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The Real Deal Los Angeles

FBI probing 2 real estate figures related to Councilmember Jose Huizar’s alleged misconduct

A lobbyist and construction manager have ties to some of the biggest projects in DTLA
December 21, 2018 03:00PM

Councilmember Jose Huizar and the Grand Avenue project (Credit: Flickr)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into embattled Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar’s interactions with two real estate figures in L.A.

Sources told the L.A. Times that a federal grand jury issued at least one subpoena seeking records from Morrie Goldman and Art Gastelum. Goldman is a prominent lobbyist who’s worked on major projects downtown, including the Grand Avenue project. Gastelum runs a construction management firm.

A subpoena is a means to gather information and does not imply wrongdoing.

Last month, the FBI raided  Huizar’s office and home in dramatic fashion, hauling off boxes marked “fundraising,” and other electronic records. The investigation is also looking into donations made by developers, including Related Companies, the developer of the Grand Avenue project, and Bishop Mora Salesian High School, Huizar’s alma mater and the place where his wife worked as a fundraiser.

The City Council first approved the Grand Avenue project in 2016, and in October approved a $200 million bond for the project. Goldman lobbied lawmakers on behalf of the project. He also worked on behalf of SunCal’s 6AM project in the Arts District, also within Huizar’s City Council District.

Gastelum worked for Lightstone Group in connection to its Fig+Pico project in South Park. He was a subject in a corruption investigation dating from the early 2000s in relation to a failed school construction project. The L.A. County District Attorney shut down the investigation without finding any wrongdoing, according to the Times.

Goldman and Gastelum have also helped fundraise for Huizar’s wife’s candidacy for City Council. In November, after the FBI’s raids, Richelle Huizar gave up her bid to succeed her term-limited husband as representative of Council District 14. Investigators sought records from a political committee and its communications with Gastelum, Goldman, and the Huizars, according to the Times. [Los Angeles Times] – Dennis Lynch