HARBOR GATEWAY (CBSLA) — A real estate developer — whose $72 million apartment complex in the Harbor Gateway area was approved three years ago by the Los Angeles City Council — was charged Friday, along with his secretary, with using straw donors to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of more than a half-dozen local politicians.
Samuel Leung, 67, and Sofia David, 58, are charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit campaign money laundering, and he is additionally charged with a felony count of offering to bribe a legislative body member. He faces up to four years and eight months in state prison if convicted as charged, and David would face a maximum of three years in custody.
The complaint alleges that the contributions included payments to candidates for office, re-election campaigns and payments to political action committees and office holder accounts, including a political action committee with ties to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The LA DA’s office says Leung’s goal was to get plans approved for the apartment complex in the Harbor Gateway area. Garcetti is not accused of any wrongdoing by the DA.
Garcetti in San Diego reacted to the money laundering charges.
“Folks who broke the law need to pay the consequences of the law,” said Garcetti. “Actions should have consequences and today we’re seeing that.”
Leung was released on his own recognizance by the judge in the case.
“Over a seven-year period beginning in 2009, tens of thousands of dollars were allegedly contributed by more than two dozen people and companies connected to Leung. The donations went to the campaigns and officeholder accounts of eight Los Angeles area politicians,” the LA County DA’s office said in a statement.
Those politicians included now-LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, five LA City council members and a political action committee with ties to Mayor Garcetti. None of the politicians are accused of breaking the law. The project was approved.
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