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NAKED CITY: Same Old, Same Old . . . Worn-out Story of LA Public Policy Failures

FRIEND OF ANTONIO’S GOES BROKE, WHO GETS THE BILL?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nakedcity.jpgAntonio benefactor and profiteer Richard Meruelo is back in the news — it turns out even the $50 million payoff from the LAUSD board wasn’t enough to keep the downtown property owner out of bankruptcy.

His company Meruelo Maddox Properties expectsThumbnail image for meruelo.jpg to follow its subsidiaries into Bankruptcy Court as early as today, the Times reports.

You might remember it was Meruelo who was Antonio’s biggest contributor back in 2005, donating $193,000 to his cause — and that he got a healthy return from Antonio’s school board last summer when it agreed to pay him $50 million for the Taylor Yard property. The Downtown News broke the story two months after the board’s secret vote..

Back then, I posted about it, noting Meruelo bought the property out from under LAUSD’s nose at the of the property boom and sold it when the market had crashed and still made a $20 million profit.

Since Meruelo is the largest downtown property owner and the CRA has been so generous in funding his developments, it will be interesting to see just how much money the taxpayers have lost

CONFLICT OF INTEREST OR JUST OUR CIVIC CULTURE?

That’s the question Jerry Sullivan asks in a headline in LA Garment & Citizen in the latest story about questionable dealings involved in the purchase of a property in the 400 block of Spring Street downtown for a park.

The article focuses on role of Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr., Director of Asset Management for the city’s Department of General Services and whether the city overpaid when it bought 0.8 acre for $5.6 million.

He is also secretary of the state Democratic Party and serves on its finance committee which connects him to such major local and state politcal contributors as developer Tom Gilmore, the Central City Association and Bill Witte of Related Cos., which is having so much trouble getting the Grand Avenue project going.

“Jones-Sawyer’s dual roles are the latest circumstances to raise questions about the deal, following concerns expressed by some local real estate professionals and others over the price of the land on Spring Street as well as the timing and approval process for the proposed acquisition,” Garment & Citizen says.

GOOD JOBS, GREEN JOBS — LET THEM EAT PROMISES

“It seems like we’re getting a stench of Chicago politics to have a continuation with an unreliable vendor.” — County Supervisor Mike Antonovich on the two-month extension MTA granted Italian rail car mark  AnsakdoBreda.

If only that were true, maybe we’d actually have a crooked political machine that works like Chicago instead of the one we have that doesn’t work.

In getting his way, Antonio had to shake up the MTA board and use his clout to keep alive a $300 million deal to build 100 rail cars that based on AnsaldoBreda’s past performance will be too heavy with seats too narrow and incompatible with the rest of the light rail system’s cars — if they ever get built at all.

But even the mayor was cautious as he brushed aside the recommendations of the MTA management, according to the Times.

He admitted there are “real questions” about the company which has promised numerous cities it will build local factories if the get lucratives contracts and presumably lucrative subsidies.

But having overseen creation of a budget deficit rapidly approaching $1 billion and one of the nation’s highest urban unemployment rates at 12 percent, the mayor is desperate to show he can attract businesses that pay more than the “living wage.”

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4 Responses to NAKED CITY: Same Old, Same Old . . . Worn-out Story of LA Public Policy Failures

  1. Matt Weinstock says:

    Didn’t Related Companies go bankrupt? Or perhaps just their Florida Operations??

  2. Anonymous says:

    Related has mangment contracts with HACLA another crook infested agency the mayor his dirty in bed with Rudy the Rat from elpaso texas

  3. Aonymous says:

    The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division
    http://da.co.la.ca.us/mr/archive/2004/021004a.htm
    Public Corruption
    The citizens of Los Angeles County have the right to expect that their elected and appointed officials will carry out their duties in a lawful, ethical and professional manner. They also have the right to expect that administrators, supervisors and the immediate subordinates of elected and appointed officials, who play an integral role in achieving the mission of the officeholder, will discharge their duties and obligations in the same lawful, ethical and professional manner.
    The District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division ensures that public and appointed officials – and their subordinates – fulfill their legally mandated duties. To this end, the District Attorney’s Office will use all resources at its disposal to detect, investigate and prosecute criminal misconduct at all levels of public service.
    The Public Integrity Division’s ultimate goal is to increase the public’s level of confidence in its elected and appointed officials.
    SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITY
    • Public Officials
    Public officials are elected or appointed to positions of public trust. In the event of any breach of this trust, the Public Integrity Division will investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute criminal misconduct by any elected or appointed public official.
    The term “public official” is defined in the broadest possible manner and includes state, county and city officials. Subordinates and employees of public officials, whose duties directly impact the public’s business, are also subject to investigation and prosecution by the Public Integrity Division.
    • School Officials
    The Public Integrity Division will also be responsible for the investigation and prosecution of school officials, such as members of local school boards, district superintendents, principals, teachers and office administrators who engage in criminal misconduct relating to the discharge of their duties. This includes inappropriate or illegal use of public funds.
    • Election & Campaign Violations
    Because the integrity of the election process is crucial to a free and democratic society, the District Attorney’s Office must be vigilant in enforcing all laws that regulate the election process. In this regard, the Public Integrity Division is charged with investigating and prosecuting allegations of voter fraud, illegal voter registration practices, illegal campaign practices, illegal campaign contributions and falsification of candidacy papers.
    Public Integrity Division
    Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
    320 West Temple St., Rm. 766
    Los Angeles, CA. 90012
    Phone: (213) 974-6501
    http://da.co.la.ca.us/pid.htm#public

  4. Thank you for a great post

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