For disgraced former Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander, what happened in Vegas definitely did not stay in Vegas.
Englander pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to trying to cover up cash bribes and other gifts he received from a local businessman who was trying to connect with L.A.-area real estate developers, according to the Los Angeles Times. The plea, to a count of scheming to falsify material facts, was part of a wider FBI probe into corruption at City Hall that has led to a number of arrests, most recently City Councilmember Jose Huizar.
Englander reached a plea agreement with federal investigators in late March, a few weeks after the FBI arrested him.
The gifts he received during the weekend in Vegas three years ago included an expensive dinner, bottle service at a nightclub, a hotel stay — an escort was sent to his room — and $10,000 in cash, the Times reported. Englander also admitted he took $5,000 in cash on a separate trip.
In exchange for Englander’s plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss all other charges in the indictment, and will seek no more than 36 months in prison for the former councilmember.
But Englander’s admitted wrongdoing pales in comparison to the charges authorities have brought against Huizar. Last month, the FBI arrested the councilmember who once led the powerful Planning and Land Use Management committee, following a lengthy investigation. Federal authorities allege Huizar ran a “criminal enterprise” from City Hall, using “the power of his office to approve or stall large building projects.”
He is charged with accepting at least $1.5 million in cash and other benefits from developers in exchange for supporting their construction projects. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch