The secrets still to come in the FBI’s Jose Huizar investigation

first_imgPhoto illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal (Getty, iStock)It was the fall of 2017 and Los Angeles City Council Member Jose Huizar needed a word with a longtime staffer about two real estate projects pending before the council.In advance of hearings, Huizar wanted to make sure the projects’ developers had funneled thousands of dollars to a fund set up to elect Huizar’s wife, Richelle Huizar, as his successor.“All commitments have been made,” his staffer, George Esparza, assured him.The exchange was one of many startling details in the 138-page superseding indictment of Huizar that federal prosecutors handed down Nov. 30.The filing brought new criminal counts against Huizar and also Shenzhen New World Group, its chairman Wei Huang, Los Angeles builder Dae Yong Lee and the Lee-incorporated 940 Hill LLC.But questions remain about the Huizar probe, which has lasted more than two years and produced an array of indictments, plea deals, and tales of pay-to-play for Katy Perry tickets.Notably, it’s unclear what other real estate executives and companies will face charges. The latest indictment alludes to 14 companies.As Donald Rumsfeld might put it, here are the known knowns, known unknowns, and an unknown unknown of the investigation.Known KnownsHuizar has gone from chair of the council’s powerful planning committee, to just downtown council member, to termed-out member facing 41 criminal counts of racketeering, fraud and money laundering. Huizar has pleaded not guilty to all charges and faces a June trial.Dae Yong Lee, 940 Hill LLC and Ray Chan, former deputy mayor of the economic development office, have also pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges. Shenzhen New World Group and its chairman Wei Huang, who resides in China, await arraignment.A handful of people have been identified as supplying information to the FBI through plea deals announced by federal prosecutors. These include Esparza, who pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge in May and graces no fewer than 52 of the latest indictment’s 138 pages. Others who made deals with prosecutors include real estate consultant George Chiang, appraiser Justin Jangwoo Kim, lobbyist Morris Goldman, and former City Council Member Mitchell Englander.Developer Shenzhen Hazens has paid a $1 million fine and admitted to wrongdoing.Known UnknownsThe indictment lists three companies that gave $25,000, $50,000 and $50,000, respectively, to the political action committee to elect Richelle Huizar.Two of those companies appeared before either the council’s Economic Development Committee or Planning, Land Use and Management Committee on Oct. 24, 2017.A “Company I” had a project outside Huizar’s district and needed approval for signage, which might connect to an item on the planning agenda.“Company H,” meanwhile, sought a “transient occupancy tax rebate,” perhaps taken up during the economic development meeting.An LLC seeking a hotel tax break at that meeting was incorporated by the Choice Hotel franchise. But a Choice company spokesperson said, “Choice is not a party to this project,” adding, “That said, we are confident that the venture’s development activities have been conducted in compliance with all applicable laws.”Also unknown is whether the FBI views these companies as co-conspirators or if they are already cooperating with prosecutors.The Huizar scandal concerns allegations that companies paid off the council member. But, as Neil McCauley once said, there’s a flip side to that coin: Whether any developers failed to get projects approved because they didn’t bribe Huizar.The indictment refers to a China-based developer, “Company G,” that Esparza slams for not giving money to the Richelle Huizar PAC.“[Company G] has not come through with any commitments to us,” Esparza said during a May 2017 phone call. “So … let’s just continue to ignore them, you know. We are not going to help them.”Shortly after the FBI raided Huizar’s office in November 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that real estate and billboard companies were solicited by Richelle Huizar to donate money to Jose Huizar’s former school, Bishop Mora Salesian High School in the Boyle Heights neighborhood.The Times reported that Shanghai-based Greenland gave $25,000 to the school, and New York City-headquartered Related Companies provided $10,000.The indictment mentions a China-based Company L that gave $25,000 to the high school — perhaps Greenland, which has acknowledged donating. But it also alludes to a different Chinese business, “Company K,” that gave $25,000.Unknown is what the second Chinese company might be and why it is mentioned in the indictment. Also, unknown is whether Greenland figures into the probe beyond the single donation.A “Company M” in the indictment appears to be Carmel Partners, a San Francisco-based developer. But after an initial statement in July, Carmel has not discussed its involvement in the Huizar scheme. Will the firm avoid criminal prosecution? Is it working on a deal similar to Shenzhen Hazen’s?Unknown UnknownU.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and L.A.’s is Nicola Hanna, a Donald Trump appointee. No one knows if Hanna is pushing to wrap up the case before President-Elect Joe Biden replaces him.But Hanna’s latest public statements suggest that the Huizar probe is not just about the council member and a few rogue companies.“This detailed indictment,” Hanna said in a statement, “should prompt a serious discussion as to whether significant reforms are warranted in Los Angeles city government.”Contact the author Email Address* Full Name* Message* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more

Tony Nominee Bob Martin on Cutting Confetti Canons from The Prom & Bringing Back The Drowsy Chaperone

first_img View Comments Bob Martin (Photos: Emilio Madrid-Kuser for The Prom Related Shows  Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 27:24Loaded: 0.00%00:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -27:24 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglishAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window. The video is bad or in a format that cannot be played on your browser Error Code: MEDIA_ERR_DECODE Technical details : video append of 2219562b failed for segment #0 in playlist 4- With so many jokes and a comedic genius creative team, there was a wealth of material in the development of The Prom; Martin revealed a couple of favorite cut moments to us. “The whole show used to begin in a completely different way,” he said “It would begin with last moments of three terrible musicals that our protagonists were starring in. Those musicals were Forrest Gump the Musical, Goonies the Musical and, my personal favorite, A Long Day’s Journey Into Night the Musical. After they bowed, there were confetti cannons and I think it was an extremely funny way to start a show. I miss it a lot.”It was impossible to talk to Martin and not mention his slew of upcoming projects that include The Princess Bride and Millions, and there’s yet another on his horizon. “There is a Drowsy Chaperone sequel in the works,” Martin said. “It’s time to put in on stage again. Instead of doing a revival, let’s revisit the Man [in Chair] 13 years later and play another show.” As for who will appear in the sequel, Martin has high hopes. “We’ve already talked to Beth Leavel about it. I’ve had three shows on Broadway, and she’s appeared in each of them.”Be sure to catch The Prom, now playing at the Longacre Theatre.Watch the full #LiveAtFive episode below! Beth Leavel and Brooks Ashmanskas in The Prom (Photo: Deen van Meer) The new musical boasts an A-list Broadway cast including Tony nominees Brooks Ashmanskas, Beth Leavel and Caitlin Kinnunen. To Martin, one of the best parts about the creative process was collaborating with the show’s stars. “We got to work with the greatest comedians on Broadway and tailor the roles to them. From the very beginning they were at the table with us,” Martin said. “They’re all pros. It was very lab-like. We would write versions of the scenes and work with the actors and see what sticks. It all comes down to rhythm.”With The Prom having such a relatable story that was seemingly ripped from the headlines, there was a lot of material that was influenced by personal events. “There’s all kind of references. There’s reference to the Drama Desk and the Tony Awards. Musically, there’s a lot of references to [Stephen] Sondheim and [Stephen] Schwartz,” Martin said. “When a bad review is read aloud that was a real incident. I went to the opening night party of a show and I walked up to the producer and congratulated him and he said they were closing in seven days. We’ve all had horrible things said about us in the press, so it was fun to go there. Was this a smart idea starting our show with a bad review from The Times? I think It all worked out.” Scribe Bob Martin made his Broadway debut in 2006 starring, and writing the Tony-winning book, for The Drowsy Chaperone. The Tony winner is once again a nominee, this time for co-writing (with Chad Beguelin) the book of The Prom, which earned seven Tony nominations including Best Musical. “Of course, we’re thrilled,” Martin said to Beth Stevens in a recent interview on’s #LiveAtFive. “It feels so great to see that the last three people at the curtain call have all been nominated. I don’t believe in competition within the arts and comparing two shows that have nothing in common, but we love the fact that The Prom has connected with people in such a big way. Standing at the stage door restores your faith in humanity.” Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 11, 2019 Session ID: 2021-01-17:bfabf90575e7d3921784eb49 Player Element ID: vjs_video_3 OK Close Modal DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.last_img read more

Sanchez accepts blame for loss

first_imgBy Scott Wolf and Paul Oberjuerge STAFF WRITERS EUGENE, Ore. – Mark Sanchez didn’t point any fingers. Except at himself. USC’s sophomore quarterback, starting only his third game, all but took personal responsibility for the Trojans’ damaging 24-17 defeat at Oregon on Saturday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.And Coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem to be in a mood to argue with him. “Last week I was a hero,” Sanchez said, “and this week I’m a zero.” Sanchez passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns on 26-for-42 accuracy. But he also threw two costly second-half interceptions. The first ruined a promising third-quarter drive and set up Oregon’s final touchdown thrust. The second killed USC’s last-minute attempt to snatch victory from defeat, coming 33 yards from a potential tying touchdown on a play that began with 23 seconds to play. Sanchez passed for four touchdowns without an interception in a 38-0 victory at Notre Dame last week, but his two interceptions, both by safety Matthew Harper, were too much for the ninth-ranked Trojans to overcome against the fifth-ranked Ducks. “They can be your worst enemy,” a somber Sanchez said quietly of the interceptions. “That first one was a good read, a physical mistake, just a bad throw. You can’t do that. I have to take that one on the chin. There’s no excuse for that. “The second one, we were driving, had a little momentum going. I had Fred (Davis) break open over the middle. That free safety, he must have read my eyes, but he made a pretty good play. He jumped in front of Fred. That one I have to look at on film.” Not that film will help much. “There’s no excuse for things like that,” Sanchez said. “It killed us. I let the other 10 guys on the field down, I let the 11 guys on defense down. It’s tough. It’s a bad feeling.” Carroll often finds alibis for his quarterbacks, but he didn’t rise to Sanchez’s defense Saturday. “I thought Mark battled all day long,” Carroll said. “He feels terrible about turning the ball over. “The last one he was just, he was just trying too hard … you don’t need to take the ball down low, not go downfield yet. He was a little bit late, he made a bad decision. “He made a bad throw on the other pick … Those things happen.” Sanchez has been open about wanting to keep the No. 1 job at quarterback, which he assumed 15 days ago in a victory over Arizona. He took over for second-year starter John David Booty, who suffered a broken middle finger on his right (passing) hand during the Stanford game. Booty also has been frank about wanting to return to the starting lineup as soon as he is physically up to par. What happens next? Carroll refused even to speculate. “I don’t even care to comment about it,” he said. “We’ll figure it out next week.” Questionable call Carroll was unhappy with a holding call that nullified a 64-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Joe McKnight in the first quarter of the Trojans’ loss to Oregon. An official flagged offensive tackle Drew Radovich for the penalty, which occurred with Oregon leading, 7-0. “That was the backside tackle, that was (questionable),” Carroll said. Booty wants call Carroll said it was too soon to make a decision on who starts at quarterback but senior John David Booty (broken finger) said he wants to play against Oregon State. “I’ve got to come back,” Booty said. “I want to be out there.” Booty’s passes sailed in practice this week, which made Carroll’s decision easy. “We have to put some drives together,” Booty said. “We keep beating ourselves.” Confused coaches Oregon coach Mike Bellotti gave himself a pat on the back when he said after the victory that USC is “as talented as any football team in the United States.” Bellotti did say the victory was important because “USC has been the flag-bearer for this conference for the last three years.” Actually, USC has won the last five Pacific-10 Conference titles. But Carroll also was confused after the game when he said, “we were tied at halftime and thought we had a good chance to get back into it.” USC trailed Oregon, 10-3, at halftime. Baker hurt Offensive tackle Sam Baker reinjured his hamstring and also experienced pain in his hip. He left the game in the second half and did not return and was unsure if he would play next week.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more