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LA City Hall corruption: Consultant agrees to plead guilty in racketeering scheme

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LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times) —  A real estate consultant has agreed to plead guilty to one count of racketeering in the ongoing federal pay-to-play corruption probe at Los Angeles City Hall, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

George Chiang, 41, has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization act. Under a plea agreement he made with prosecutors Chiang will fully cooperate in the government’s ongoing investigation, according to investigators.

Prosecutors said Chiang was involved in a scheme where a council member and other public officials demanded cash, stays at luxury hotels, casino chips and prostitution services.

According to federal investigators, Chiang represented a company that funneled $66,000 to an associate of an unnamed Los Angeles City Council member. Details in federal filings have repeatedly made clear that official is Councilman Jose Huizar.

Huizar’s attorney, Vicki Podberesky, declined to comment.

The company represented by Chiang also pledged to provide $100,000 to a political action committee that was designed to benefit a relative of the council member, the filing states. In 2018, Huizar had been working to have his wife, Richelle Huizar, replace him on the council, raising money on her behalf.

Chiang is the third person in the City Hall corruption case to agree to plead guilty over the past two months.

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander, who represented the northwest San Fernando Valley, agreed to plead guilty to scheming to falsify facts in a probe of his acceptance of envelopes of cash and other gifts.

In addition, former City Planning Commissioner Justin Jangwoo Kim has agreed to plead guilty to a single bribery charge in a case involving a downtown real estate developer and a paper bag containing $400,000.

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