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L.A. Developer Caught Making Illegal Campaign Donations
Investigative journalism by David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes has led to criminal charges, after "[p]rosecutors with L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey's office charged Samuel Leung, developer of the 352-unit Sea Breeze project, with one felony count of conspiracy to commit campaign money laundering and one felony count of offering to bribe a legislator."
Zahniser and Alpert Reyes broke the news about the criminal charges last week, but their reporting in October 2016 paved the way for the corruption charges. Here's how last week's article describes the affair:
The filing comes more than a year after a Los Angeles Times investigation showed that more than 100 donors who were directly or indirectly connected to Leung had made donations totaling more than $600,000 to L.A.-area politicians while his Sea Breeze project was being reviewed. Of those who donated, 11 denied making contributions or said they didn't remember doing so when contacted by The Times.
The Sea Breeze development is currently rising from the ground. "Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council backed the project in 2015, changing the zoning so that it was no longer designated for manufacturing," according to Zahniser and Alpert Reyes.
The article examines how much campaign funding was directed by Leung to Los Angeles politicians, but so far there has been no political or legal fallout from the ongoing investigation by prosecutors.