The Real Deal Los Angeles

FBI’s probe into DTLA development includes City Hall, Council president’s office

Aides to Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman President Herb Wesson, along with several foreign real estate development execs, are under scrutiny
January 14, 2019 09:00AM

From left: Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Jose Huizar and Curren Price

New details are emerging in the FBI’s ongoing probe into possible misconduct at City Hall related to real estate development.
The contents of a wide-reaching search warrant, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, shows investigators are seeking information about foreign real estate investment in Los Angeles. Under investigation are City Hall figures that include Council members Jose Huizar and Curren Price, along with aides to both Council President Herb Wesson, Huizar and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The existence of the federal investigation became known in early November after agents raided the home and office of Councilman Jose Huizar, the Downtown L.A. official, who was chairman of the powerful Planning and Land Use Committee.

In those capacities, Huizar held significant decision-making authority over development in booming Downtown. He has since been stripped of his committee appointments.

Federal agents are seeking evidence of bribery, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy, and other crimes, according to the search warrant. No one has been arrested or charged with a crime.

It was previously revealed that the FBI was scrutinizing donations to Huizar’s campaign and his high school alma mater — where his wife Richelle worked as a fundraiser — from influential developers before and after Huizar supported their large projects in his district. Firms that donated include Greenland USA, Related Companies and Skanska, all of which have major projects underway in the area.

Investigators are also seeking records from prominent lobbyist Morrie Goldman and Art Gastelum, who runs a construction management firm. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch