Huizar arrest fallout: Carmel Partners places exec on leave

The development firm is referred to in FBI complaint against LA councilman, alleging it provided him with “direct and indirect financial benefits”

Los Angeles /
Jul.July 02, 2020 09:33 AM
View of Carmel Partners' 520 Mateo
View of Carmel Partners’ 520 Mateo

Carmel Partners has placed an executive on leave following the government’s allegations the development firm bribed Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar in exchange for getting projects approved.

Carmel Partners was clearly cited to — but not named — in the FBI’s 116-page complaint detailing racketeering charges against Huizar, who was arrested last week.

San Francisco-based Carmel did not identify the executive by name, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company also denied any knowing-involvement in the alleged scheme. But it said The firm said in a statement it planned to take “appropriate disciplinary actions needed,” against the executive, according to the report.

Federal authorities charged Huizar on June 23 with taking bribes from developers to the tune of $1.5 million in exchange for favorable actions on their projects at the City Council. At the time, he was head of the powerful Planning and Land Use Management committee.

According to the Times, Carmel said the FBI’s complaint had “numerous false and/or misleading conclusions, suppositions, innuendos, and opinions.”

The firm is a player in L.A. real estate, and is developing an Arts District project, 520 Mateo, that was also referred to in the FBI complaint. For that project, the government claims Huizar reduced the number of affordable units required after Carmel and its lobbyist provided “direct and indirect financial benefits” to him.

The company also donated tens of thousands of dollars to political action committees tied to Huizar, according to the FBI. Federal authorities even allege that a Carmel executive provided Huizar with dirt on a pair of former aides who sued him for harassment.

Other prominent developers have been named in search warrants and other FBI documents related to the Huizar probe, including Shenzhen Hazens and Shenzhen New World Group. [LAT]Dennis Lynch


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