35-story Arts District tower

8 January 2021.

CP Employer, Inc., formerly known as Carmel Partners, Inc., agreed to a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) announced by United States Attorney’s office and FBI Assistant Director.

CP Employer is developing the tower known as 520 Mateo in L.A.’s Arts District, paid $1.2 million last month to resolve its portion of the investigation, in a federal bribery case against former Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar and real estate development consultant Morris Goldman, who is scheduled to be sentenced in August after pleading guilty last year to brokering deals in which a CP Employer executive agreed to make $50,000 in political contributions in exchange for Huizar’s official actions on the company’s mixed-use project in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. Carmel Partners changed its name in recent months, following allegations of its involvement in the scandal.

CP Employer admitted that Goldman funneled a series of requests from Huizar that CP Employer make contributions to two political action committees for Huizar’s benefit. CP Employer made three of the four requested political contributions for a total of $75,000. “Executive M” in charge of the Arts District project met with Huizar and agreed to assist with political fundraising efforts to benefit a Huizar relative running for his City Council seat and to obtain information on a person who was “causing problems for Huizar’s family”. Executive M ultimately did not help with fundraising, the company official obtained the requested background report at company expense and without the knowledge of CP Employer’s Compliance Department or senior management. Executive M personally delivered the background report to Huizar, at which time Huizar solicited a $250,000 personal payment in exchange for reducing CP Employer’s public benefit payment. Executive M did not act on this request, but he withheld from his senior management and the company’s Compliance Department. Huizar sought additional help from Executive M – background information on Huizar staffers and a potential job with CP Employer once he left the City Council. Executive M did not act on this too, but again withheld this information from company management and its Compliance Department.

Jose Huizar, a Mexican-American politician and a former member of the Los Angeles City Council, faces a 34-count indictment on charges that he led a criminal enterprise where he used his position at City Hall to enrich himself and his associates, and gave favorable treatment to developers who gave bribes and other illicit financial benefits.

Source: Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California