Feds Bust Democrat L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar for Corruption

Jose Huizar (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)
Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar (D) on Tuesday morning for corruption, alleging that he had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and treated his office like a “criminal enterprise.”

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice read, in part:

Special agents with the FBI this morning arrested Jose Huizar, an elected member of the Los Angeles City Council, on a federal racketeering charge that alleges he led a criminal enterprise that used his powerful position at City Hall to solicit and accept lucrative bribes and other financial benefits to enrich himself and his close associates in exchange for Huizar taking official actions favorable to the developers and others who financed and facilitated the bribes.

Huizar, 51, of Boyle Heights, was taken into custody at his home without incident and is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Huizar was arrested pursuant to a federal criminal complaint filed on June 22 and unsealed this morning. The complaint charges Huizar with one count of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and alleges that, as part of the criminal enterprise, he and his associates violated a series of laws, including bribery, honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering.

“This case pulled back the curtain on rampant corruption at City Hall,” said United States 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. Using the power of his office to approve or stall large building projects, Huizar worked through a web of other corrupt city officials, lobbyists, consultants and developers to line his pockets and maintain his hold on Council District 14, which he turned into a money-making criminal enterprise that shaped the development landscape in Los Angeles.”

Huizar represents downtown Los Angeles. The DOJ alleges that he solicited bribes from developers, particularly Chinese developers, who sought his help in speeding their way through the planning procedures of the city.

In 2014, Breitbart News reported that the city settled a sexual harassment lawsuit in which Huizar was alleged to have carried on a romantic affair with his deputy chief of staff.

Huizar has also been one of the city’s leading officials on the topic of homelessness, as his district includes the notorious Skid Row. The homeless population in L.A. County has exploded in recent years, rising 13% last year.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Photo: file

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