Koreatown tower developer gave city council president’s son a deal on rent: report

Herb Wesson III was the only tenant not to see a rent increase at his building

Oct.October 25, 2019 12:00 PM
L.A. Councilman Herb Wesson and an empty lot Rosewood Corp. is looking to build on (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)
L.A. Councilman Herb Wesson and an empty lot Rosewood Corp. is looking to build on (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

The son of embattled Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson may have received preferential treatment on his rent at an L.A. apartment building while his father helped the real estate company’s executives win approval of a high-rise.

The Los Angeles Times claims that Wesson helped shepherd the 27-story Koreatown residential tower through the city’s review process amid opposition from city staff and the planning commission. During the same period, his son was living in a 20-unit building owned by Rosewood Corp., a company headed by tower developer Michael Hakim and one of his relatives, the Times reported.

A spokesperson for the councilman was unavailable to comment.

In 2018, an L.A. Superior Court judge temporarily halted construction on the Koreatown project, which was later overturned.

The councilman’s son, Herb Wesson III, went more than five years without a rent increase at the apartment building on Rosewood Avenue, even as many other tenants saw their rent go up, according to the Times’ analysis of city records.

Legal experts said the rental arrangement should be investigated by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. Under city law, L.A.’s elected officials are barred from using their power to create “a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.”

The Times reported that Wesson declined to comment on questions about whether his son had received a rent discount when his office was reviewing the planned tower — a project which he supported.

Hakim initially told the Times that he had no knowledge about Wesson III’s apartment and no financial interest in the building. He later told the newspaper that the apartment “had been rented at market rate.” [LAT]Pat Maio

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