Ex-Deputy Mayor of LA, Developers Charged in Real Estate Bribery Scandal

Head of economic development under Garcetti faces bribery and fraud charges

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Federal prosecutors have criminally charged Raymond Chan, a former deputy mayor for economic development under Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as the developers involved in an ongoing investigation into pay-for-play schemes at City Hall.

Chan faces conspiracy and bribery charges stemming from an alleged “money-making criminal enterprise” directed by former councilman Jose Huizar, the Los Angeles Times reported. Huizar and Chan both allegedly took part in squeezing developers for illicit benefits in exchange for favorable advantages though the city’s notoriously arduous entitlement process.

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Chan worked for the city for more than three decades, including a stint as the leader of the Department of Building and Safety, as well as overseeing economic development for Garcetti in 2016 and 2017.

The authorities also charged a Bel-Air developer, Dae Yong Lee, who secured entitlements for a 20-story residential project in 2017; and Wei Huang, chairman of Shenzhen New World Group, which proposed a 77-story skyscraper on Figueroa Street and paid more than $1 million to Huizar.

Huizar pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges in August. Former city councilman Mitchell Englander, as well as Huizar’s aide, a lobbyist, and two consultants have so far pleaded guilty in charges stemming from the investigation.