EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, the City Council in a 41-minute meeting Tuesday put off without comment discussion of the CRA deal with Hal Katersky’s Santa Monica-based Pacifica Ventures, raising questions about what’s going on behind the scenes with the controversial subsidized project.
The City Council blinked last week on approving the Community Redevelopment Agency’s proposal to sell a valuable Hollywood property at 1601 N. Vine St. to developer Hal Katersky for $4.5 million — 85 percent less — than they paid him for it four years ago.
But it’s back on the calendar for action today and the CRA is pushing hard to reward Katersky’s Pacifica Ventures with this lucrative gift although he is a profiteer in runaway film production that has savaged our local economy and has a history of bad deals and lawsuits.
Last week, before the Council delayed action, we reported on the deal under the headline “Sweetheart Deals and Opportunists: How to Destroy a City.”
In “The Unpleasant Aroma of a CRA Deal,” Humphreville digs into the hidden details and questionable financing for this project with union money and shows that the subsidy “the equity returns for the investors are expected to exceed 20%!”
“Why is the CRA even considering subsidizing Katersky and his
partner, Dana Arnold, since they are promoting and financing “runaway”
production in Albuquerque, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut? … We need facts and answers, not the usual CRA / City Hall spin.”
The Times story “Lawsuits, failed ventures mark developer’s past” looks at Katersky’s record and concludes: “Katersky’s business career has been entangled in lawsuits over failed ventures and clashes with former partners.”
Not to worry. Katersky declares that “I’m proud of my track record,” and blames his troubles on “events far
outside their control.”
We can at least share that feeling with Katersky when it comes to the CRA — an agency that operates outside the control of the public which, unlike Pacific Ventures, doesn’t have lobbyists from Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac to look after their interests..
It takes tax dollars that could go to keeping libraries and parks open and gives it to people like Katersky and then takes the tax increments from its subsidized developments and gives it to other developers for projects like his that do nothing for the quality of our lives and don’t need subsidies.