The Elephant Hill Land Bank set aside for Joe Edmiston's land empire.
The Los Angeles City Council voted today to settle a lawsuit over a contested 24-home subdivision planned for El Sereno, agreeing to buy the property for $9 million so it can be converted into a park.
The developers of the property, Monterey Hills Investors, sued the city last year after the council demanded more environmental review of the project, planned for a site known as Elephant Hill.
Councilman Jose Huizar said the city would borrow money in the short term to pay for the purchase of the 19-acre site. Over the long term the city will seek state funding to help defray the cost, he said.
"This is an environmental justice victory because proper environmental review was not conducted" on the planned subdivision, said Huizar, whose district includes El Sereno.
Not all were ready to give Councilman Huizar credit that day as we noted here at Mayor Sam
, but some 21 months later, the true winners and losers in this deal are becoming ever clearer. More on that after the bloggin leap.
As we noted in bold above the key conponants in the Elephant Hill deal was the $9,000,000 payment to the Monterey Hills Investors who were represented by prominent land use attorney and lobbyist Ben Resnik, who just so happen to moonlight as a Huizar campaign fundraiser as noted by the Times and prompted this follow up speculation from this blogger.
Reznik, who has held campaign fundraisers for Huizar and other city elected officials, had no comment on today's vote, saying the settlement had not been finalized. As he prepared for the damages phase of the case, Reznik gave notice that his client intended to depose Huizar, Councilman Ed Reyes and possibly employees in the mayor's office, according to a report obtained by The Times.
** Hmmm, maybe the likes of Huizar, Reyes with the possible Mayor Villaraigosa's staffers in the mix, use the city treasury to "cry uncle" or was this part of an grand charade to improve the profit margin on devalue property, to help a political donor?
13. Consideration of resolution authorizing grant of Proposition 84 funds to Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for acquisition and improvements at Elephant Hill, El Sereno, City of Los Angeles..
Sixteen parcels totaling five acres were appraised by the City at $495,000. An additional two
parcels on Pullman Street may be acquired if funding for drainage improvements is awarded,
subject to the City's agreement. This grant application includes up to $50,000 for minimal park
improvements necessary to provide public access. This would also constitute a local match for
the State grant funding source. Due to these variables, the MRCA grant application to the
Conservancy is for an amount not to exceed $636,500.
If the same appraisal rate applies to the rest of the 20 acres city-owned Elephant Hills property, then the value of the land should be $2 million dollars, not $9 million paid to Resnik's client.Even if the rest of the land were to value $4 million, the city was screwed bigtime on this Huizar crafted deal.
In conclusion the best course on action with the facts above is to call upon the City Attorney to put a stay upon any land sales at Elephant Hill until it could be assured that the city coffers are reinburst fully and the background on the original Elephant Hill settlement is properly investigated.
Scott Johnson in CD 14
Labels: "COUNCILMAN LAST SEEN AS JOSE HUIZAR, Elephant Hill, Joe Edmiston