Developer implicated in Jose Huizar scandal cuts deal with feds
Shenzhen Hazens admits to showering LA councilman with Katy Perry tickets, trips, hotel discounts
Shenzhen Hazens’ next big payment will be to the federal government.
The U.S. subsidiary of the China-based developer will pay a $1.05 million fine in the corruption scandal centered around Los Angeles Council member Jose Huizar, according to an agreement made public Wednesday.
The company admitted to showering the former chairman of the Council’s planning and land use committee with bribes in exchange for help getting a megaproject approved. Huizar, who has since been arrested and indicted, moved through the city approval process Shenzhen’s $700 million redevelopment of the Luxe Hotel, prosecutors allege.
Huizar has maintained his innocence.
Shenzhen subsidiary, Arcadia-based Jia Yuan USA, will pay the government the money within two weeks. The developer will not be prosecuted for at least the next three years, officials said.
Shenzhen was implicated but not charged in the Huizar probe shortly after the FBI raided the Council member’s office and home in November 2018. Huizar faces a trial next June on 34 criminal counts, with prosecutors alleging he ran a criminal enterprise with developers, lobbyists, and other city officials.
According to the agreement announced Wednesday, Shenzhen’s gifts to Huizar include an all-expense paid trip to China and Katy Perry concert tickets. Also, Shenzhen Hazens gave hotel room discounts to city officials at Huizar’s behest, and politicians received discounts for hosting fundraising events at the hotel.
Shenzhen Hazens is one of four developers implicated in separate plea deals federal prosecutors announced in the last several months involving alleged accomplices. But it is the first developer to have struck a deal with federal prosecutors in the case.
The actual real estate project in question has never gotten off the ground.
Shenzhen received approval for a 49-story residential tower, a 29-story hotel and 80,000 square feet of retail space. But the developer never applied for building permits, and the L.A. city attorney’s office moved this summer to strip Shenzhen Hazens’ permits for selling alcohol and hosting live entertainment.