L.A. Corruption Trial Highlights City Hall Corruption Ahead of Election | app

LOS ANGELES — When Chinese billionaire developer Wei Huang burst onto the U.S. real estate market 12 years ago, he did so with a bang, buying land in downtown Los Angeles where he set out to build a 77-storey skyscraper. It was supposed to be the tallest on the west coast.

On Thursday, Huang’s development company criminal trial opened a few blocks from that site at the federal courthouse, where Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Castañeda accused him of trying to grease the endorsement of the project by the city by paying $1.5 million in bribes to Jose Huizar, then the LA councilman who was City Hall’s effective gatekeeper over land use approvals.

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Robert M. Larson