Home>Articles>FBI Arrests LA City Councilman Jose Huizar on Bribery and Racketeering Charges

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar. (Photo: Youtube)

FBI Arrests LA City Councilman Jose Huizar on Bribery and Racketeering Charges

Huizar allegedly took over $1.5 million from mainland China developers for approving buildings

By Evan Symon, June 23, 2020 2:13 pm

‘Mr. Huizar was busy enjoying the fruits of his alleged corruption while his criminal enterprise sold the city to the highest bidder behind the backs of taxpayers.’ ~FBI Los Angeles Assistant Director Paul Delacourt

On Tuesday, FBI Agents arrested Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar at his Boyle Heights home and charged with taking more than $1.5 million in bribes in a “pay to play” scheme to approve or halt buildings within the city.

Councilman Huizar arrested on one count of violating the RICO Act

In an FBI operation known as “Operation Casino Loyale,” federal agents found that Councilman Huizar received money and favors from real estate developers, most of whom were from mainland China. Among the benefits Huizar is alleged to have received are trips to Las Vegas, campaign contributions, luxury hotel stays, and $600,000 to pay off a sexual harassment lawsuit. Of the $1.5 million that Huizar reportedly had taken, over $800,000 came from Chinese billionaire Wei Huang, hoping to build the tallest building west of the Mississippi. On Tuesday, during Huizar’s arrest, $129,000 in cash was found hidden inside Huizar’s home.

As Councilman Huizar had allegedly attempted to hide the $1.5 million from government officials and took bribes, as well as other allegations including fraud and making false statements on a loan, he was additionally charged with one count of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Huizar, who has represented his south-southeast LA district since 2005, faces up to 20 years in a federal prison.

“This case pulled back the curtain on rampant corruption at City Hall,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna. “Councilman Huizar violated the public trust to a staggering degree, allegedly soliciting and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from multiple sources over many years. He decided which projects lived and which projects died.”

The FBI also released a statement on Tuesday.

“Mr. Huizar was busy enjoying the fruits of his alleged corruption while his criminal enterprise sold the city to the highest bidder behind the backs of taxpayers,” said FBI Los Angeles field office Assistant Director Paul Delacourt.

Others charged, Huizar in the process of losing Council seat

Huizar has been under heavy scrutiny for many months due to the allegations. Others have been caught and charged with corruption under the FBI operation, including former LA Councilman Mitch Englander and Huizar’s former aide George Esparza. Englander was indicted in March on obstruction and witness tampering charges. In May, Esparza agreed to plead guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

After Garza’s guilty plea in May, both Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez called for Huizar’s resignation. On Tuesday, after Huizar’s arrest, Martinez switched gears and announced that Huizar is now in the process of being removed from office.

“You hate that it took this long to charge him and get him out, but it does make you happy to see that the system hasn’t completely stopped working,” said Boyle Heights resident Ana Cardenas, who lives two blocks away from Huizar’s house. “He broke trust with this community. Boyle Heights is a close Mexican-American community, and we put our trust in him for 15 years. While he did fight for us on the Council and helped us, it in no way excuses him from this.”

“It makes you feel devastated that you even voted for him in the first place.”

Councilman Huizar’s trial date has yet to be announced but it is expected that it will start later this year should he plead not guilty.

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12 thoughts on “FBI Arrests LA City Councilman Jose Huizar on Bribery and Racketeering Charges

  1. Wow! We can’t take any of it with us folks. He’s entitled to his day in court. Apparently, betrayed his constituents, Los Angeles and his country. Looks like, under the Trump Administration, the FBI is back on track doing what it is supposed to do.

    1. It’s my understanding that they will NOT be rescinded. I heard this in passing, will have to look further to confirm it.

    2. P.S. The self-righteousness and drama with which Mayor Garcetti and some other council members pointed a stiff-armed finger of outrage at Huizar tells me they are glad and relieved about the distraction of his arrest from their own nonsense. We’ll see. Stay tuned for more news out of City of L.A.

  2. A California democrat political leader taking money from Communist China. What a shocker.

    I wonder who else could be on the Chinese payroll because I highly doubt this guy is a lone wolf.

  3. More evidence of Marx’ prediction that in the end the last capitalist will sell his gun to the last communist, because the capitalist couldn’t say no to a profit. When Huizer gets out of prison, he’ll be ready to run for governor of Illinois.

  4. The Chinese business influence needs to be investigated further concerning commercial land purchases, business acquisitions, financial stakes in major corporations (stock ownership of 25% or higher), ownership of Federal lands and buildings, and, in general, any major Chinese investments within the US. Under the previous administration, State Department foreign investment policies were eased. Chinese businessmen were able to acquire additional stocks, land, and market investments. The result was the loss of jobs, businesses, and property owners in the US. We urge the FBI and the DOJ to continue investigating.

    1. Yes, the corruption is piling up around here and attracting flies (and rats) and we desperately need continued FBI and DOJ investigation and intervention. Except for a notable, exceptional few (and, FYI, they’re not Democrats, DUH) there doesn’t seem to be an honest politician left standing in California. Help!

  5. I am delighted the FBI is doing their job. I have been bidding on contracts and winning the bid but LADWP refuses to award me the contract. This has gone on for 8 years, illegal and unlawful trade restrains, bid rigging and Antitrust behavior has ruined my company. I have them in court now, can’t get a lawyer because it’s too expensive but the evidence I have is unbelievable! Stanley Mosk Courthouse Oct 20, 2022 the action starts. LADWP was attempting to award a 7.4 million dollar contract on a bid with a maximum budget of 6 million and refused to provide scores and bid results. I am dealing with it now and it not going to go well for them.

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