Former Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitchell Englander has agreed to plead guilty to obstructing a public corruption investigation, the latest shoe to drop in a massive federal investigation into the relationship between real estate developers and L.A. city government.
The plea agreement was filed in federal court Friday morning, according to a document provided by the U.S. Attorney’s office. The specific plea is falsification of material facts, which carries a maximum five years in prison for Englander, who served on City Council from 2011 to 2018, representing parts of the San Fernando Valley.
Englander was also a member of the city’s planning committee and, according to an indictment unsealed earlier this month, he received more than $30,000 in cash, female escort services, hotel rooms, wine bottles and meals from an unidentified real estate developer.
Englander then allegedly spent months telling the developer not to cooperate with the FBI and lie about the gifts when, unbeknownst to the ex-public servant, the developer was cooperating with the FBI and recording their conversations.
The unidentified developer, “operated companies in Los Angeles pertaining to major developments and sought to increase his business opportunities in the city,” according to the indictment.
The deal comes one week after real estate appraiser Justin Jangwoo Kim reached his own plea agreement with the federal government related to being the middleman of a $500,000 bribe between an unidentified developer and an unknown City Council member.
Englander resigned from City Council a month after FBI agents raided the offices of City Council colleague Jose Huizar. Huizar has admitted no wrongdoing, and no charges have been brought against the councilmember.
At the time, little connection was made to Englander’s resignation and the FBI probe. Englander announced he had taken a communications position at the Oak View Group, a sports and entertainment company in Westwood.
According to LinkedIn, Englander left Oak View Group last month to become president of E-Venture, which his LinkedIn page calls a “government relations group.”