eagle Rock district have received federal grand jury subpoenas instructing them to turn over communications with the councilman and dozens of current and former Huizar staffers since 2013, according to two sources familiar with the FBI’s instructions. Those developers also have been told to provide information on any contributions they have made to Huizar’s reelection bid, his officeholder committee, any legal defense fund or his alma mater, Bishop Mora Salesian High School, the sources said. The subpoenas seek information on any donations made to two political committees with ties to Huizar — Community Support PAC and Families for a Better Los Angeles.
Developers in Huizar’s district also have been instructed to provide information on any gifts, meals, trips, vacations, flights, event tickets or rounds of golf they have provided to Huizar, his staff or any other council member, the sources said.
Among the information sought in the warrant were records related to trips to Las Vegas and stays at four hotels, including the Palazzo and Caesars Palace. The document does not explain why investigators want them.
So far, there have been no arrests or criminal charges as a result of the investigation.
Read more details about the probe here.