To live and bribe in LA: The sweet past and sticky present of Carmel Partners

A photo illustration of Ron Zeff and Jose Huizar (Credit: Desiree Stone/Getty Images, and iStock)Is Carmel Partners a cartoonishly nefarious developer or merely an opportunistic one caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?The company made headlines in June for its possible role in the development-tied criminal enterprise that Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar allegedly ran. That audacious scheme has been called “the largest corruption scandal in recent L.A. history” by California Common Cause director Jonathan Mehta Stein.Federal prosecutors say Carmel’s role included giving Huizar $125,000, and seeking to provide opposition research on two female Huizar staffers who had filed sexual harassment suits against the elected official.ADVERTISEMENTCarmel has been an influential presence on the L.A. development scene for years, and like many other developers tackling projects in gentrifying neighborhoods, has attracted its share of foes.“They have been screwing over communities for years with mega, market-rate projects,” said Damien Goodmon, director of the transportation and racial justice nonprofit Crenshaw Subway Coalition.Some who have worked with Carmel, however, say the company is the target of a witch hunt.“They were victimized by the process of dealing with Huizar, and now they are being victimized again by the ‘cancel culture’ disruption of their projects,” said one real estate attorney close to City Hall.The developer’s future may be tied to Huizar’s, as the former councilman and DTLA kingmaker faces his criminal trial next June in federal court.In the meantime, Carmel is still doing a lot of business in the city. The company declined to comment for this story.To better understand Carmel’s rise and spectacular fall, The Real Deal stitched together a timeline of its major projects, milestones and controversies.1996: Ron Zeff, a former executive at real estate investment and development firm Trammell Crow, incorporates Carmel in San Francisco. (Zeff remains the company’s CEO.)In a world where the investment landscape may vary our integrity never will.Carmel Partners’ mottoMarch 2012: Carmel announces it has raised $820 million through a real estate discretionary investment fund, Carmel Partners Investment Fund IV. The firm declares: “The fund will focus on value-add multifamily properties in supply-constrained markets with high barriers to entry.”Neils CotterCarmel also names a point person for the L.A. market: Neils Cotter, formerly head of L.A. acquisitions at Matteson Companies and an ex-Air Force captain. Remember that name.June 2012: Carmel makes its first big acquisition in the city, paying $63 million for a 130,000-square-foot site at 770 S. Grand Avenue in DTLA. It plans a residential development with 700 units, at the time a record for the neighborhood.October 2012: To ensure one of its initial L.A. projects gets just the right roof deck permit, Carmel hires a seasoned city hall lobbyist, John Thomas “Tombo” McCarty.From then until now, Carmel hires lobbyists on 36 different occasions, according to the city’s Ethics Commission data portal. In a 2016 lawsuit against Carmel, Friends of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative estimates the developer spends $180,000 a year on city lobbying.Carmel’s 770 South Grand Avenue mixed-use development, which includes a Whole Foods. (Credit: Google Maps)November 2015: Whole Foods anchors Carmel’s 770 S. Grand Avenue project. The developer says its luxury apartments (rents for a studio start at $2,000 a month) are filling up — and filling a void in downtown.“We think that there is a lot of demand, with a low number of high-quality apartments in the marketplace,” Dan Garibaldi, Carmel’s managing partner for development and construction, tells Downtown News.May 2016: Carmel’s first brush with public controversy. The City Council’s Planning Land Use and Management committee — chaired by Huizar — passes the developer’s plan for a project called Cumulus, located at 2231 S. La Cienega Boulevard in West Adams.Carmel buys the parcel for $111 million, and plans to build a 2 million-square-foot development with over 1,200 units.But after the project receives city approval, Friends of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative and Crenshaw Subway Coalition sue Carmel.The groups are upset Carmel wants to build a 31-story residential tower on a block whose tallest building is four stories. Another point of contention is that Carmel doesn’t set aside units for low-income residents in a working class, Black and Latinx area.“Cumulus demonstrates beyond any doubt the corrupting influence that developers seeking to maximize their ability to construct ever larger projects have on the city’s land use and planning process,” the lawsuit states.But the project does receive support.“To have a developer willing to come in, I think it’s fantastic,” Denise Edwards of the Baldwin Hills Village Garden Homeowner Association tells the Los Angeles Times.“If it raises our property values, great. Hallelujah.”March 2017: As the Cumulus litigation winds through the courts, Carmel pays $49 million for land at 11222 W. Pico Boulevard in Sawtelle.The acquisition is a bet Carmel can do what the seller, Beverly Hills developer Alan Casden, could not do — overcome fierce opposition to a mixed-use development that exceeds local zoning restrictions. Carmel proposes 595 residential units and 15,000 square feet of retail. They call the development Linea.Rendering of Carmel’s controversial 520 Mateo Street Arts District project (Credit: Department of City Planning)Meanwhile, the developer is also drawing up the fateful 520 Mateo Street Arts District project, a 35-story tower with 475 “live/work” apartments and 105,000 square feet of retail.Note: The above mentioned projects are the biggest Carmel L.A. developments TRD knows about. There could be other developments, because Carmel — like most developers — uses LLCs that shield its identity. And L.A. City Planning, which reviews and approves all new real estate developments, acknowledges it does not track the “true owner” of each project.Former Carmel lobbyist Morris GoldmanWhich means there could be more Carmel projects the city is now reviewing but does not know those projects belong to the developer. Said one real estate attorney: “The situation is beyond the pale.”June 2017: Facing a lawsuit over Cumulus, possible opposition regarding Linea, and the need to get the Arts District tower approved, Carmel lobbyist Morris Goldman meets with Council member Huizar, according to a plea deal Goldman later reached with federal prosecutors. Goldman says Carmel will give $50,000 toward a political action committee whose true purpose is to raise money to help get Huizar’s wife, Richelle, elected to succeed her husband on the Council.Richelle HuizarSeptember 2018: Goldman, Huizar and an unnamed company executive at Carmel commit to give another $100,000 to the Richelle Huizar PAC, and fund opposition research on two former female employees who accused Jose Huizar of sexual harassment, according to the federal indictment handed down against Huizar in June.In exchange for the cash, Huizar would beat back opposition from organized labor, environmental groups and neighbors to the Mateo Street Arts District project. He would ensure Carmel only had to set aside 6 percent of units as affordable housing instead of the previously agreed upon 11 percent.According to the Goldman plea agreement, potentially using union labor would have “negative repercussions for the executive personally, including the potential loss of his job.”October 16, 2018: The moment of truth. Huizar holds a planning committee meeting where the Mateo Street project is the final item on the docket.Members of the public speak out against the project, noting it is over 30 stories tall on a street where no buildings rise higher than four stories (sound familiar?).“This project is egregiously out of scale with the buildings surrounding it,” testifies Kristina Kopp, an attorney for Arts District residents Steven and Carol Warren.Carmel’s Neils Cotter — we told you to remember that name — calls the development process a “journey” and vows the site will provide “high-quality space for artists.”Huizar and other Council members do not engage the commenters. The committee unanimously approves the project, and the full Council greenlights it two weeks later.An FBI agent, when authorities raided L.A. Council member Jose Huizar’s home in 2018. Agents also  served warrants on the councilman’s field and City Hall offices. (Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)November 7, 2018: Federal agents raid Huizar’s home and office, investigating whether the Council member sought bribes from real estate developers. Huizar is removed a week later from all committee assignments, including Planning Committee chair.January 9, 2019: Carmel announces a $1.28 billion multifamily fund with public pension employees the biggest investors in the fund.April 17, 2019: A California Court of Appeals sides with Carmel in the Cumulus project, ruling the city presented enough evidence that the project was worth amending zoning and planning guidelines for.Carmel subsequently announces an anchor tenant for Cumulus — another Whole Foods.December 4, 2019: The City Council passes a law banning direct contributions from developers to candidates for city office.Before the ban, Carmel provided $6,400 total to candidates running for City Council between 2013 and 2017, including $2,100 to Huizar.The direct contributions are a small fraction of what Carmel spends on lobbying, or what it allegedly spent on the Richelle Huizar PAC.“Under the Supreme Court Citizens United decision, the city cannot do much to regulate independent expenditures,” said Sean McMorris of Southern California Common Cause.“Short of regulating PACs, disclosure is the cure,” McMorris said. “But it can be a shell game of moving money between LLCs on the donor and recipient side of an expenditure.”June 16, 2020: Carmel announces pre-leasing will begin in September at the 300-unit rental at the center of Cumulus. The units feature “built-in wet bars, full-height wine refrigerators” and an “ultra-modern vibe,” according to Carmel’s press release.Linea also begins residential and retail leasing.June 23, 2020: The FBI arrests Jose Huizar at his Boyle Heights home. The indictment released in tandem with the arrest is the first implication of Carmel in the Huizar probe.July 2, 2020: Carmel releases a statement: “The members of the executive and management committees of Carmel Partners did not knowingly participate in any pay-to-play scheme outlined in the U.S. Attorney’s charges against Mr. Huizar.” The statement notes though that the firm “placed the Carmel executive mentioned in the complaint on administrative leave. There are a number of concerning allegations that require investigation.”Carmel has declined to name the executive.But an email left with Cotter bounced back with the message he is on leave, and Cotter’s listed company phone number is disconnected.L.A. City Attorney Mike FeuerAugust 6, 2020: City Attorney Mike Feuer proposes an ordinance empowering the City Council to rescind approvals on projects when evidence later comes to light of corruption. Nixing a project previously approved would require a two-thirds Council vote.The City Council also places a “hold” on the Mateo Street project. The decision comes after federal prosecutors announce a plea deal with Morris Goldman, the Carmel lobbyist, on one count of felony bribery.August 18, 2020: Residents of Los Feliz file an appeal with the City Planning Commission. It is over Carmel’s latest project: a proposed eight-story, 153-unit residential complex at 4649 Maubert Avenue that the Planning Commission approved Aug. 12.“The proposed project – with a smidgen of affordable housing units, and a height that would exceed anything in the surrounding area — isn’t designated for the benefit of our community, but is being used to mine the city for profitable land-use entitlements,” the appeal states.“The applicant for the project, Carmel Partners, has been identified as part of the bribery scandal involving members of the City Council,” the appeal goes on to note. “This fact alone should have put any approvals on permanent hold.” This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now read more

Shelly Joseph Crout

first_img Shelly was a native of Port Arthur, and was a graduate of Lincoln High School C/O 1962. He was baptized at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church at an early age.Funeral Services will be Monday, at 11:00 a.m. at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Donald Frank officiating. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. under the care of Hannah Funeral Home, Inc.Shelly is survived by his siblings Carolyn (David) Brown, Cecilia Jones, Jimmie (Joyce) Crout, Dannie Crout, all of Port Arthur, TX. Rose M. (John) Francis of Fort Worth, TX. Gloria J. (Frank) of New Orleans, LA, one daughter Ericka Crout of Beaumont, TX and a host of relative and friends. Shelly Joseph Crout, 71 year of age, passed away on , September 27, 2016.last_img read more

Segro makes discounted offer for Brixton

first_imgSegro confirmed yesterday that it had made a lower-than-expected bid for its rival, which caused Brixton’s shares to tumble 30 per cent to 19.25p.The two companies have agreed to swap 1.75 shares in Segro for every Brixton share, equivalent to about 40p a share and significantly less than the closing price of 62?p on 19 June.The £107m deal values Brixton at less than its market capitalisation of £170m at the close of trading on Friday, a discount that is thought to reflect a large portfolio of derivatives that are owned by Brixton. Financial Timeslast_img read more

Ex-Cavs GM: ‘I think Kyrie’s going to end up getting traded’

first_img Related Jason Miller/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — Will the Cleveland Cavaliers trade Kyrie Irving? The team’s former general manager thinks so.“I think Kyrie’s going to end up getting traded,” David Griffin said on ESPN’s “The Jump.”The former GM praised Irving for asking for a trade this summer, and disagreed with former Cavaliers guard Ron Harper who said the reason for Irving’s trade request was “youth, ignorance.”“The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within,” Griffin said to ESPN. “Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”Griffin, a member of the Cavs’ front office since 2010 who helped build the team that won the championship in 2016, stepped down from the general manager position in June when he could not agree on a new contract with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Koby Altman was named general manager last month.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

Column: PGA Tour gets a new version of Tigermania

first_imgTiger Woods hits from the first fairway during the final round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer)NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) _ The latest comeback by Tiger Woods, this one following a 10-month absence from a fourth back surgery in three years, was sure to cause some disruption in the workforce with the weekday television coverage.That included the commissioner’s office at the PGA Tour.“I would consider myself to be among the highly distracted as Tiger played his first round,” Jay Monahan said Tuesday.Monahan was at the Hero World Challenge the day before it began and stayed for the pro-am dinner, where he said Woods spoke from the heart about his foundation, thanked the other 17 players for coming and reminded them they had a chance to compete against a player at No. 1,199 in the world ranking.“That broke up the room,” Monahan said with a laugh.Indeed, it’s rare for a player to tie for ninth and move up 531 spots in the world ranking _ Woods now is all the way up to No. 668 _ but such were the circumstances. The field featured eight of the top 10 in the world, and it included one guy who had earned ranking points at only two tournaments over the last two years.There’s no way to go but up.That’s what Monahan took away from the holiday exhibition, only he wasn’t talking about the world ranking.“We had such a strong year with great, young players stepping forward,” he said. “You add Tiger back in the mix, and we all go away from it with a lot of excitement.”How much Woods is in the mix remains to be seen, although this was as strong as he has looked in four years. Next up is figuring out a schedule that Woods said would be geared around the four majors. He hasn’t played all four since 2015, and he hasn’t made the cut in all of them since 2013.Most of the young players at Albany Golf Club _ Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger _ know more about the legend of Woods than what it’s like to have him at tournaments.Thomas got a taste of it.He is the FedEx Cup champion and PGA Tour player of the year after winning five times, including his first major at the PGA Championship. He started the new season by winning the CJ Cup in South Korea.And when he sat down for a news conference, his first six questions were about Woods.Thomas was paired with Woods for the first and final rounds, and while Woods had the largest gallery, there was rarely more than about 250 fans. It’s the Bahamas. So when Thomas was asked if felt the effect of Woods on the golf course or in his news conference, he smiled.“I would say more of the fact that I just won the FedEx Cup, player of the year, and all I get asked about is Tiger Woods,” he said. Thomas was not the least bit irritated, even though this was the 10th out 12 consecutive questions he fielded about Woods on that day.“I thought it was bad the questions I got asked about Jordan,” Thomas said.Golf wasn’t suffering without Woods, not inside the ropes.Dating to when Woods had his first back surgery, Rory McIlroy won two majors in 2014; Spieth got halfway to the calendar Grand Slam in 2015; Dustin Johnson fulfilled his potential with his first major in 2016 and was voted player of the year. And this year brought the emergence of the 24-year-old Thomas.None can draw attention to golf like Woods _ not individually, maybe not collectively. That’s no surprise.“The keen golf fans will know Tiger moved the needle and brought people in that might be sports fans, but not golf fans,” Henrik Stenson said. “But everyone who follows golf closely, I don’t think they’ve been home thinking, `Oh, this is not exciting anymore,’ when all the guys at the top have been winning. It’s been a healthy couple of years, even though he’s not been on the scene.“I don’t think he can make it less good, having the old Tiger back and trying to charge through the field,” Stenson said. “It would make it even more exciting.”There’s also the danger, especially in today’s social media climate, to gush so much over Woods that it seems no one else is playing and tournaments that Woods doesn’t play are not worth watching.This is nothing new. The PGA Tour has been facing questions like this for 20 years.Monahan sees only an upside now.“We have such a deep bench of young, international players, combined with a great group of veterans. All have accomplished a lot in their own right, week in and week out. The story lines will be strong,” Monahan said. “You take a strong PGA Tour and just make it stronger. And it doesn’t just apply when Tiger is playing. The fact he’s back is bringing more attention, more eyeballs, and that’s going to benefit everyone.“It’s great to be back in that situation.”last_img

Brown’s 3-pointer helps Wake Forest beat Pitt 78-76 in OT

first_imgBrown’s 3-pointer from the wing with 35.1 seconds left in overtime put the Demon Deacons (9-13, 2-8 ) ahead to stay at 77-74, and they held on to snap a five-game losing streak.Pitt’s Xavier Johnson hit the first of two free-throw attempts with 6.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two, but the Panthers (12-11, 2-8) failed to grab the rebound off the second shot and time ran out for their sixth straight loss.Jaylen Hoard had bailed out Brown at the end of regulation, plucking Brown’s desperation shot from above the top of the key out of the air and dropping it in the basket with one second left to force overtime.Brown scored eight of his 18 points in overtime, making a pair of 3-pointers after going just 1 for 6 from behind the arc in regulation.“I knew I was taking good shots,” Brown said. “Our coaches believed in me. They kept telling me, ‘Keep shooting. Keep shooting.’”Hoard scored 19 points and Brandon Childress and Brown added 18 apiece for the Deacons, who have heard speculation about the future of fourth-year coach Danny Manning after a series of poor performances.Sharone Wright Jr. scored 11 points for the Deacons during a four-minute stretch as they grabbed a 61-53 lead with 5:14 left. Wright’s final three points came when his driving shot climbed near the top of the backboard and dropped in after he was fouled, and he converted the free throw.“Whether we missed a shot or made a turnover, our kids continued to battle,” Manning said.Johnson scored a game-high 23 points for the Panthers, including a pair of driving baskets in overtime. Jared Wilson-Frame added 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and Sidy N’Dir had 15.The largest lead of the game was eight points by each team.With his team leading by three after Brown’s decisive 3-pointer, Childress fouled Johnson with 6.8 seconds to play, eliminating a chance for a potential tying 3-point shot.Johnson made the first shot. The rebound of the second, which Pitt coach Jeff Capel said was not missed intentionally, was knocked out into the backcourt, where Childress tracked it down and dribbled out the clock.“We weren’t ready to go after it,” Capel said. “I think if we really go hard and chase the ball, we get it, or maybe we get a foul.”The Panthers scored the game’s first eight points. Johnson scored the first five on drives to the basket – the second was a 3-point play – in a cold-shooting first half for both teams. The Deacons battled back to tie in the final minute of the opening half, but Johnson drove the length of the court in the final 4.6 seconds to break the tie with a floater that was in the air as the horn sounded.After a sluggish shooting first half, both teams shot above 50 percent in the final 25 minutes.BIG PICTUREPitt: The loss leaves the Panthers only one-half game ahead of Miami, which could pull into a tie Wednesday by beating Notre Dame, in a battle to stay out of the conference cellar. The Panthers have lost their last 20 road games. Capel said he still believes his team has enough talent to be competitive with any team in the ACC.Wake Forest: The Deacons, who averaged fewer than 50 points in their past four games, showed some offensive spark in the final 25 minutes. The road ahead is rough with Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame and N.C. State next on the schedule, but they get eight days to rest up. Childress regained his 3-point shooting touch, going 4 for 7 after making just 1 of 20 in his previous three games.STAT PACKPitt: The Panthers committed only nine turnovers and shot well in the final 25 minutes. Their biggest problem was on the boards, where the Deacons held a 48-35 rebound advantage. They also made only 10 of 18 from the foul line.Wake Forest: Jaylen Hoard had 17 rebounds for the Deacons, including the game-saving grab and basket to send the game into overtime. Childress regained his overall form, hitting 5 of 12 from the field, 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 4 of 5 from the line. He also had six assists and only three turnovers.HE SAID IT“My confidence was good once I saw one go through the net,” said Childress, who had made only 7 of 36 shots in his previous three games and missed his first two shots Tuesday before finishing strong.UP NEXTPitt: at N.C. State on Saturday.Wake Forest: at Florida State on Feb. 13. Xavier Johnson (AP Photo/File)WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — After getting bailed out on his first shot with the game on the line Tuesday night, Chaundee Brown came through on his second chance to give Wake Forest a 78-76 overtime victory over Pitt in a battle of teams desperate for an Atlantic Coast Conference victory.last_img read more

Cricket: Arjun Tendulkar proves his worth in maiden U-19 outing

first_imgAdvertisement 83z2NBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs8edyoWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eazx( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) o6mWould you ever consider trying this?😱2onhcaCan your students do this? 🌚dw4o3tRoller skating! Powered by Firework Image Courtesy: Cric TrackerAdvertisement Arjun Tendulkar was the focal point in the Indian U-19 squad touring Sri Lanka for 2 tests and 5 ODIs. The maiden call-up for the son of Sachin Tendulkar was questioned by several, but it seems that the left-handed all-rounder has silenced his critics.The lanky left-arm pacer did not take long to strike an impact as he managed to bag his maiden International wicket after trapping  Sri Lanka U-19 opener R Mishra for a plumb LBW in his second over itself.Advertisement Arjun managed to end his first spell with impressive figures of 5-1-18-1. The Sri Lankan youth players found Arjun’s angle and height tough to negotiate.Advertisement Have a look at Arjun’s maiden dismissal.Arjun Tendulkar ( son of @sachin_rt) traps the batsman LBW to pick his maiden wicket in Youth Internationals Video courtesy- Srilanka cricket— Nibraz Ramzan (@nibraz88cricket) July 17, 2018Read Also:England vs. India: 3rd ODI Review- Hosts clinch the series after convincing win Advertisementlast_img read more

Riders on bound rounds

first_imgBy BRIDGET SCOTT A 25-YEAR-OLD event in Berwick will go ahead in October after failing to run earlier in the…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img