Coalition to Preserve LA lobbyists

Special Report: FBI Investigation and Pay-to-Play at Los Angeles City Hall

In Black Lung Lofts, City Council, City Hall, Corruption, Investigations by Preserve LA

Pay-to-Play in the City of Los Angeles

“Money Goes in, Favors Go Out, We All Pay. Who Do L.A. City Hall Leaders Work For?”

A Special Report and Timeline on Backroom Governing and Undue Developer Influence 

Sourcing: All internal city facts were provided by the the L.A.
City Ethics Commission or in documents released by City Council members as required by the California Public Records Act.

[This report originally released by the Coalition to Preserve LA, March 2017]

Summary: This special timeline of official city information reveals how L.A. City Hall works behind closed doors, on behalf of developers and usually without knowledge of the public, to get around an area’s zoning rules and local plans. Most large developers donate to L.A. elected leaders throughout the backroom process. The 12 developers involved, we show, showered the Los Angeles City Councilmembers, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and even candidates hoping to become councilmembers, with $11.1 million in lobbying wining and dining, campaign contributions, and large cash gifts fed into funds controlled by L.A. City Hall politicians.

This report shows that while non-transparent meetings and dinners between developers, elected city leaders and their staffs are take up an enormous amount of elected leaders and their staff’s time (and even draw in the staff of the City Planning Department), these public officials almost never meet with voters and residents who question the non-transparent meetings and developer plans.

The timeline is entirely made up of official city documents released under California Public Records Act, official campaign finance and lobbyist data from the L.A. City Ethics Commission, and news reports:

  • Dates and people present at private backroom meetings between developers and city officials.
  • Donations received by elected officials from these developers during that process.
  • City Council approval of projects that badly bend L.A.’s development standards and zoning.

Nine Los Angeles City Council members were asked to divulge this public information. All nine failed to release the subject of these backroom meetings with developers. They divulged only the fact that the meetings happened, in response to California Public Records Act requests by the Coalition.

The nine L.A. City Council members, of 15 on the City Council, were asked for their official appointment calendars because their Council Districts contain a significant number of projects that have been allowed to ignore city zoning and planning rules.

Some responded long after the 10-day deadline under the California Public Records Act (CPRA).

City Councilman Jose Huizar failed for months to provide his meeting calendar. He complied with California state law only after attorneys for the Coalition to Preserve LA demanded that he divulge this public information.

The official city data provides a direct look at the campaign and lobbying cash spent to influence City Hall leaders as they decide, in a non-transparent and money-influenced system, how and where L.A. and its neighborhoods should absorb large-scale developments.

Twelve Controversial L.A. Mega-developments: Who Attends Closed Meetings? How Politicians & Developers Benefit

  1. Crossroads of the World: Developers Morton La Kretz and Harridge

This proposed triple skyscraper of luxury housing and 21 liquor licenses would displace a historic, diverse and thriving community of 84 multi-generational Latino, black and white families near Sunset Boulevard and Highland.

Behind closed doors in 2013, Harridge and La Kretz begin their quest for lucrative, major exemptions from city zoning rules and development standards, and to get an exemption from major state environmental impact protections.

March 21, 2013 Morton La Kretz, founder of Crossroads Management, donates $1,300 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

April 1, 2013 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $1,300 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

April 5, 2013 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

April 8, 2013 Morton La Kretz, founder of Crossroads Management, donates $700 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

April 25, 2013 Bradley Woomer, the CFO at Harridge Development Group, LLC, donates $250 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

September 20, 2013 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

November 18, 2013 FIRST BACKROOM MEETING between Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Morton La Kretz, and Linda Duttenhaver of Crossroads Management.

November 22, 2013 Bradley Woomer of Harridge Development Groups donates $250 to Mitch O’Farrell’s Officeholder Account.

November 22, 2013 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $500 to Mitch O’Farrell’s Officeholder Account.

September 30, 2014 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s campaign for City Council.

January 6, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Gloria Molina’s campaign for City Council.

January 27, 2015 Marc Annotti of Harridge Development Group donates $700 to Mitch Englander’s campaign for City Council.

February 12, 2015 Marc Annotti of Harridge Development Group donates $700 to Nury Martinez’s campaign for City Council.

March 26, 2015 Yuri Gurevich, a consultant at Harridge Development Group, donates $250 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

March 26, 2015 James D. Hearn, an attorney at Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

March 26, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

March 26, 2015 Bradley Woomer of Harridge Development Groups donates $700 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

April 20, 2015 SECOND BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, O’Farrell deputy Christine Peters, O’Farrell deputy Gary Benjamin and Crossroads attorney Jerry Neuman and Crossroads executive Linda Duttenhaver.

May 20, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $500 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

May 29, 2015, more than two years AFTER cash donations began flowing from Harridge and La Kretz to O’Farrell and others, THE MEDIA LEARNS that a triple skyscraper is being proposed by Harridge Development Group and Mort La Kretz. Curbed LA breaks the “news” of this secret project that has been sailing along for two years in BACKROOM MEETINGS with City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell:

Curbed LA: “As these preliminary renderings show, the Crossroads complex—which is both a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and on the National Register of Historic Places—will be completely “restored to its glory,” says Glenn Gritzner, a rep for developer Harridge Development Group. (Crossroads owner Mort La Kretz will continue to control the land the project sits on.) …

“In addition to the reintroduction of retail at the Crossroads, the project will create eight new mixed-use buildings rising on parts of the two blocks between the complex and Highland Avenue to the west, and the block immediately to the north of the complex on Selma: a 308-room, 31-story hotel, a 32-story apartment tower, and a 30-story condo tower with 950 units total (including 70 units of designated affordable housing), 95,000 square feet of office space, and a total of 185,000 square feet of retail/commercial uses (including the 60,000 square feet at Crossroads). The shorter buildings range from two to six stories tall. (Curbed Los Angeles, May 29, 2015)

The money flowing from developers Harridge and La Kretz to City Hall elected leaders, and the BACKROOM MEETINGS with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, ratchet up.

June 30, 2015: Marc Annotti of Harridge Development Group donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s Officeholder Account.

October 2015: Initial Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is released.

BACKROOM MEETING, November 2, 2015: Private meeting with O’Farrell Staff Christine Peters, O’Farrell deputy Chris Robertson, O’Farrell deputy Dan Halden with attorney Jerry Neuman.

BACKROOM MEETING November 10, 2015: Private meeting with O’Farrell Staff Chris Robertson, O’Farrell deputy Christine Peters, O’Farrell deputy Dan Halden with attorney Jerry Neuman.

November 12, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Bob Blumenfield’s campaign for City Council.

November 14, 2015 Public scoping meeting held, finally ALLOWING THE PUBLIC to see the skyscraper multi-tower plan.

December 23, 2015 James Hearn, an attorney at Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

December 23, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

December 30, 2015 James Hearn, an attorney at Harridge Development Group, donates $250 to Herb Wesson’s Officeholder Account.

December 30, 2015 Bradley Woomer of Harridge Development Groups donates $700 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

December 30, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

December 31, 2015 James D. Hearn, general counsel at Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

December 31, 2015 Bradley Woomer of Harridge Development Groups donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

December 31, 2015 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

August 5, 2016 James Hearn, an attorney at Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

August 5, 2016 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

August 5, 2016 Bradley Woomer of Harridge Development Groups donates $250 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

August 16, 2016 Harridge applies for “CEQA streamlining” to avoid complying with California Environmental Quality Act. Harridge also seeks Zone Change and Height District Change exemptions from the City Council to override the Community Plan and zoning in Hollywood.

August 26, 2016 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Joe Buscaino’s campaign for City Council.

August 26, 2016 Bradley Woomer of Harridge Development Groups donates $500 to Joe Buscaino’s campaign for City Council.

BACKROOM MEETING September 26, 2016 between Councilmember O’Farrell, O’Farrell’s deputy Amy Ablakat, O’Farrell’s deputy Christine Peters, O’Farrell’s deputy Dan Halden with Friends of Hollywood Central Park president Laurie Goldman, Harridge executive David Schwartzman, developer lobbyist Kyndra Casper

September 28, 2016 Marc Annotti of Harridge Development Group donates $100 to Karo Torossian’s campaign for City Council.

December 1, 2016 David Schwartzman, CEO of Harridge Development Group, donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

December 31, 2016 Gil Cedillo’s campaign returns $700 donation to David Schwartzman.

What Did the Crossroads Developers Get?

UPDATED, JAN. 2019: Harridge seeks — and L.A. elected and appointed officials agree — that the project should be rewarded a fast-track waiver around California’s CEQA environmental standards by calling the project an “Environmental Development Leadership Project.”

In 2018, in comments tinged with racial overtones, Mayor Garcetti’s appointees on the Planning Commission slam the mostly Latino community standing in the way of the skyscrapers. Garcetti Planning Commission appointee David Ambrose outrageously  describes the beloved garden apartments as “rough,” and “not worth preserving,” and Garcetti appointee Marc Mitchell dismisses this vibrant community as “dormant.” The Planning Commission approves razing the community for three skyscrapers.

On Tuesday Jan. 15, the Los Angeles City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee — missing two members now under investigation by the FBI – votes unanimously to waive the many rules and standards Harridge sought to get around. PLUM Committee member Gil Cedillo, who repeatedly took campaign cash from the developers, slams a room jammed with opponents of the project as “hysteria.”

The developer is awarded 22 liquor licenses, to turn a quiet community of working families and two schools into a Vegas-like scene of supergraphics, penthouses and bars. The project will destroy a community of 84 rent-protected homes, razing a core neighborhood of diversity and history in Hollywood.

The project goes next to final approval by the Los Angeles City Council, which is awash in donations from Harridge and La Kretz.

  1. Development name: 333 La Cienega, Developer Rick Caruso

This luxury tower would be 17 stories high, the tallest ever allowed in the Beverly Grove community at the intersection of San Vicente and La Cienega. Concerned Citizens of Beverly Hills/Beverly Grove sued the city for giving Caruso favorable treatment to override the zoning of the land. 

May 15, 2012 Rick Caruso donates $700 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

March 17, 2014 Rick Caruso donates $500 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

July 10, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING between Councilmember Paul Koretz, Rick Caruso, Koretz’s planning director Shawn Bayliss and Caruso vice-president Sam Garrison

November 3, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING between Councilmember Paul Koretz, Rick Caruso, planning director Shawn Bayliss and Caruso vice-president Sam Garrison

December 5, 2014 Rick Caruso donates $500 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

February 26, 2016 Scoping meeting held for the public to view and comment on project.

September 12, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING between Councilmember Paul Koretz, Rick Caruso, planning director Shawn Bayliss and Caruso vice-president Sam Garrison

What Did Developer Rick Caruso Get?

November 10, 2016 Los Angeles Planning Commission recommends approval of project with a General Plan amendment and Height District Change by a unanimous 7-0-2 vote (two commissioners missing).

Then, weeks later on December 28, 2016, David Zahniser at the Los Angeles Times unveils a stream of donations flowing to city officials from Rick Caruso, his family and associates:

“Real estate developer Rick Caruso has been a reliable benefactor at Los Angeles City Hall, giving donations big and small to the city’s politicians and their pet causes.

“Caruso, known for the Grove and other shopping destinations, has donated to all but one of the city’s 17 elected officials. His charitable foundation provided $125,000 to a nonprofit set up by Mayor Eric Garcetti. … Add in money from his employees and his family members, and Caruso-affiliated donors have provided more than $476,000 to the city’s elected officials and their initiatives over the past five years.

“Now, Caruso wants Garcetti and the council to approve a 20-story residential tower on La Cienega Boulevard, on a site where new buildings are currently limited to a height of 45 feet. Opponents of the project view Caruso’s donations with alarm, saying the steady stream of contributions has undermined their confidence in the city’s planning process.

“I’m sorry, but that’s a lot of money,” said Keith Nakata, a foe of the project who lives roughly five blocks from the site. “That is obviously something that the community cannot compete against.” Caruso’s residential tower is one of several real estate projects — some already approved, others still under consideration — to be reviewed at City Hall as six-figure contributions arrive from developers or donors with close ties to them. (Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2016)

December 29, 2016 Los Angeles Times reports that City Councilman Paul Koretz pulled support of the La Cienega project. Koretz later backs it after Caruso makes modest modifications to his proposal.

“Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, under fire from an opponent in the March election, said Thursday that he has pulled his support for a controversial 20-story residential tower proposed near the Beverly Center. Koretz, standing on La Cienega Boulevard near the project site, said he now thinks the planned apartment building is “too tall” — and wants real estate developer Rick Caruso to enter into additional talks with a homeowners group.

“I’m calling on Mr. Caruso to continue meeting with neighborhood representatives and to shrink the project until it is appropriate for the area,” said Koretz, who represents neighborhoods from the Westside north to Encino.

The announcement came a day after The Times reported that Caruso, his family members, his companies, his charity and his employees provided more than $476,000 over the past five years to L.A. city politicians and their pet causes. (Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2016)

What Did Developer Rick Caruso Get?

January 24, 2017 Los Angeles City Council approves the Caruso project including exemptions from L.A. zoning rules. Caruso is awarded a lucrative General Plan Amendment and a Height District Change by the LA City Council.

  1. Koreatown Skyscraper, Developer Michael Hakim/Colony Holdings

This luxury 30-story skyscraper would displace an extensive community of affordable housing in Koreatown. Two neighborhood groups sued to halt the city from approving the money-greased project.

July 14, 2006 Michael Hakim donated $500 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

August 1, 2007 Michael Hakim donated $500 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

October 8, 2009 Planning Commission recommends that City Council not adopt General Plan Amendments for this project because it is unsuitable for the area.

December 15, 2009 Department of City Planning disapproves of project, concurring with Planning Commission.

December 23, 2009 Mayor Villaraigosa agrees with the Planning Commission’s  disapproval of the skyscraper development plan.

February 12, 2010 Catalina Apartment is placed on the agenda for Los Angeles City Council’s powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) meeting on February 16, 2010.

February 16, 2010 through May 5, 2015 Catalina Apartments is “continued” at PLUM, holding the hotly disputed project in limbo.

December 15, 2010 Colony Holdings, LLC, operated by Michael Hakim, donated $500 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

June 6, 2012 BACKROOM MEETING between City Councilmember Herb Wesson’s deputy Andrew Westall, Wesson executive assistant Shawn Wallace, and Wesson deputy Elizabeth Carlin and the developer, Colony Holdings.

July 11, 2012 Wesson’s office holds BACKROOM MEETING described in documents as being with “Planning” officials, regarding the Michael Hakim/Colony Holdings project.

What Did Developer Hakim Get?

January 30, 2013: The media reports that the skyscraper plan is being “revived,” by city officials, this time 10 stories shorter and 23 units lighter.

CoStar News: “A developer is moving forward in an attempt to revive a proposed high- rise multifamily tower in the Wilshire District that was rejected by Los Angeles city planning officials in 2009.

Colony Holdings LLC, a group of investors headed by Mike Hakim, originally proposed a larger-scale 35-story mixed-use project with 270 units, ground retail and 663 parking spaces at a site on South Catalina Street south of W. 8th Street.

In late 2009, the Los Angeles Planning Commission rejected zoning changes for the project bounded by 805-833 South Catalina St., the 800 block of South Kenmore Avenue, and West 8th Street, concerned that the project was incompatible with the surrounding low- and mid-rise neighborhood of older homes and apartments.

The company re-submitted the project as a smaller 25-story, 227-unit tower, with 3,600 square feet of retail and 454 parking spaces, and a rooftop helipad, according to documents filed with the planning department. Colony Holdings officials outlined the project at the city Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting on Jan. 29. (CoStar News, January 30, 2013)

June 30, 2014 Colony Holdings, LLC, operated by Michael Hakim, donated $700 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

December 17, 2014 Grand opening of another project, Onyx Tower, is attended by Herb Wesson by invitation of Michael Hakim.

May 18, 2015 According to the Los Angeles Times, during this period, developer Hakim gives $1 million to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, enough to build 3 units of affordable housing. He also gives $250,000 to a public trust fund controlled by Councilman Herb Wesson.

What Did Developer Hakim Get?

April 15, 2015 Mayor Eric Garcetti issues a surprise letter to the Los Angeles City Council stating he disagrees with findings of the City Planning Commission against the skyscraper. In an exceedingly rare move, Garcetti overrides his political appointees on the Planning Commission, using his mayoral powers to approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for Hakim’s skyscraper.

Los Angeles Times reports: “But Mayor Eric Garcetti did something that surprised activists, housing advocates and planning wonks: He rejected a decision by a panel of his own appointees.

“Last month, Garcetti threw his support behind a controversial 27-story residential tower in Koreatown. He did so even though the people he put on the city Planning Commission unanimously rejected the apartment project, saying it would be too big for the surrounding neighborhood. On April 15, Garcetti notified the council he was disapproving his commissioners’ decision.

“The mayor’s action is the latest example of city leaders helping to boost the value of a piece of property via generous zoning changes or other deviations from city planning rules. It also may signal how Garcetti, who hopes to add 100,000 housing units in the city by 2021, will approach other development projects enmeshed in controversy. (Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2015)

June 15, 2015 Community Impact Statement submitted by Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council recommendsthat City Council not approve the project.

June 17, 2015 LA City Council, in a 10-0-5 vote (unanimous, with 5 missing council members), approves the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for Hakim’s skyscraper in Koreatown.

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2018: Two community groups sue the City of Los Angeles over this backroom deal, and a judge agrees, overturning on April 13, 2018 the approvals of the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The judge ordered an Environmental Impact Report. Mayor Garcetti had long insisted that NO environmental study was needed to put a skyscraper on a quiet, narrow, two-story, residential street. 

  1. Cumulus Skyscraper:  Carmel Partners of San Francisco

This 30-story luxury skyscraper with a massive 10-story complex around its base is proposed by Carmel Partners at the former site of KABC Radio. The project, far bigger and taller than anything allowed in the region, is sued by Crenshaw Subway Coalition and Friends of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative for violating the City Charter & California Environmental Quality Act.

November 3, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING between Councilmember Herb Wesson and Carmel Partners of San Francisco.

November 14, 2014 Michael Lahorgue, President of Carmel Partners, donates $700 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

November 14,2014 Christopher Bede, who works at Carmel Partners, donates $700.

November 14, 2014 Ron Zeff, Managing Partner at Carmel Partners, donates $700 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

December 23, 2014 Carmel Partners donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

February 5, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember Herb Wesson, Carmel Partners vice- president Neils Cotter and Carmel Partners founder Ron Zeff at Morton’s Steakhouse.

March 2015 Study published of the environmental impact of the Cumulus project.

December 15, 2015 Carmel Partners donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

December 29, 2015 Carmel Partners donates $700 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

December 31, 2015 Carmel Partners donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

January 25, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember Herb Wesson, his deputy Andrew Westall, his deputy Elizabeth Carlin, and Carmel Partners vice-president Neils Cotter.

April 4, 2016 L.A. Planning Commission, appointed by the mayor, issues a report on the development.

June 7, 2016 C City Council approves a General Plan Amendment, Zoning Change and Height Change – lucrative exemptions from the rules, for the developer.

June 30, 2016 Nicholas Zaharow who works at Carmel Partners donates $200 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

June 30, 2016 Carmel Partners donates $700 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

June 30, 2016 Carmel Partners donates $700 to Joe Buscaino’s campaign for City Council.

June 30, 2016 Nicholas Zaharov, who works at Carmel Partners, donates $700 to Bob Blumenfield’s campaign for City Council.

What Did the Developer Carmel Partners Get?

September 15, 2016 After the City Council approves the project, the financial transaction on the property is finalized. The deal, sweetened by the City Council’s major exemptions from LA’s zoning rules, closes for $111 million.

  1. The Reef Mega-Skyscraper: Developer Kanon Ventures

The Reef has been dubbed a Black Lung Loft, meaning freeway-adjacent housing where children are allowed to live, endangering their lungs for life. 

USC’s seminal Children’s Health Study has found that such buildings cause high levels of lifelong lung damage among children, and USC researchers have urged the City Council to reject such projects. http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-freeway-pollution and http://www.laweekly.com/news/black-lung-lofts-2164048.

May 3, 2013 Ava Bromberg, Kanon Ventures executive, donates $1,300 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

June 12, 2013 Ava Bromberg, Kanon Ventures executive, donates $1,000 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

June 4, 2014 Los Angeles Times Reports that Curren Price is “thrilled” about project coming to his City Council district.

“The neighborhood has the chance to evolve as a lower-cost alternative to downtown, where land costs are high, said Rob Katherman, head of planning and economic development for City Councilman Curren D. Price, who represents the 9th District where SoLA is proposed.

“Downtown has become very expensive. It’s no cheaper to live downtown in an apartment than it is on the Westside,” Katherman said. “I think this is a natural progression.”

The development proposal still has to pass through an approval process expected to last about three years that would include multiple public hearings. “There are certainly a lot of details that need to be worked out,” Katherman said, “and they need to get the community and stakeholders onboard.”

Still, the councilman’s office is “thrilled” at the prospect of such substantial privately funded development in the area, he said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to show what the future of downtown is going to be as it migrates southward.” (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2014)

July 15, 2014

BACKROOM MEETING between Councilmember Curren Price, Price’s deputy Rob Katherman, Price’s chief of staff Curtis Earnest, Price’s deputy James Westbrooks, and Kanon Ventures executive Ava Bromberg, The Reef project attorney Edgar Khalatian, and Marathon Communications developer lobbyist Richard Lichtenstein.

August 18, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING between Price’s chief of staff Curtis Earnest, Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy, and deputy James Westbrooks and Kanon Ventures executive Ava Bromberg.

October 7, 2014
BACKROOM MEETING between Councilmember Curren Price, deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and Kanon Ventures executive Ava Bromberg, attorney Edgar Khalatian, Marathon Communications lobbyist Richard Lichtenstein and LA Economic and Workforce Development Department’s Jenny Scanlin.

November 10, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING between Curren Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and Marathon Communications lobbyist Shelia Gonzaga and Kanon Ventures executive Ava Bromberg

March 31, 2015 Jon Vartan Hovsepian, managing director for Kanon Ventures, donates $1,400 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

April 14, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING between Curren Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and Rodolfo Monroy, Win Pham, Craig Bullock, Gregg Vandergriff, Planning Department’s Martiza Przekop, Taimour Tanavoli, Los Angeles city employee Ammar Eltawil, L.A. fire inspector John Dallas and attorney Edgar Khalatian

June 30, 2015 Ava Bromberg donates $250 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

September 2015 Draft Environmental Impact Report is released.

December 17, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING between Price’s chief of staff Curtis Earnest, Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and developer lobbyist Howard Sunkin.

June 8, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Price’s chief of staff Curtis Earnest, Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and attorney Edgar Khalatian.

June 30, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Price’s chief of staff Curtis Earnest, Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and attorney Edgar Khalatian, developer lobbyist Howard Sunkin, developer lobbyist from Marathon Communications Richard Lichtenstein, developer lobbyist from Marathon Communications Sheila Gonzaga and Kanon Ventures’ Will Cipes.

July 27, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Price’s chief of staff Curtis Earnest, Price’s deputy Paloma Perez-McEvoy and developer lobbyist Marathon Communications Richard Lichtenstein.

What Did the Developer Kanon Ventures Get?

August 11, 2016 Project approved at L.A. City Council Planning Committee meeting by a 5-3 vote.

November 22, 2016 Los Angeles City Council approves of Planning Committee report by a unanimous 12-0-3 vote (three council members absent).

Curbed LA reports: “Controversial plans to build a massive housing, hotel, and retail project with a skyscraper on a parking lot in South LA was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday.

“City leaders have said the development, called The Reef, has the potential to transform the neighborhood, which has been overlooked by developers until now. It may bring job opportunities and quality restaurants to a neglected area, but it has drawn fierce opposition over fears it will drive up living costs and displace thousands of residents.

Streetsblog LA offered this critique: While it sounds like “livability wet dream” it “caters to a well-heeled clientele;” it is “situated on the edge of a neighborhood that is both one of the poorest in the city and the most overcrowded in the entire country.”

Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price, who reps South LA, told the Los Angeles Times: “It is new … and we have not seen this in the 9th District or South Los Angeles and there’s certainly some uncertainty about it but definitely some excitement and enthusiasm.” (Curbed Los Angeles, November 22, 2016)

December 14, 2016 City Council approves a lucrative General Plan Amendment and Zone Change sought by the developer to exempt The Reef from L.A.’s zoning rules, and approves the development agreement, by a unanimous 12-0-3 vote (three council members are absent).

  1. 8150 Sunset Tower: Developer Townscape Partners

This 300,000 square foot megadevelopment at the foot of Laurel Canyon on Sunset Boulevard was approved by the Los Angeles City Council under a a process that did not recognize local height limits. The group Fix The City sued the project for violating environmental laws and LA Conservancy sued the City of Los Angeles for violating historic preservation laws to enrich the developer.

May 30, 2013 Townscape Management Inc donates $1,000 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

August 2, 2013 Townscape Management Inc donates $500 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

June 26, 2014 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $700 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

August 6, 2014 Townscape Management Inc donates $1,000 to Eric Garcetti’s Officeholder Account.

November 14, 2014 Townscape Management Inc donates $700 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

February 25, 2015 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $500 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council. (Ramsay is Council member Tom LaBonge’s chief of staff.)

March 26, 2015 Tyler Siegel, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $700 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

December 26, 2015 Tyler Siegel of Townscape Partners donates $500 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

December 30, 2015 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $500 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

January 4, 2016 Mitch O’Farrell returns the $500 contribution from Tyler Siegel.

January 20, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Council member David Ryu, Ryu’s senior planning deputy Renee Weitzer and, Ryu’s chief of staff Sarah Dusseault and Townscape lobbyist from Marathon Communications Richard Lichtenstein, Marathon Communications Gabe Kramer, Townscape founder Tyler Siegel, Townscape founder John Irwin, lobbyist Wendy Mitchell, Mok Wan and Annand Devarajan of Frank Gehry Parnters about EIR Comments and discuss outreach efforts and project process timeline.

June 17, 2016 Marathon Communication lobbyist Richard Lichtenstein has BACKROOM MEETING with Ryu chief of staff Sarah Dusseault and Ryu deputy Julia Duncan.

June 22, 2016 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $700 to Karo Torossian’s campaign for City Council.

June 22, 2016 Tyler Siegel of Townscape Partners donates $700 to Karo Torossian’s campaign for City Council.

June 28, 2016 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $700 to Joe Buscaino’s campaign for City Council.

June 30, 2016 Townscape Management Inc donates $700 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

June 30, 2016 Tyler Siegel of Townscape Management Partners donates $700 to Felipe Fuentes’s Officeholder Account.

June 30, 2016 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $700 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

June 30, 2016 Tyler Siegel of Townscape Management Partners donates $700 to Joe Buscaino’s campaign for City Council.

July 22, 2016 David Ryu’s staff hold a follow-up BACKROOM MEETING with developer lobbyist Richard Lichtenstein.

August 11, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Council Member David Ryu, his deputy Julia Duncan and his chief of staff Sarah Dusseault with developer Townscape Partners

What Did Developer Townscape Partners Get?

October 25, 2016 Planning Committee approves of “reduced” size development.

Los Angeles Times reports: “A mixed-use project that would anchor the eastern edge of the Sunset Strip received preliminary approval Tuesday night after developers

agreed to a number of compromises, including a request to reduce the size of a proposed 15-story tower. The Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted unanimously to approve the Frank Gehry-designed residential and commercial complex at Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards. The committee delayed a vote on whether to preserve Lytton Savings, a 1960 bank building designed by architect Kurt Meyer on the project site.

“The Los Angeles City Council is expected to sign off on the development next week. The project at 8150 Sunset Blvd. includes two residential towers with a total of 229 units, including 38 for low-income residents; 65,000 square feet of commercial space; and a pedestrian plaza. (Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2016)

November 1, 2016 Los Angeles City Council approves Townscape Partners’ 8150 Sunset by unanimous vote. 

“The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a mixed-use development designed by Frank Gehry that will anchor the eastern edge of the Sunset Strip. The relatively swift approval of the project Tuesday was a contrast to last week’s three-hour discussion on the famed architect’s design for 8150 Sunset Blvd. (Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2016)

November 15, 2016 John Irwin, an executive of Townscape Management Partners, donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

November 16, 2016 Tyler Siegel of Townscape Management Partners donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s Officeholder Account.

December 2016 The Los Angeles Conservancy and the group Fix the City, which fights for updated infrastructure, environmental safeguards and other key problems created by major development, sues the City of Los Angeles for failing to comply with CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

  1. Sunset Palladium Tower: Miami Developer Crescent Heights

These dual skyscrapers, proposed at the corner of Sunset and Argyle at the location of the famed Palladium concert hall, were approved with height and density exemptions to override local zoning. AIDS Healthcare Foundation is suing the city for violating the City Charter and the California Environmental Quality Act.

December 27, 2012 Sonny Khan of Miami, an executive at Crescent Heights Employment Services, LLC donates $700 to Alexander Cruz de Ocampo’s campaign for City Council.

December 28, 2012 Crescent Heights donates $700 to Matt Szabo’s campaign for City Council.

February 15, 2013 Casey Max Klein, a managing director at Crescent Heights of America, donates $700 to Matt Szabo’s campaign for City Council.

February 19, 2013 Casey Max Klein, a managing director at Crescent Heights of America, donates $700 to Alexander Cruz de Ocampo’s campaign for City Council.

April 30, 2013 Sonny Kahn, the CEO of Crescent Heights, donates $1,300 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

June 19, 2013 Russell Galbut, co-founder of Crescent Heights donates $700 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

November 6, 2013 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and O’Farrell deputy Marie Rumsey and lobbyist Steve Afriat, Crescent Heights executive Bruce Menin and developer lobbyist Aaron Green

June 24, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember O’Farrell, deputy Marie Rumsey, O’Farrell deputy Gary Benjamin and O’Farrell deputy Dan Halden and lobbyist Steve Afriat, Crescent Heights executive Bruce Menin, lobbyist Aaron Green, Crescent Heights attorney Cindy Starrett and Crescent Heights executive Adam Tartakovsky

January 20, 2015 CH Palladium, LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Heights, donates $700 to Wally Knox’s campaign for City Council.

January 21, 2015 CH Palladium, LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Heights, donates $700 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

February 2, 2015 CH Palladium, LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Heights, donates $700 to Joan Pelico’s campaign for City Council.

February 4, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember O’Farrell, O’Farrell deputy Jeanne Min, O’Farrell deputy Gary Benjamin and O’Farrell deputy Christine Peters and Crescent Heights exec. Bruce Menin, lobbyist Steve Afriat and lobbyist Aaron Green

February 6, 2015 Joan Pelico’s campaign returns the $700 contribution from CH Palladium.

February 10, 2015 Sonny Kahn, developer at Crescent Heights, donated $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

February 11, 2015 CH Palladium, LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Heights, donates $700 to Joan Pelico’s campaign for City Council.

March 25, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember O’Farrell, O’Farrell deputy Jeanne Min, O’Farrell deputy Gary Benjamin, and O’Farrell deputy Dan Halden and lobbyist Aaron Green and lobbyist Steve Afriat

April 27, 2015 CH Palladium, LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Heights, donates $700 to City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo’s Officeholder Account.

June 25, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember O’Farrell, O’Farrell deputy Jeanne Min, O’Farrell deputy Gary Benjamin, O’Farrell deputy Dan Halden and O’Farrell deputy Marisol Rodriguez and Crescent Heights executive Bruce Menin, Crescent Heights executive Adam Tartakovsky, Crescent Heights executive Elliot Kahn, developer lobbyist Steve Afriat and developer lobbyist Aaron Green

October 21, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with O’Farrell Staffer Chris Robertson and lobbyist Aaron Green

October 27, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember O’Farrell, O’Farrell deputy Jeanne Min and O’Farrell deputy Chris Robertson and Crescent Heights executive Bruce Menin, Crescent Heights executive Adam Tartakovsky, developer John Kilroy of Kilroy Realty and Kilroy Realty exec. David Simon.

What Did Developer Crescent Heights Get?

November 19, 2015 Los Angeles Planning Commission certified and adopted Environmental Impact Report and approved a General Plan Amendment to dramatically alter the land use, by a unanimous 7-0 vote.

December 10, 2015 Los Angeles Planning Commission approves Palladium development.

Los Angeles Times report: The Los Angeles City Planning Commission on Thursday backed a proposal for two 30-story residential towers in Hollywood, despite a challenge from the nonprofit group next door.

Commissioners praised the proposed Palladium Residences, saying the 731-unit project would provide much needed housing on a stretch of Sunset Boulevard served by bus routes and the nearby Metro Red Line subway.

“That housing should be near public transportation, and this is the perfect place for it,” said commissioner Dana Perlman. (Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2015)

January 19, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember O’Farrell, O’Farrell deputy Jeanne Min and O’Farrell deputy Chris Robertson and Crescent Heights executive Bruce Menin and lobbyist Steve Afriat

What Did Developer Crescent Heights Get?

February 2, 2016 Los Angeles City Planning Commission submits their findings, recommending amendments to Los Angeles General Plan to ignore the existing zonning and certifying the Environmental Impact Report.

March 2, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with O’Farrell Staffer Chris Robertson and developer lobbyist Aaron Green

What Did Developer Crescent Heights Get?

March 22, 2016 Los Angeles City Council unanimously approves Zone Change and Height District change by a unanimous 12-0-3 vote, overriding the existing zoning on the land.

March 23, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with O’Farrell Staffer Chris Robertson and lobbyist Aaron Green

 

  1. NoHo West: Merlone Geier & Goldstein Planning Investments (GPI)

The NoHo West luxury housing/mall is known as a Black Lung Loft, freeway-adjacent housing that allows children to reside there. USC’s Children’s Health Study has found these developments cause high levels of lifelong lung damage in children, and USC researchers have testified before the City Council to stop encouraging and granting favors to the developers of Black Lung Lofts. Los Angeles Weekly coins the phrase “black lung lofts in its cover investigation, followed a few years later by the  Los Angeles Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-freeway-pollution/).  This project will allow massive digital billboards that can been seen up to four miles away, and will shine through the curtains of households far from the mall itself. Community groups strenuously fought to stop it.

April 31, 2014 Cliff Goldstein, the founder and managing partner of Goldstein Planning Investment Companies, gives $700 to Mitch Englander’s campaign for City Council.

May 29, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING with Krekorian Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian and Cliff Goldstein of GPI Companies.

June 3, 2014 Clifford Goldstein, founder and managing partner of GPI Companies, donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

June 3, 2014 Lee Wagman, a partner at Goldstein Planning Investment Companies, donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

July 28, 2014 Councilmember Paul Krekorian agrees to a private meeting with developers that includes the neighbors: Laurel Grove neighborhood leader Diann Corral who opposes the size and density of the proposed luxury housing/mall complex, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian, Ken and Barbe, GPI exec. Clifford Goldstein, Mike Grehl attend.

October 30, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING with Claire Bronowski, Chad Doi, Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Gregg Vandergriff, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Kit Awakuni, Nicholas Hendricks, Robert Duff, Simon Pastucha, GPI exec. Clifford Goldstein, Jameson Lee, Mike Grehl and Lincoln Lee.

December 12, 2014 T.R. Gregory, a partner at GPI Companies, gives $250 to Carolyn Ramsay’s City Council campaign.

December 12 2014 Barbara Wagman, a partner at GPI Companies, gives $250 to Carolyn Ramsay’s City Council campaign.

December 17, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING with Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian and lobbyist Ira Handelman

December 31, 2014 C. Drew Planting, a managing partner at GPI Companies, gives $500 to Carolyn Ramsay’s campaign for City Council.

January 14, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, and GPI executives Clifford Goldstein and Mike Grehl.

January 15, 2015 Krekorian again agrees to include neighbors in a private meeting that includes Arlene Simon, neighborhood activist Diann Corral, Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, lobbyist Ira Handelman, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Mike Grehl, Susan Ware, and GPI executive Clifford Goldstein

January 16, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, GPI exec. Clifford Goldstein, Mike Grehl, Ernesto Hidalgo, lobbyist Ira Handelman, Sam Sonarch, Terri Foster and Mary Garcia.

April 30, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with lobbyist Ira Handelman, Merlone Geier exec. Scott McPherson, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian and CD2 Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian.

June 26, 2015 Lee Wagman of GPI Companies gives $1,400 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

June 30, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Lobbyist Ira Handelman, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Ian Thompson.

June 30, 2015 Jonathan Lischke of GPI Companies donates $1,400 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

July 30, 2015 Renderings are finally publicly revealed for NoHo West.

Urbanize LA reports: Architectural renderings have emerged for NoHo West, a proposed development which would transform North Hollywood’s 25-acre Laurel Plaza shopping center into a mixed-use community.

“The project – which is being developed by a joint venture between Goldstein Planting Investments and Merlone Geier Partners – would include a series of low-rise structures featuring apartments, retail and commercial office space.

“The commercial heart of NoHo West would be Laurel Plaza Drive, a main street slicing diagonally through the development site. Images displayed on the project’s official website portray a four-block pedestrian paseo, lined with trees and flanked by shops and restaurants. An elliptical plaza would sit at the mid-point of the paseo, offering water features, landscaping and outdoor seating.

“According to plans filed with the City of Los Angeles, the project would include include 190,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, as well as a gym, a supermarket and a cinema multiplex. These uses would be served by approximately 2,600 parking spaces, to be located in an eight-story structure abutting the 170 Freeway. (urbanize.LA, July 30, 3015)

July 31, 2015 C. Drew Planting, a managing partner at GPI Companies, gives $1,400 to Mitch O’Farrell’s Legal Defense Fund Account.

July 31, 2015Clifford Goldstein, founder and managing partner of GPI Companies gives $1,400 to Mitch O’Farrell’s Legal Defense Fund.

August 18, 2015 A huge BACKROOM MEETING dubbed a “Major Development Services Meeting” involving dozens of City Employees working to pave the way for the project.

This closed-door meeting included Ara Sargsyan, Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Building at City of Los Angeles; Ashley Atkinson, Planning and Housing specialist, Mayor’s office of economic development; Bob Stone, Advisor to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development at City of Los Angeles; Carl Mills, Charlie Rausch, Associate Zoning Administrator and Manager of Major Project Section at City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning; Colin Kumabe, Sr. Structural Engineer at City of Los Angeles; Estineh Mailian, Senior City Planner at City of Los Angeles; Frank Bush, General Manager of the L.A. Department of Building and Safety; Hani Malki, Ifa Kashefi, Joel Jacinto, Commissioner at Los Angeles Board of Public Works; Karo Torossian, Kevin Keller, Deputy Director, Los Angeles Department of City Planning ;Larry Galstian, Assistant Bureau Chief at City of Los Angeles; Millena Zasadzien, City Planner at City of Los Angeles; Nicholas Marichich, Director of Planning Policy and Development at Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Osama Younan, Division Chief at City of Los Angeles; Peter Kim, Senior Structural Engineer at City of Los Angeles, Department of Building and Safety; Regine Osorio, Student Worker at City of Los Angeles Building and Safety; Shahen Akelyan, Verej Janoyan, Wesley Tabijiri, Chen-Yu Kuo, Greg Spotts, Assistant Director, Bureau of Street Services at City of Los Angeles; John Vidovich, Deputy Chief – Fire Marshal at Los Angeles Fire Department; John Weight, Pascal Challita, Raymond Chan, General manager of Dept. of Building and Safety; Seleta Reynolds, Vince Bertoni, Ed Ebrahimian, General Manager/Director Bureau of Street Lighting at City of Los Angeles; Marvin Moon, Nazario Sauceda.

August 20, 2015 Lee Wagman of GPI Companies gives $700 to Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s Officeholder Account.

September 3, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with lobbyist Ira Handelman, Merlone Geier executive Scott McPherson, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian and Krekorian Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian.

December 12, 2015 Jonathan Lischke of GPI Companies gives $700 to Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

December 14, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with GPI executive Cliff Goldstein, Merlone Geier executive Scott McPherson, Krekorian Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian and Councilmember Paul Krekorian.

December 18, 2015 Clifford Goldstein, founder and managing partner of GPI Companies, gives $700 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

December 22, 2015 C. Drew Planting, a managing partner at GPI Companies, gives $700 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

January 12, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Claire Bronowski, Chirs Joseph, David Geiser, Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman, Jauld- altoonpartners, Jacqueline Murphy, Jose Sanchez, Lisa Webber, Milena Zasadzien, Matthew Stone, Nicholas Hendricks, Merlone Geier exec. Scott McPherson, Stacie Henderson.

January 22, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Merlone Geier Scott McPherson, GPI exec. Cliff Goldstein, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Krekorian Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian and Councilmember Paul Krekorian.

March 8, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Merlone Geier exec. Scott McPherson and CD2 Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian.

July 7, 2016 Private meeting with neighborhood activist opposing the project, Diann Corral, and Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Krekorian deputy Doug Mensman and CD2 Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian.

July 7, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with CD deputy Karo Torossian, lobbyist Ira Handelman and Stephen Logan.

August 4, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Merlone Geier exec. Scott McPherson, Stephen Logan, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian, Krekorian Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian and Councilmember Paul Krekorian

September 1, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Merlone Geier exec. Scott McPherson, Krekorian deputy Karo Torossian and Krekorian Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian.

What Did Developer Merlone Geier & GPI Get?

September 22, 2016 Los Angeles Daily News Report:

Los Angeles Planning Commission approves proposal for NoHo West. Paul Krekorian spoke in favor of the development at the hearing. They recommended to the City Council that Zone Change and Height Change be adopted to override existing zoning on the land.

“The Los Angeles Planning Commission on Thursday backed a proposal for NoHo West, a residential and commercial development planned on the site of the old Laurel Plaza shopping center and soon-to-be-shuttered Macy’s in North Hollywood.

“If approved by the city, NoHo West would bring 642 rental housing units, 256,000 square feet of office and retail use, and 316,000 square feet of new commercial development, including a cinema, to the 25-acre site.

The development — at the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Oxnard Street — is a joint venture between Merlone Geier Partners and GPI Co.

Los Angeles Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents North Hollywood, spoke in favor of NoHo West at Thursday’s hearing. He also sent a letter to the commission last week, calling the development “a shot of adrenaline to the area by delivering retail and entertainment facilities for the community.” (Los Angeles Daily News, September 22, 2016)

September 25, 2016 Councilmember Paul Krekorian writes letter in support of project.

December 12, 2016 C. Drew Planting, a managing partner at GPI Companies, gives $560 to Mitch O’Farrell’s Officeholder Account.

What Did the Developer GPI Get?

December 14, 2016 Los Angeles City Council by a unanimous 14-0 vote approves it by implementing zone and height changes recommended by the Planning Commission.

  1. Clarendon Luxury Complex: Developer AMCAL

(Clarendon is known as a Black Lung Loft—freeway-adjacent housing that allows children to reside there. USC’s seminal Children’s Health Study has found these developments result in high levels of lifelong lung damage among children, and USC researchers have testified before the City Council to end their practice of encouraging and granting favors to the developers of Black Lung Lofts.  Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-freeway-pollution/)

August 29, 2005 AMCAL General Contractor’s Inc donates $500 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

December 4, 2008 AMCAL Multi-Housing Corp donates $500 to Herb Wesson’s campaign for City Council.

February 17, 2009 AMCAL Multi-Housing Corp donates $500 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for City Council.

December 23, 2010AMCAL General Contractors, Inc donates $500 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

December 13, 2011 AMCAL Multi-Housing Corp donates $1,000 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

March 12, 2012 Percival Vaz, the CEO of AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc, donates $500 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

May 1, 2012 Maurice Ramirez, a developer of AMCAL Housing, donates $1,000 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

April 4, 2013 J. Maurice Ramirez, executive vice president of AMCAL Housing, donates $200 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

April 9, 2013 Percy Vaz, CEO of AMCAL Multi-Housing, donates $500 to Nury Martinez’s campaign for City Council.

April 16, 2013 Maurice Ramirez, executive vice president of AMCAL Housing, donates $250 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

May 7, 2013 Maurice Ramirez, executive vice president of AMCAL Housing, donates $250 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

May 11, 2013 Maurice Ramirez, executive vice president of AMCAL Housing, donates $250 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

May 13, 2013 J. Maurice Ramirez, a developer at AMCAL Multi-Housing, donates $100 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

April 22, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Bob Blumenfeld’s City Council District 3 deputy Cesar Diaz, CD 3 deputy Andrew Pennington, Darin Hansen of AMCAL, Eric Leiberman of QES, Inc.

June 5, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Blumenfeld’s deputy Andrew Pennington, CD 3 deputy Cesar Diaz, Darin Hansen of AMCAL and Eric Leiberman of QES, Inc.

June 22, 2015 AMCAL Multi-Housing Corp donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

September 3, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Blumenfeld deputy Andrew Pennington, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, and Percy Vaz of AMCAL.

November 12, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with CD 3 deputy Andrew Pennington, Darin Hansen of AMCAL and Eric Leiberman of QES, Inc.

April 5, 2016 AMCAL Multi-Housing LLC donates $500 to Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s campaign for City Council.

June 2, 2016 Draft Environmental Impact Report published on project.

Urbanize LA reports: “A draft environmental impact report published by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning has revealed AMCAL Multi Housing Company’s proposal for a new apartment complex on the site of the Woodland Hills Post Office.

The proposed Clarendon Street Apartments, slated for a 4.2-acre site at 22055-22147 Clarendon Street, would consist of a five-story building features 335 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, in addition to enclosed parking accommodations for 564 vehicles and 369 bicycles. Plans also call for a variety of open space amenities, including three courtyards, a fitness center, a dog park and a club room. (urbanize.LA, June 9, 2016)

July 1, 2016 Maurice Ramirez, a developer at AMCAL, donates $250 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

July 21, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Blumenfeld deputy Andrew Pennington, Abraham Mercado of Consensus Inc, Eric Leiberman of QES, Inc, Darin Hansen of AMCAL, Josh Gertler of Consensus Inc.

November 17, 2016 Los Angeles Planning Commission recommends making height and zoning change that ignore local zoning and create a lucrative development project.

January 20, 2017 Project referred to Planning and Land Use Management Committee by City Council.

What Did the Developer Get?

March 3, 2017 LA City Council approves the project with lucrative zone and height change exemptions that ignore the local Specific Plan and Community Plan.

 

  1. Martin Expo Town Center: Developer Martin Automotive

Owners of Martin Cadillac at Bundy and Olympic are trying to build a 10-story luxury housing office tower megadevelopment of 807,200 square feet. The group Westsiders Opposed to Overdevelopment sues the City for failing to address the project’s significant traffic impacts and environmental impacts.

June 4, 2012 Martin Automotive Group donates $700 to Bill Rosendahl’s campaign for City Council.

November 27, 2012 Martin Automotive Group donates $500 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

January 29, 2013 BACKROOM MEETING between Bonin Councilmember Mike Bonin with Jaime Rojas and lobbyist Steven Afriat about Martin Cadillac.

June 6, 2013 Martin Automotive Group donates $500 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

August 21, 2013 BACKROOM MEETING with lobbyist Steve Afriat, Noel Fleming, Mike Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Mike Bonin chief of staff Chad Molnar.

December 5, 2013 BACKROOM MEETING “Martin Expo Town Center Design Meeting” with Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, LA City Planner Luciralia Ibarra, lobbyist Phil Simmons, Simon Pastucha and Tom Hsieh.

September 5, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING at Los Angeles City Planning Department with Chris Robertson, J Miller, lobbyist Philip Simmons, Simon Pastucha, Tom Hsieh and Mike Bonin deputy Tricia Keane.

October 23, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING between developers and Chris Robertson, Bonin deputy Claudia Luna and Bonin deputy Tricia Keane.

November 2014 Draft Environmental Impact Report published.

November 19, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING Martin Expo Town Center Meeting with Chris Robertson, Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Bonin deputy Paul Backstrom.

January 21, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Bonin staff and lobbyists Steve Afriat and Aaron Green.

September 17, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with lobbyist Steve Afriat, Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, Chris Robertson and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

December 2015 Final Environmental Impact Report published for the project.

February 9, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

April 13, 2016 Martin Automotive Group donates $300 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

April 18, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, Bonin deputy Ezra Gale, Dave Bantz, lobbyist Phil Simmons and Tom Perkins on METC design.

April 20, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING between Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, Bonin deputy Ezra Gale, Bonin deputy Marietta Torriente, lobbyist Steve Afriat and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

May 4, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING between lobbyist Joel Miller and Bonin deputy Tricia Keane.

May 10, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING between Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

May 11, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between lobbyist Steve Afriat and Bonin deputy Tricia Keane.

May 13, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin, Bonin deputy Tricia Kean, and land-use attorney Alex DeGood.

May 17, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin and lobbyist Philip Simmons.

May 20, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin.

May 24, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin

May 25, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, attorney Alex DeGood and Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin.

What Did Developer Martin Cadillac Get?

May 26, 2016 Mayor Garcetti’s appointees on the Los Angeles City Planning Commission approve by an 8-0-1 unanimous vote, 1 absent, to throw out the area’s Community Plan, approving a General Plan amendment, a vesting zone change and a Height District change that override existing zoning. It recommends action to the City Council.

May 27, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin.

May 28, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between lobbyist Steve Afriat, Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin and Bonin Chief of Staff Chad Molnar.

June 8, 2016 Private “Signal Discussion” with attorney Alex DeGood, Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin, Tom Gaul and Bonin deputy Tricia Keane.

June 30, 2016 PRIVATE CALL between lobbyist Steve Afriat and Bonin deputy Tricia Keane.

July 15, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Bonin deputy Ezra Gale, Aaron (No last name given, probably lobbyist Aaron Green), Len Nguyen, Don Swiers and a redacted name.

August 3, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with lobbyist Steve Afriat, Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Bonin Chief of Staff Chad Molnar.

August 12, 2016 Private meeting between developers and neighborhood opponents: Aaron (No last name, probably lobbyist Aaron Green), Bonin deputy Ezra Gale, Len Nguyen, neighborhood activist Xochitl Gonzalez and a redacted name.

August 15, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING meeting with Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin and likely L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin.

August 22, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Bonin deputy Tricia Keane and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

What did Developer Martin Cadillac Get?

September 20, 2016 The Los Angeles City Council, by a 12-0-3 vote, unanimously approves a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change, overriding existing zoning for the land.

September 21, 2016 Private conference call with Bonin deputy Tricia Keane, attorney Alex DeGood, lobbyist Phil Simmons, Sharon Dickinson of PLUM.

September 30, 2016 Mayor Garcetti transmits his approval of council action.

October 17, 2016 Martin Automotive Group donates $250 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

 

  1. Alexan 27-Story Skyscraper: Developer Trammell Crow

This luxury tower in DTLA will obliterate most viewpoints Angelenos have of the historic 1930s Art Deco Eastern Columbia Building, a famed L.A. landmark. Historic preservationists fought hard against the project.

October 10, 2010 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Paul Krekorian’s campaign for City Council.

October 11, 2011 Brad Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Eric Garcetti’s Officeholder Account.

December 8, 2011 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Bill Rosendahl’s campaign for City Council.

September 24, 2012 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor.

October 14, 2012 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $700 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

December 22, 2012 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Bob Blumenfield’s campaign for City Council.

August 26, 2013 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $700 to Nury Martinez’s campaign for City Council.

November 13, 2013 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

July 31, 2014 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

April 22, 2015 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s campaign for City Council.

August 5, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Council member Jose Huizar, CD 14 deputy Kevin Ocubillo with lobbyist Morrie Goldman and Trammell Crow Residential

September 10, 2015 E. Garth Erdossy, a real estate developer at Trammell Crow Residential, donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

October 23, 2015 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Curren Price’s campaign for City Council.

October 28, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with lobbyist Morrie Goldman and CD 14 staffers Clare Eberle and Shawn Kuk, and CD 14 chief of staff Paul Habib.

November 17, 2015 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $700 to Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s Officeholder Account.

December 9, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Huizar deputy Clare Eberle, Estela Lopez, John Readey of Trammell Crow, Kelly Farrell of Callison RTKL, Huizar chief of  staff Paul Habib, Sara Hernandez and Huizar deputy Shawn Kuk

February 2, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING Private meeting with Huizar deputy Shawn Kuk, Alex Irvine and John Ready of Trammel Crow.

March 13, 2016 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Bob Blumenfield’s campaign for City Council.

March 22, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember Jose Huizar, his deputy Shawn Kuk and Trammell Crow Residential.

May 1, 2016 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Mitch O’Farrell’s campaign for City Council.

June 29, 2016 BACKROOM MEETING with Huizar deputy Paul Habib, Huiza deputy Shawn Kuk, Martin Schlageter and John Readey of Trammell Crow.

June 30, 2016 Bradley Cox, a real estate investor at Trammell Crow Company, donates $500 to Paul Koretz’s campaign for City Council.

October 12, 2016: Media Reports surface of a DTLA neighborhood group hiring Robert Silverstein, an attorney renowned for halting illegal development projects.

“The battle over a tower proposed right next to the Eastern Columbia Lofts, the majestic turquoise Art Deco building in Downtown Los Angeles, is heating up, and the tower’s opponents have an ace up their sleeve: Robert Silverstein, the Pasadena attorney best known for bringing construction on the East Hollywood Target to a halt.

Silverstein is representing a group of Downtown residents in their appeal of the city planning department’s approval of the tower. Called the Alexan, it would rise 27 stories from a parking lot at the corner of 9th and Hill. That’s tall enough to block views of the Eastern Columbia’s iconic clock tower, and opponents, who have organized under the name Society for the Preservation of Downtown Los Angeles, say the new structure just doesn’t jive with the neighborhood’s character. (Curbed Los Angeles, October 12, 2016)

What Did Developer Trammell Crow Get?

October 25, 2016 Central Area Planning Commission rules that the project does not need an Environmental Impact Report to move forward.

December 12, 2016 E. Garth Erdossy, a real estate developer at Trammell Crow Residential, donates $700 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

  1. Ferrante Complex: Developer Geoff Palmer

Ferrante is a Black Lung Loft—freeway-adjacent new housing that allows children to reside there. USC’s seminal Children’s Health Study has found these developments result in lifelong lung damage among children, and USC researchers have testified to the City Council to end their practice of encouraging and granting favors to Black Lung Lofts. Los Angeles Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-freeway- pollution/)L.A. Weekly: http://www.laweekly.com/news/)

March 9, 2006 Geoff Palmer, owner of GH Palmer Associates, donates $500 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

September 23, 2010 Geoff Palmer, owner of GH Palmer Associates, donates $500 to Jose Huizar’s campaign for City Council.

March 19, 2014 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilman Gil Cedillo’s deputy Gerald Gubatan and GH Palmer Associates vice- president Darrel Malamut

April 23, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Cedillo’s deputy Gerald Gubatan, GH Palmer Associates exec. Darrel Malamut, Blake Lamb, Jennifer Karmels, Sergio Infanzon.

November 10, 2015 Geoff Palmer, owner of GH Palmer Associates, donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s campaign for City Council.

November 19, 2015 BACKROOM MEETING with Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Cedillo’s senior planning deputy Gerald Gubatan, GH Palmer Associates senior vice-president Darrel Malamut.

February 4, 2016 Geoff Palmer, owner of GH Palmer Associates, donates $700 to Mike Bonin’s campaign for City Council.

March 29, 2016 Initial study released on project.

June 6, 2016 PRIVATE LUNCH between Councilmember Gil Cedillo, senior planning deputy Gerald Gubatan and Geoff Palmer at Central Kitchen at The Lorenzo.

June 30, 2016 PRIVATE MEETING at Checkers Hilton Restaurant in DTLA with Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Cedillo’s chief of staff Arturo Chavez, senior planning deputy Gerald Gubatan and GH Palmer vice-president Darrel Malamut.

June 30, 2016 Geoff Palmer, owner of GH Palmer Associates, donates $700 to Gil Cedillo’s Officeholder Account.

 

Q:  How Much Money Was Spent by the 12 Developers Who Were Rewarded these Lucrative Exemptions from Planning and Environmental Laws?

A:  TOTAL INFLUENCING: $11.1 MILLION

Rick Caruso: 2000-2016 $418,000 in campaign and lobbying cash

Michael Hakim and Colony Holdings: 2005-2015 $1.2 million in campaign, lobbying, and City Hall trust fund cash

Carmel Partners: 2013-2016 $545,476 in campaign and lobbying cash

Kanon Ventures: 2001-2015 $369,775 in campaign and lobbying cash

Townscape Partners: 2013-2016 $832,370 in campaign and lobbying cash

Crescent Heights: 2000-2016 $2.6 million in campaign and lobbying cash

Crossroads, Mort La Kretz and Harridge Development: 2004-2016 $1 million in campaign and lobbying cash

Merlone Geier and Goldstein Planting Investments: 2008-2015 $428,431 in campaign and lobbying cash

AMCAL: 2000-2016 $245,577 in campaign contributions and lobbying cash

Martin Automotive Group: 2012-2016 $762,771 in campaign and lobbying cash

Trammell Crow: 2000-2016 $1.9 million in campaign and lobbying cash

Geoff Palmer: 1999-2016 $886,599 in campaign and lobbying cash

 

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