LA City Councilor Jose Huizar Arrested on charges of corruption –
LOS ANGELES, CBSLA – More than 18 months after the federal raid on his office, Jose Huizar, a former member of Los Angeles City Council, was the fifth and highest ranking official to be arrested in an ongoing corruption investigation in which city officials had hired hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from developers.
FILLA – Jose Huizar, member of Los Angeles City Council, leaves his post on July 17. February 2013 in Los Angeles on the steps of City Hall. (Getty Images)
Huizar, 51, was arrested Tuesday at his home in Boyle Heights for conspiracy in a case against RICO (Racketeers and Corrupt Organizations Influence Act).
He appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon, where U.S. Magistrate Paul L. Abrams ordered his release on $100,000 bail.
He didn’t press charges of extortion. Provisional hearings are provisionally scheduled for the 14th meeting of the Committee. July and court hearings for the 20th of July. July.
If he is convicted of the charges against him, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 20 years.
In November 2018, the FBI raided Huizar’s apartment and office.
Huizar, however, was not arrested at the time and remained in office despite repeated calls for dismissal. He was also expelled from several council committees, including the Powerful Planning and Land Use Planning Committee, where he decided which projects lived and which died, U.S. Attorney Nick Hannah said at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
The 116-page statement accuses Huizar of using a payment system in exchange for a game in which he and his associates extort bribes from developers to ensure that their project is approved in the city’s approval process, Hannah said.
Hannah said that Huizar has been able to exert significant influence because much of the real estate development in recent years has been concentrated in the region he represents, Boyle Heights.
An investigation in November 2018 found $129,000 in cash hidden in a closet, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Hannah said a contractor gave Huizar $500,000 in cash in paper bags to help him settle the labour dispute. A political fundraiser, who acted as a mediator and helped transfer money, reached an agreement with the Public Prosecutor earlier this year.
In addition, Huizar received more than a dozen trips to casinos in the United States and abroad, where he received $250,000 worth of gambling chips.
According to the complaint, a Chinese real estate developer invested $600,000 in collateral so that Mr. Huizar could get a bank loan to pay off a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. When Huizar stopped paying the loan, the guarantee was used to repay the balance of the loan.
Hannah told us that Huizar had planned to run for his wife to continue the corruption.
Unfortunately, behind the big outward appearance (Los Angeles) is a cancerous lump, a disease of elected officials and employees who break a number of laws to fill their pockets, keep power and keep a spot of illegal bribes and other benefits open, Hannah said.
Money stolen from Huizar’s house during an FBI raid in November 2018. (United States Attorney)
On Tuesday afternoon several demonstrators appeared in front of Huizar’s house, who filed a symbolic complaint of deportation and asked him to resign.
Someone will have to replace him, said Charlie Olivia, a resident of Boyle Heights. Someone with a good background and good morals.
In March, former Los Angeles City Council member Mitch Englander was arrested for accepting thousands of dollars in cash, a female escort and expensive hotel rooms from a businessman who did business in Los Angeles and who was involved in major development projects and wanted to expand his business into the city. He agreed to plead guilty a few weeks after his arrest.
The Englishman represented the 12. District of the San Fernando Valley from 2011 to December 2018, when he resigned suddenly, although he still had two years left before the end of his term.
Last month Huizar’s former assistant, George Esparza, 33, agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit an act of corruption.
A real estate development consultant also agreed to a settlement in this case last month,
In December 2019, partly as a result of the Huizar case, the city council unanimously adopted a resolution prohibiting developers from participating in political candidacies for the city council.
Since 2005, Huizar represents District 14, which mainly consists of the Boyle Heights District. He may not be re-elected as his term of office expires at the end of the current term in November.
Since he took office, he has been confronted with various legal problems. In 2012 he was involved in a traffic accident in which he drove off the road with another car. The city was forced to pay up to $185,000 as part of the settlement.
In 2014, the city resolved a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee.
On Tuesday, Nuri Martinez, President of Los Angeles City Council, made the following statement:
While the announcement of Councilman Huizar’s arrest today is not unexpected, the terrible and horrific charges against him and others have long since cast a dark cloud over the government of our city, said Councilman Nuri Martinez. As of today, I’m going to start laying down so that the good people of the 14th century can enjoy their lives. The city council of Los Angeles and the city of Los Angeles can be honestly and honorably represented. It’s our duty, and we have to do it.