Real Estate Developer Pleads Guilty On RICO Charge, In Latest City Hall Corruption Investigation Twist
A Granada Hills real estate developer will plead guilty in connection with a scheme to bribe public officials — including an unnamed member of the Los Angeles City Council — to smooth the passage of real estate projects.
George Chiang, 41, agreed to plead guilty, according to documents filed in federal court today. The public officials involved in the scheme netted cash, consulting fees, concert and game tickets, and political donations as part of the scheme. The court papers detail how the city councilmember accepted bribes from a Chinese real estate business, for which Chiang consulted.
Chiang became a "close political ally" of a city councilmember on the powerful Planning and Land Use Management Commitee, a release from the Department of Justice said. He also worked closely with a longtime city employee who became Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.
No date has been set for Chiang to enter his guilty plea. When he does, he will face up to 20 years in federal prison.
Chiang is the third person to plead guilty to a felony charge as part of a wide-ranging F.B.I. investigation into corruption at Los Angeles city hall. Former Councilmember Mitch Englander pled guilty to obstruction of justice in March.
In 2018, the FBI raided the home and office of Councilmember Jose Huizar, who then sat on the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, as part of the corruption probe. Huizar has not been charged with a crime, and continues to represent the 14th District.