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AIDS Healthcare Foundation Appeals Decision In Huizar Corruption-Linked Case

The 520 Mateo site (center). The Carmel Partners project was among those swept up in the José Huizar corruption case.

The Hollywood-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court in the case that would allow the public to challenge existing permits for projects linked to the corruption scandal centered on former Council Member José Huizar.

The California Supreme Court would have to overturn an earlier appellate court ruling on the matter, The Real Deal reports. That ruling upheld a 90-day window in which the public can challenge building permits, but AHF is arguing the 90-day time frame had passed for many projects before the full scope of the City Hall corruption case had been revealed publicly.

Earlier this month, Huizar pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and tax evasion, and he admitted to running a pay-to-play operation that gave favorable treatment to real estate developers who arranged bribes and other compensation for him. 

“It doesn’t make sense to have a short statute of limitations to protect a real estate project that is the product of corruption,” AHF Deputy General Counsel Jonathan Eisenberg told NBC LA, which was the first to report the news. AHF first filed its lawsuit pushing for new reviews of the projects in 2020. 

One of the affected projects would be Carmel Partners’ project at 520 Mateo St. in the Arts District, which was investigated as one of the projects that got help from Huizar through the pay-to-play scheme. In 2021, the company agreed to pay a $1.2M fine to the federal government. The project is under construction now.