DTLA resi project at center of bribery probe: report

940 S. Hill St. in Huizar's district was slated to become a 20-story resi tower

LA City Hall
LA City Hall

A $500,000 bribe that led to a real estate appraiser turning himself into the feds reportedly centered on a project in Jose Huizar’s City Council district Downtown.

A plea agreement last month by real estate appraiser Justin Kim with the U.S. Attorney’s identified Kim as the middleman to a $500,000 bribe shuttled between an unknown developer and unknown City Council member regarding an unidentified development.

On Wednesday, Spectrum News and The Los Angeles Times both reported that the developer is 940 Hill LLC, and the project is a 20-story residential tower at 940 S. Hill St., at the corner of Olympic Boulevard. The Times reported that three businesspeople – Dae Yong Lee, Jeok Suk Kim, and Hyuk Lim — are tied to the LLC. All three have track records in the downtown Fashion District.

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The address lies in the district of Huizar, chair of the Planning Land Use and Management Committee until November 2018 when the FBI raided his office. Following the raid, Huizar remained on City Council but then Council President Herb Wesson stripped him of the chair position.

While the plea agreement made no mention of Huizar, it did name downtown locales where Kim and a council member met. The plea deal also notes that the council member was intent on a handpicked successor taking his spot in City Hall. Huizar advocated that his wife, Richelle Huizar, replace him on the City Council.

The reports Wednesday come amid a flurry of revelations about the relationship between L.A. city government and real estate developers. Last month former City Council member Mitchell Englander reached a plea deal over allegedly lying to federal prosecutors about accepting thousands of dollars worth of gifts from an unnamed developer. –Matthew Blake [Los Angeles Times]

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