Beny Alagem spent $2M in less than three months on condo tower initiative

If spending continues at this rate, developer will have shelled out $1,000 per vote

Oct.October 13, 2016 08:45 AM

If his spending spree continues at its current rate, Beny Alagem will have spent $1,000 per vote to build a condo tower in Beverly Hills by the time the project appears on the ballot.

Between July 1 and Sept. 24, a coalition that is funded primarily by the developer’s firm, Oasis West Realty, spent over $2 million on expenses related to his Beverly Hills Garden & Open Space Initiative, the Beverly Hills Weekly reported.

An 83-page campaign disclosure form shows the campaign paid over $76,000 to PR firm Sugerman Communications Group and $40,000 to American International Business, a computer storage manufacturer founded by former Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad.

Alagem has been locked in an ongoing dispute with competing developer Wanda Group, which wants to build its own 134-key hotel and 193-condo complex right next door to Alagem’s site.

Wanda is waging an opposition campaign to Alagem’s called “No on HH,” highlighting that Alagem’s initiative would allow his condo project to bypass the city’s typical planning review process to build the tallest building in the city.

The Alagem camp, in turn, alleged that Wanda, a Chinese company, was illegally funneling money oppose the initiative. California’s Fair Political Practices Commission rejected that allegation in a letter to Alagem’s attorney Gary Winuk. Oasis has also been fighting Wanda’s project as it goes through planning hearings, specifically taking issue with a loading dock near Alagem’s site.

“We found no evidence that the contributor is a foreign principal,” wrote Galena West, the chief of the Commission’s enforcement division. [BH Weekly]Cathaleen Chen

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