Prompted by a recent scandal involving one of the city’s power brokers, Los Angeles elected officials want to weaken real estate developer influence at City Hall. New data shows the lengths some of those developers will go to influence those representatives.
An analysis by Curbed of lobbying records found that development firms comprised the vast majority of companies that sent lobbyists to City Hall. All four of the entities that each spent more $500,000 lobbying elected officials last year were developers, Curbed reported.
Renewed attention has followed the downfall of L.A. Councilmember Jose Huizar, who had been one of the most powerful officials when it came to development. Huizar is at the center of an FBI investigation into potentially illegal donations he secured from developers for his campaign and personal charities.
In all, lobbyists were paid $65.6 million by clients in 2018 to build support for development projects, to push policies, or otherwise influence elected officials, according to Curbed. Lobbying is legal if kept within strict guidelines.
None spent more than Lightstone Group, which secured city approval for its massive Fig + Pico mixed-use project last summer. An affiliated LLC dropped $826,000 on lobbyists, according to the report.
An entity linked to Harridge Development Group’s controversial Crossroads of the World project in Hollywood wasn’t far behind, spending $740,859 on lobbying last year.
More money was spent on the Crossroads of the World project than any other single development in the city. Lobbyists were paid $877,490 to work on behalf of the project.