Embattled Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar has been stripped of his position as chairman of the influential Planning and Land Use Committee, in the wake of an FBI raid on Huizar’s home and Council office.
Council President Herb Wesson removed Huizar from the PLUM committee and all of his other committee appointments on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
As chairman of the PLUM committee, Huizar had more sway over development decisions in the city than any other lawmaker at City Hall. The committee largely guided decisionmaking over approvals for large-scale projects, development regulations, and tax breaks for development projects.
His removal creates uncertainty at City Hall for developers, who regularly lobbied Huizar to support their projects and often received that support. Huizar was largely seen as pro-development, particularly in his own district, which covered booming Downtown Los Angeles.
Federal investigators appeared to seize documents from Huizar’s home and office last week. The raid followed back-to-back lawsuits filed by two former Huizar aides that allege they witnessed him engage in illegal and unethical activity in years past.
The FBI has not elaborated on the nature of the raids, but federal agents did reach out to the two former aides’ attorney, Terrence Jones.
Among other unethical and potentially illegal activity, one former aide said that Huizar instructed her to cover up meetings he held with developers prior to major PLUM committee votes regarding their projects. The staffer said those developers donated to his campaign after PLUM approved their projects. [LAT] – Dennis Lynch