Pay for Play, Vote Trading: Did Garcetti Want the Huizars Gone?

ONE MAN’S OPINION-If the FBI were standing on the Santa Monica pier, it couldn’t find the Pacific Ocean.

A search warrant is necessary to see if Raymond Chan violated the law? He already admitted that together with his son, he broke campaign finance laws by giving Garcetti about $6,500 while pretending the contribution was coming from his son, who worked for the law firm which represented The Hollywood Millennium Earthquake Towers. Coincidentally, Raymond Chan had determined that earthquake towers did not have a problem with the Hollywood Earthquake Fault line. Note my CityWatch article in November 2016. 

When Is a Search Warrant Not a Search Warrant? 

Hint to FBI: When the target has publicly admitted to criminal behavior, you do not need a search warrant. Oh, the search warrant is not designed to obtain admissible evidence but to exclude admissible evidence. 

When a case goes to trial, the court confines its eyesight to the evidence the prosecution brings. (Defense evidence can be excluded under Evidence Code §352) A search warrant that is limited to communications between Chan and Huizar for DTLA projects involving the Chinese excludes all the earlier Hollywood corruption between Chan, Garcetti, and Philip E. Aarons. Wasn’t it about the $430,000 the Millennium Partners spread around City Hall the quarter before City Council’s unanimous approval of the earthquake towers?   

The Cesspool on Vine 

As CityWatch and Ron Kaye extensively reported, Garcetti was eyeball deep in corruption with the CRA 1601 N. Vine Project with his fall guy Hal Katersky. A lot of people sent the FBI all the data on Garcetti, Katersky, Ullman, Culver Studios. Did the Obama Doctrine of “Too Important to Prosecute” extend to Los Angeles, or can’t the FBI read? While the criminal statute of limitations on the Cesspool on Vine has run out, when one runs for President all kinds of skeletons jump out of all sorts closets. 

The FBI needed no search warrant for the Cesspool on Vine as it already had the incriminating evidence up to and including the unanimous City Council approval that violated Penal Code § 86. 

About that time there was the 6200 Boulevard Project just east of the Pantages. As the developer who sold out and went back to NYC was not keen about discussing the extortion he faced, the FBI might have had to use a warrant for that case. 

Juri Ripinksy, Paseo Plaza Project and CIM Group 

If Donald Trump had a major fundraiser who was already a felon and had served two years in Leavenworth for bank and real estate fraud, even the Trumpists would have raised eyebrows.  Despite his criminal record, Garcetti not only let the felon Juri Ripinksy be a major fundraiser, but also managed to get Ripinsky unanimous City Council approval for his Paseo Project at the site of the old Sears Store on Santa Monica Boulevard. Nothing was ever built, but the project ended up with Garcetti’s favorite developer, Goniffs R Us, er, I mean CIM Group, which the Israeli government had found too unsavory to do business with in Israel. The corruption that upset the Israelis involved CIM Group and LA City Hall. Jared Kushner, however, didn’t find CIM to be tref for 666 Park Ave. 

Of course, if search warrants are drafted so that they never touch on Ripinsky, CIM Group, etc., the FBI can pretend that Garcetti is the good guy and it’s only the greedy Jose Huizar and the Chinese that are to blame. 

Is Jose Huizar Really Officer Rafael Perez in Disguise? 

Officer Rafael Perez was the LAPD Ramparts Officer who became greedy and was taking too much cocaine from the evidence locker. That cut into the stash of the other officers. In order to deter the recalcitrant Perez, the LAPD arrested Perez, who then squealed on others in the CRASH Unit who then squealed back at him until the entire place was filled with squealing pigs high on coke. Long story short, it resulted in the entire LAPD being placed on parole with a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Did Councilmember Huizar Take Too Much of the Bribe Money Without Sharing?  

Huizar’s situation sounds similar to Perez’. As readers of CityWatch know, the mayor and City Council operate by a vote trading system, which Penal Code § 86 criminalized. Because any project that a Councilmember places on the council agenda must receive only Yes votes in return for future Yes votes on their projects, a councilmember can strike any corrupt deal he wants. The developer only needs to bribe one councilmember to be guaranteed unanimous approval of his project. 

But it is more complicated. How is someone like CM Englander who is stuck in the boonies going to make any money? We got a peak at how the vote trading scam has been tweaked with Samuel Leong’s Sea Breeze Project in Janice Hahn’s old district. The money gets spread around. Of course, Garcetti’s “charity” got $60,000, but Englander got $65,400! Newbie Nury Martinez got over $7,700 and her district is likewise in the Valley. 

We Don’t Need a Search Warrant to Look into Common Sense 

When huge extortion-bribes are centered in DTLA, Hollywood, and West LA, will the other councilmembers with larceny in their hearts continue to vote Yes, helping others rake in hundreds of millions, without demanding a cut of the action?  

If Huizar morphed into Rafael Perez and was not sharing the ill-gotten gain, the situation could have become intolerable if Huizar was not going to leave after he was termed out. Instead, his wife was positioned to take his place as councilmember for CD 14. This meant Garcetti could not install another Mitch O’Farrell. 

Is This Garcetti’s Dilemma? 

Just as Ramparts couldn’t tolerate Perez’s running rampant through the evidence locker, maybe Garcetti could not let the entire vote trading scam crumble just because the Huizars are stingy. One brilliant solution would be to call in the Feds for a surgical strike against Huizar. Then Garcetti could play Mr. Clean. (Remember Casablanca?  “I am shocked, shocked to find out that there’s gambling going on in here.”) Under this scenario, the nation’s most corrupt mayor can promote himself as a crime buster.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.