Sat, Apr

Beverly Hills Developer Is Trump's Biggest Donor (Well, After Trump)


POLITICS--As if there weren't enough reasons for people to hate on notorious L.A. developer Geoff Palmer (photo above), who's brought the city such architectural atrocities as the Orsini and the Da Vinci, Palmer has given a Donald Trump Super PAC a cool $2 million, according to a Federal Election Commission quarterly report filed this weekend.

According to Bloomberg, that makes Palmer the biggest Trump donor in the country (besides, of course, Trump himself).

The Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, which recently started running TV ads comparing Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby (!), is run by LA-based investor Tom Barrack, a close associate of Trump's. In June, Barrack told CNN that the Super PAC had attracted $32 million "in financial commitments" from four donors. But according to the quarterly report, the PAC has raised only $2,160,450 — though indeed, it is from four different donors. Nearly all the money has come from Palmer.

The man whom Curbed LA calls "Downtown's worst developer" owns at least six very large apartment buildings in Los Angeles, all with faux-Italian names: the Medici, the Visconti, the Orsini, the Piero, the Lorenzo and of course, the Da Vinci, which was set on fire in 2014 while it was still being built

In February, the city filed a $20 million lawsuit against Palmer, for not having an adequate fire protection plan.

The fire was only the latest in a series of misdeeds that have made Palmer the bete noire of urban boosters. There was the pedestrian bridge he wanted to build over Olympic Boulevard so that his residents wouldn't have to walk past homeless people; there was the historic 1880s Queen Anne house his construction workers "accidentally" destroyed while building the Orsini. 

Worst of all was his lawsuit, in 2007, over a city zoning law requiring downtown developers of large projects to reserve a number of units for low-income tenants. Palmer's victory in that lawsuit means California cities can't force developers to build affordable housing (though they can incentivize them to do so by granting density bonuses). 

So what's with Palmer's weird Italian fetish? In 2014, he told Los Angeles Magazine“The Italians actually settled LA before the Spanish and Chinese."

(Hillel Aron writes for LA Weekly  … where this piece originated.)



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