LA WATCHDOG--The US Attorney announced the indictment of former Deputy Mayor Ray Chan along with two other real estate developers in connection with the criminal enterprise involving Jose Huizar and the pay-to-play corruption scandal that is enveloping a City Hall that refuses to reform its policies and procedures involving zoning in the City of Los Angeles.
This brings the total to nine individuals who have been charged with racketeering and corruption along with two newly indicted companies, Shen Zhen New World I, LLC, controlled by Wei Huang, a Chinese billionaire who was just indicted, and 940 Hill, LLC, an entity controlled by recently indicted Bel Air resident, David Lee. (Photo above: Former Deputy Mayor Ray Chan, left and Mayor Eric Garcetti.)
Chan, a former Deputy Mayor appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the former General Manager of the Department of Building and Safety, is alleged to be a major player in the “CD-14 Enterprise” along with former City Councilman Jose Huizar, where over a million dollars changed hands in return for favorable zoning variances worth hundreds of millions to the developers.
While the pay-to-play corruption scandal is making front page news, the real scandal is that Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Nury Martinez led City Council have failed to mend their evil ways, refusing to adopt simplistic reforms proposed by Councilman David Ryu. These include not only meaningful campaign finance reform, but a ballot measure to delete Section 245 (e) of the City Charter that allows the City Council to insert itself into the planning process. Ryu also proposed an independent Office of Anti-Corruption and Transparency to oversee land use decisions.
The nine indicted individuals are Councilmen Jose Huizar and Mitch Englander, Deputy Mayor Ray Chan, lobbyist Morrie Goldman, real estate developers Wei Huang and David Lee, Huizar special assistant George Esparza, and bagmen Justin Kim and George Chiang. A number of these individuals have agreed to cooperate with the FBI and the US Attorney in their continuing investigation into the criminal enterprise.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: [email protected].)