A businessman who allegedly induced former Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitchell Englander with money, an escort, and a big night out in Vegas in order to get connected to real estate developers also used the same sweeteners to “groom and cultivate” other city officials, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack Jenkins shed new light during a Thursday hearing on the government’s case against Englander, who previously served on the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management committee, or PLUM, the powerful five-person body that approves all new city developments that require zoning variances.
Englander was arrested Monday.
The businessman in question – identified only as “Businessperson A” in Englander’s indictment – is a provider of cabinets and electronic equipment used in residences. Jenkins said during the hearing that the businessman decided the best way to boost his business would be to bribe council members and other city officials.
“When it’s a billion-dollar project in downtown Los Angeles, that’s a lot of cabinets,” Jenkins said, according to the newspaper. Englander’s attorney declined to comment to the publication.
“This is all pretty brazen,” Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, told The Real Deal earlier this week about the indictment against Englander. “I don’t recall a Los Angeles City Council member being indicted for the accusation they directly received gifts and illicit services from a developer.”
Englander served in City Council from 2011 to 2018, representing a district largely comprised of the San Fernando Valley.
He resigned in 2018, a month after FBI agents raided the offices of City Council colleague Jose Huizar. [LAT] — TRD Staff