Los Angeles City Council member Mitchell Englander is stepping down from his role in politics to join a development firm that is currently working on a $1 billion project at the Belmont Racetrack.
Englander, who represents the northwest San Fernando Valley, will join L.A.-based Oak View Group in January as its new executive vice president of government affairs, the Los Angeles Times reported. He had two years left in his term.
Oak View, led by CEO Tim Leiweke and backed by Irving Azoff’s MSG Entertainment, builds, manages and books entertainment shows for dozens of areas across the country. Part consultancy, part venture capital firm, the company is currently working on a sports and entertainment development at the Belmont Racetrack that includes a new arena for the New York Islanders hockey team.
In Los Angeles, the firm tried securing a contract to manage the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park this year, but the city ultimately chose to go with another firm.
Critics of Englander had been upset with his handling of the troubling Aliso Canyon gas leak, and they said the council member had exhibited a pro-development stance.
““He’s just sided with the money people, big developers, for a long time over the wishes of the people,” Jim Summers, a former president of the Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, told the Times.
Englander said in a statement that he did not seek the job, but that it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Following Felipe Fuentes, Englander is the second council member in the past two years to quit before his term was completed. First elected in 2011, he was reelected in 2015.
On the council, Englander sits on two committees that handle the city’s budget and police and fire departments. [LAT] — Natalie Hoberman