Forget celebrity mansions, this bus tour would highlight LA councilman’s alleged misdeeds

Preservationists plan to show people spots tied to Jose Huizar scandals, anti-corruption crusades

Feb.February 11, 2019 09:00 AM
Esotouric’s Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, Council member Jose Huizar, and Times Mirror Square (Credit: Facebook, Flickr, and Getty Images)

This is not your typical Hollywood stars tour.

A pair of Los Angeles preservationists are planning a bus excursion centered on potential wrongdoing by Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, a subject in an FBI investigation into City Hall corruption involving real estate developments.

Preservationist and historians Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, political opponents of Huizar, call it “Jose Huizar’s DTLA: A New Crime Bus Tour.”

The four-hour tour will carry passengers to “key locations in Los Angeles history… illuminated through their role in past scandals and in Jose Huizar’s rise and fall,” according to a description on a website for their tour company, Esotouric.

“The tour will finally give shape and scope about how corruption works in L.A. City Hall now and historically,” Schave told The Real Deal.

Huizar has not been charged with any crime related to the investigation. The FBI raided his office and his home in November, seizing documents, including some related to fundraising.

A spokesperson for Huizar did not return an email seeking comment.

Earlier this month, an FBI search warrant that was made public showed investigators sought information on Huizar, other city hall figures, and a number of real estate developers related to evidence of bribery, money laundering, extortion, and conspiracy.

Schave said the tour would provide important information about the alleged actions of Huizar, whom they know well. Schave and Cooper have frequently faced off against the councilmember over his decisions as representative for the 14th District, which covers Downtown L.A.

Last year Schave led an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to landmark the Times Mirror Square complex in Downtown L.A., which Onni Group plans to partially demolish to build a pair of mixed-use towers.

The tour will include key locations in Huizar’s Downtown development legacy and some related to past City Hall scandals. To drive home the message, the bus will also take passengers to spots tied to Clifford Clinton, a 1930s-era anti-corruption crusader.

Times Mirror Square will be included in the tour. The L.A. Times reported last week that Onni Group donated $50,000 to a Huizar-tied committee while the issue was up for consideration at City Hall. The FBI has not said whether or not the donation is of interest to its investigation.

Cooper and Schave run around 15 different bus tours on Saturdays and Sundays on a rotating basis. Their most popular one features locations important to the 1947 slaying of Elizabeth Short, the so-called Black Dahlia murder case.

When asked if he thought it was premature to plan a bus tour about crimes that haven’t yet been proven or alleged, Schave said he was exercising his right to free speech.

“Because I’m not a federal prosecutor, I can use the word crime. I’m not issuing an indictment, the DOJ is,” Schave said. “I’m doing a bus tour.”

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