Any time the government starts giving away money, you can almost always bet that there will be corruption. The stimulus plan put into effect to help the country get through the coronavirus crisis is not an exception.
The Daily Caller reported yesterday
- At least $4 million in PPP loans went to a real estate company at the center of a federal bribery investigation involving a Los Angeles city councilman.
- Shenzhen New World Group, owned by Chinese billionaire Wei Huang, received two PPP loans for hotels it operates in Los Angeles.
- Jose Huizar is accused of accepting more than $800,000 in bribes from a real estate company chairman referred to in a federal indictment as “Chairman E.”
- Charging documents against Huizar make it clear that the real estate company in question is Shenzhen New World Group, which is working on a 77-story skyscraper project in Huizar’s district.
The article continues:
The Real Deal, a website that covers the Los Angeles real estate market, first reported the coronavirus relief loans to Shenzhen New World.
The funds, issued under the Paycheck Protection Program, went to two of Shenzhen New World Group’s limited liability corporations (LLCs), Shen Zhen New World I and Shen Zhen New World II. The LLCs control the L.A. Grand Hotel and Sheraton Universal Hotel, respectively.
California business registration documents show that Huang signed the articles of incorporation for both LLCs in 2010. Shenzhen is proposing to redevelop the L.A. Grand Hotel into a 77-story skyscraper.
The Treasury Department on Monday released a database of PPP loan recipients, showing that both of the LLCs received between $2 million and $5 million each.
The article concludes:
The complaint against Huizar, who has held office since 2005, alleges that the Chinese developer provided the bribes in part because of his position as chairman of the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
“HUIZAR was poised to significantly benefit Chairman E’s desire and plans to redevelop Property E and transform it into a 77-story skyscraper, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River,” the complaint against Huizar says.
“This project would require official acts from HUIZAR at various stages of the City approval process.”
Huizar’s former aide, George Esparza, pleaded guilty on May 27 to racketeering charges as part of the probe.
According to Esparza’s plea agreement, he said that the Chinese developer began paying Huizar after he introduced a motion to keep the head of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety in his position.
Virginia Clark, who is listed as the point of contact on Shenzhen New World’s applications for the skyscraper, did not respond to a detailed list of questions about the PPP loans and the FBI investigation of Huizar.
The Small Business Administration, which approves the PPP loans, did not respond to a request for comment. Huizar’s lawyer also did not respond to a request for comment.
Please follow the link above to the article for further details.