Federal prosecutors have secured a second guilty plea in connection with their ongoing investigation into corruption at Los Angeles City Hall. The investigation focuses on “pay to play” schemes wherein developers, lobbyists, and the like bribe city officials to ensure that their development projects are shepherded through the various regulatory processes and are eventually approved.
Earlier this week lobbyist/real estate developer Justin Kim “agreed to plead guilty to federal program fraud, admitting to facilitating a $500,000 bribe of an unnamed city councilmember” who is believed to be Jose Huizar.
Friday afternoon federal prosecutors filed a plea agreement signed by former Councilmember Mitch Englander in which Englander agreed to plead guilty to one count of scheming to falsify facts. Englander was arrested in early March after being charged in a three-count indictment after allegedly receiving cash and gifts (including a VIP bottle-service-and-hookers night in Las Vegas) from a developer who had a project pending before the City Council.
Both Englander and Huizar sat on the city’s powerful Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee, which heard appeals to environmental approvals.
Neither Kim nor Englander have appeared before a judge to formally enter a guilty plea at this time. Kim has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as a condition of his plea agreement, but Englander’s plea agreement contains no such requirement.