A company that planned a massive redevelopment project in downtown Los Angeles will pay more than $1 million after acknowledging that it was involved in bribing city officials, authorities said Wednesday.

Jia Yuan USA Co., based in Arcadia, reached the agreement to resolve its part in a federal investigation. The company won’t be prosecuted and will cooperate with the ongoing FBI public corruption probe, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced.

The company is a subsidiary of a Chinese real estate firm, Shenzhen Hazens, and was created to redevelop the Los Angeles Luxe City Center Hotel into a $700 million retail, residential and hotel space, authorities said.

George Chiang, a former consultant to the company, pleaded guilty to federal charges this year. He acknowledged helping funnel cash and services worth tens of thousands of dollars to former Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar and others in exchange for support for the project.

Huizar has pleaded not guilty to 34 federal charges, including racketeering and bribery. His trial is set for next year.

In its agreement, Jia Yuan USA acknowledged that its parent company helped pay for a trip to China for Huizar and his family and that an employee provided Huizar with $1,000 worth of Katy Perry concert tickets.

The company also acknowledged that some employees made campaign contributions to several U.S. political candidates and were illegally reimbursed by the company, and that the company hosted fundraising events for them at the hotel. The acts were at the direction of a foreign national who can’t legally be involved in U.S. elections, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The Original French Dip Of Los Angeles

Is open for dine in and take out.  10AM – 8PM

Don’t let Covid-19 stop you from enjoying one of the cities best with close friends.

 

Philippe’s “French Dipped Sandwich” is the specialty of the house and consists of either roast beef, roast pork,

leg of lamb, turkey, pastrami or ham served on a lightly textured, freshly baked French roll which has been

dipped in the natural gravy of the roasts. Swiss, American, Cheddar, Monterey Jack

or Blue cheese may be added.

 

To accompany your sandwich, or sandwiches, we offer a tart, tangy coleslaw, homemade potato and

macaroni salads, hard boiled eggs pickled in beet juice and spices, large Kosher style, sour dill or sweet

pickles, black olives and hot yellow chili peppers.

Philippe’s has been located in Los Angeles, CA since 1908 and at its current location on Alameda since 1951.

 

 

Nice Coffee recently announced on their Instagram that they would be re-opening to the public in a limited capacity.

 

 

Starting Sep 28th ||  Hours : 8AM – 2PM

515 S. Flower 90071

And it looks like they’re doing burritos on Friday again

 

 

Smorg Delivered by Grubhub

Order from some of your favorite Smorgasburg vendors

Saturdays + Sundays, 11:30am-8pm, now through November 1,

with free delivery straight to your door.

View the lineups and place your order on the Grubhub App or online.

Use code SMORG2020 for $5 off your first order of $15 or more.

>>CLICK HERE TO ORDER <<

 

 

Ori

Photo Credit: LA Times

 

Original Article Credit: JAMES QUEALLYLEILA MILLER For The LA Times

 

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shut down a months-old protest encampment in downtown L.A.’s Grand Park early Sunday in a move that activists criticized as retaliation for recent protests of a deputy-involved shooting.

The encampment first appeared in Grand Park across from City Hall in June amid protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It was cleared out around 3 a.m. after deputies declared an unlawful assembly in the area, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Authorities said the action was taken because of “deteriorating conditions” in the park. They denied it was connected to the shooting of two deputies in Compton late Saturday or recent demonstrations against the department in South L.A. after deputies shot and killed bicyclist Dijon Kizzee. On Friday, deputies in riot gear surrounded a peaceful news conference held by some of the same demonstrators.

Protests near the South L.A. sheriff’s station over Kizzee’s killing have drawn hundreds of demonstrators, including those affiliated with Black Unity L.A., the protest group that had also been running the encampment.

In its statement, the Sheriff’s Department alleged that “illegal narcotic activity, vandalism and graffiti” had become an issue near the encampment. About 25 protesters and 11 homeless people were in the encampment when it was cleared. One person was arrested for trespassing, the Sheriff’s Department said. The park will be closed for an undetermined period of time.

 

Several activists remained in the area for several hours to protest the dismantling of the encampment. Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, 34, an activist who sometimes livestreams from protest scenes, said deputies blocked him and another reporter at a barricade from getting close enough to film the eviction of the protest site. He stayed near Spring and 1st streets for several hours until, he claims, LAPD officers began chasing him without warning and tackled him to the ground.

“They started grabbing me by the shoulder and sort of violently dragging me across the street — at which point the pain became extreme,” said Beckner-Carmitchel, who told officers that he had a torso injury from an earlier protest.

Beckner-Carmitchel lost consciousness and was later hospitalized. Officer Mike Lopez, an LAPD spokesman, said two protesters were arrested for failing to disperse but could not confirm details of Beckner-Carmitchel’s injuries.

 

 

For months, the group had been occupying a fenced-off section of Grand Park, hosting movie nights, training seminars for medical aid during protests and other educational events.

The group’s demands included an end to the practice of qualified immunity for police, which shields officers from civil liability for some of their actions; eliminating the L.A. Unified School District’s campus police; increasing deescalation training for law enforcement; and opening all police discipline records to the public.

In August, organizers with the group said about 30 people were directly involved with the site, with about 15 spending their nights there. The encampment had its own kitchen and a donated library, as well as lounges erected inside the area it had fortified with barricades and wooden palettes. Members could often be seen giving food to nearby homeless people and had also organized visits to skid row to provide services.

The area surrounding the encampment, however, had become increasingly filled with homeless men and women over the summer, and had begun drawing the ire of community leaders. The downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council expressed frustration with the encampment, and some local residents grew worried after Los Angeles police responded to a reported sexual assault in a public restroom near Spring Street earlier this summer.

 

Around the same time, signs warning that the encampment was illegal were posted near Grand Park at the direction of the Sheriff’s Department.

By late Sunday morning, the park had been fenced off completely. With the exception of a few collapsed tents and remaining garbage, most signs of the encampment had been taken away.

Roxanne McQueen, a Black Unity L.A. activist who has been there for months, said she awoke around 3 a.m. to someone shaking her tent and looked out to find at least 20 deputies in riot gear standing near the entrance to the park.

She said the protesters were given 15 minutes to gather all their belongings before deputies moved in. McQueen said deputies seized anything left behind, which included stores of water and food that Black Unity has shared with nearby homeless men and women in the past, as well as the community library. A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about what was done with belongings or perishables left in the park.

 

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE

 

 

The Avenue 26 Tacos team has expanded into a brick and mortar restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. The new setup lands at 816 W. 8th Street, near the corner of Figueroa and 8th in the building next door to Fogo de Chao.

 

While dine-in service is not currently allowed in California, the restaurant space does boast a small indoor seating area as well as a large kitchen, with the usual menu that moves from tacos to quesadillas and burritos. The team even showed off the new digs on Instagram over the weekend.

 

Just like everyone else, Avenue 26 has been forced to rethink its business model after reportedly losing half of its sales almost overnight, starting back in March. The incredibly popular Lincoln Heights setup spent years as a series of interconnected stands, serving hundreds a night even as they fought off occasional shut-down notices from the city. Now the family-run business is thinking more broadly, selling tacos at the original Lincoln Heights address as well as from the street in Eagle Rock and, currently, at the restaurant in Downtown as well.

 

 

Original Article Credit :  NBC4 LA

 

Ex-Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal criminal charge for obstructing an investigation into whether he took cash, escort services and other gifts from a businessman involved in major real estate development projects in the city.

Englander is among four defendants to agree to plead guilty in the continuing federal probe of City Hall that ensnared Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar — and will be the third to formally enter his plea before a judge.

The former councilman faces up to five years in prison on the single count of scheming to falsify material facts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A sentencing date will be set by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter after the plea is taken.

 Sentencing was set for Sept. 28.

 

Englander issued a brief statement through his attorney after the hearing.

“I accept full responsibility for my conduct and I am truly grateful to my family and friends for their support,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to my community and helping others.”

 

 

Englander represented Los Angeles Council District 12 in the San Fernando Valley from July 2011 until he resigned two years ago after investigators began asking questions about his activities.

Among his other duties, Englander, 49, served as the council president pro-tempore and was a member of the powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), which oversees many of the city’s biggest commercial and residential development projects.

According to his plea agreement, Englander, of Santa Monica, schemed to cover up cash payments, costly meals and other gifts offered to him from a businessman who operated companies in Los Angeles relating to big development projects and sought to increase his business opportunities in the city.

Two months after a Las Vegas trip with Englander and others in 2017, the businessman began cooperating with the FBI in an investigation focused on suspected pay-to-play schemes involving Los Angeles public officials — and made secret recordings of Englander’s interactions with him, federal prosecutors said.

Huizar, the central figure in the five-year probe of City Hall, is charged with accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects. Huizar, who was suspended from the council following his arrest last month, said he “intends to respond to the government’s allegations in court,” not in the media, according to his attorneys.

Huizar represented downtown L.A. and was the chairman of PLUM. After FBI agents raided his home and offices in November 2018, Huizar was removed from his committee assignments, including his role in the land use management committee. He is scheduled for arraignment on July 20.

 

Richardson Downtown LA

 

Streetwear brand Richardson expands its reach beyond New York and Tokyo, this time to downtown Los Angeles, California. The label is set to open its latest retail venture in the booming Arts District, neighboring with cafes, restaurants and local supporters from Little Tokyo and Skid Row.

Richardson’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection continues with an exclusive selection of chino shorts, all subtly branded with the recognizable logo embroidery positioned atop the rear zippered pocket. Beige, black and blue colors offer options for those looking at casual shorts this blistering summer. Alongside the bottoms, Richardson also releases its latest Hardware tee, with the new location highlighted across the back in traditional form.

 

Richardson Downtown LA

 

The new location and its coinciding T-shirt is featured and modeled by actress Julia Fox, who recently appeared in the Safdie Brothers’ hit hustle film Uncut Gems. The tee arrives in a heather grey color with bold black font across the front. The back dons the new shop’s location and phone number.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the shop will be open for curbside pick-up on July 7. The location will also honor phone orders as well as email orders placed with [email protected] Its hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. PDT.

Richardson Downtown LA

Richardson Los Angeles
311 Avery Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: 323-300-6024

If you’re unable to stop by the store, the products are also now available at the Richardson Online store. Recently, Richardson’s US Brand Manager Ian Anton remarked on our article how retail stores need to reinvent themselves amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Original Article Credit:  By   For The Architects Newspaper

Downtown Los Angeles’s A+D Museum, a home for progressive architecture, avant-garde exhibitions, and speculative futures, has announced that it will be closing its physical home and “decentralizing.”

Yesterday, June 17, the museum posted the following announcement on its website:

“The A+D Museum is thrilled to announce an organizational restructure that reprioritizes our audience and impact through exploratory programming through digital platforms and short-term community-driven physical exhibitions and events to reach a more comprehensive, increasingly inclusive audience. As a means of reaching a wider, increasingly inclusive audience and engaging new communities, we are excited to move on from our singular physical presence and advance into our next chapter of the A+D Museum. We thank you, our audience and our supporters, for your ongoing participation and look forward to going on this new venture with you. Visit our redesigned digital home with our news, updates, and projects going live on July 1, 2020.”

What this means in practical terms is that the A+D Museum will now host all of its exhibitions online after July 1, and for real-world shows, will stage temporary pop-up installations in L.A. and beyond, including in Detroit, Miami, and elsewhere across the United States.

 

The museum’s executive director Anthony Morey told the Los Angeles Times that although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic played a part in the transition, the museum had been planning this move for a while; the downtime afforded by their closure and seeing how other institutions pivoted to offering their exhibitions online helped speed the decision along.

“The world of creation, collaboration and experimentation was,” Morey told the Times, “for a long time, defined by a physical presence, sitting at a table working together and being present.” He added that the museum’s experimental and contemporary focus would only be enhanced by the move, as the medium and message converged (not having to pay rent for the building anymore is plus, too). Rather than enacting layoffs, the museum will also be expanding and hiring four full-time staff members, including a new digital researcher. This will be the second move in recent memory for the museum, as it hopped from Wilshire Boulevard to the Arts District in 2016. The institution’s current home will be emptied by the end of June.

The museum’s Future of Space exhibition has already begun the transition to the virtual realm, and installation shots are viewable on the digital gallery site.

 

Original Article Credit:  ABC 7  Los Angeles

 

Activists on Saturday toppled a statue of Junipero Serra, widely regarded as the founder of the California Missions, from its perch on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Video footage tweeted by local news outlet L.A. Taco captured a group of demonstrators hauling down the controversial statue with a rope around its neck. The hands and head of the statue were seen covered with what appeared to be red paint.

“Natives just tore down the statue of Junipero Serra at Placita Olvera in solidarity with #BLMprotest #antiracism #antislavery,” the tweet read.

Serra was an 18th Century Franciscan priest responsible for founding nine of the 21 Catholic missions in California with the aim of bringing native peoples into the fold. The assimilation and exposure to foreign diseases ultimately led to the destruction of indigenous tribes across the region.

Community activist Joel Garcia said the statue of Serra was targeted because it represents mass incarceration.

“Mass incarceration, as it exists now, began with the Mission system and California has its own legacy of slavery,” Garcia said. “The legacy of policing that we see now began through the mission system so it’s important to reconcile with that, to understand that, the Serra statue represented all of that.”

 

Pope Francis canonized Serra back in 2015, which was met with backlash from the Native American community.

In San Francisco, demonstrators also tore down statues or busts of Ulysses Grant, the missionary Serra and Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” and was a known slave holder.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Metro and the city of Los Angeles are partnering to improve 5th and 6th Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The goal is to enhance mobility and safety for the thousands of people who walk, bike, roll, ride transit or drive in the area. Up to 80 buses per hour use 6th Street and up to 70 buses per hour on 5th St.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has been supportive of the project, which advances the goals of Executive Directive 25, L.A.’s Green New Deal.

The 5th St/6th St Improvement Project is located between Flower Street on the west and Central Avenue on the east, and will make needed road improvements and add bus only lanes to the corridor, as well as protected bike lanes from Spring Street to Central Avenue, to better connect the eastern portion of downtown to the rest of the bike lane network.

 

Moving from west to east, StreetsLA construction crews began their repaving work last week on 6th Street and will be working on 5th Street this week. Construction activity* will continue through the end of the month, and is scheduled for weekdays only from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In early July, LADOT will begin restriping the lanes and installing bus only lanes and protected bike lanes on both streets. (*Please note this schedule is subject to change.)

This project is one of the many recommendations resulting from the Bus Speed Engineering Working Group, authorized by the Metro Board of Directors and the L.A. City Council in July 2019. It is a collaborative effort between Metro and LADOT to identify, design, fund and implement transit supportive infrastructure to speed up transit service as part of the NextGen Bus Plan.

 

 

 

A real estate development consultant has pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge for his role in a pay-to-play scheme at City Hall allegedly tied to now-suspended Councilman Jose Huizar’s approval of large building projects in downtown Los Angeles.

George Chiang, 41, of Granada Hills pleaded guilty via videoconference Friday to one federal count of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars. Because of his cooperation, Chiang is expected to receive a far lighter penalty when he is sentenced on Feb. 22.

Chiang is among four defendants to agree to plead guilty in the continuing federal public corruption probe of City Hall, and was the second to formally enter his plea before a judge.

 

The central figure in the five-year probe, Huizar, was arrested Tuesday and charged with accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects. Huizar, who was suspended from the council following his arrest, said he “intends to respond to the government’s allegations in court,” not in the media, according to his attorneys.

Chiang admitted in his plea agreement to playing a role in a scheme allegedly run by Huizar in which a Chinese real estate company bribed city officials in exchange for approval to build a 77-story skyscraper in the councilman’s district.

 

Huizar represented downtown L.A. and was the chairman of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), the powerful panel that reviews the city’s largest development projects. After FBI agents raided his home and offices in November 2018, Huizar was removed from his committee assignments, including his role in PLUM.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said the continuing probe has exposed “significant and blatant corruption” at City Hall, and indicated more charges could be forthcoming.

Huizar is scheduled for arraignment on July 20.

Earlier this month, Justin Kim, a former City Hall fundraiser, pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge for arranging a $500,000 bribe for Huizar.

 

Kim’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17 but prosecutors have asked for a six-month continuance because they plan to call him to the stand if Huizar’s case goes to trial.

Former Huizar aide George Esparza agreed last month to plead guilty to the racketeering conspiracy count and has been cooperating in the investigation. A date has not yet been set for Esparza to plead guilty.

In March, ex-City Councilman Mitch Englander separately agreed to plead guilty to scheming to falsify facts in a probe of his acceptance of cash and other gifts from a businessman — the same one accused of bribing Huizar. He is expected to enter his plea on July 7

 

 

Bodhi Bowl Closes Downtown LA DTLA

Original Article Credit : Veg Out LA

Downtown LA’s beloved Bodhi Bowl is closing for good. *Sigh* This vegan fast casual spot was opened three years ago by the wonderful Alison Cruddas. She had been working as a private chef for vegan clients and decided to open Bodhi Bowl to extend her reach by providing healthy plant-based options for people in the area, vegan and non-vegan alike. And that’s exactly what she did! Bodhi Bowl has offered a safe, welcoming environment with nutritious meals for all people––and pups!

The decision to close Bodhi Bowl came about in response to the citywide shutdown. “Downtown is pretty deserted and my customer base is just no longer there, as the majority of my customers are office workers. COVID has taken its toll on us all in DTLA,” said Cruddas.

The doors to this fan-favorite vegan haven will permanently close Thursday, July 2nd. Cruddas shared, “I want to say how humbled and grateful I am by all the love and support I have received these past three years of my Bodhi Bowl journey. It has been incredible, and I hope that I can take that love and give it back in whatever I do next.”

What’s next? Cruddas told us she hopes to open Bodhi Bowl again at another time and place.“Providing healthy vegan food and making people happy is my mission in life, so I will definitely be doing something very soon!”

Stop by Bodhi Bowl before their official closing for the last hurrah––and grab a few to-go meals while you’re there! Bodhi Bowl is located at 645 W 9th St #107, Los Angeles, CA, 90015.

 

 

Original Article Credit: For Abc7 News

 

One of the oldest music stores in DTLA, The International House of Music, Inc., was ransacked by looters over the weekend, who stole an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Employees at The International House of Music, Inc., started cleaning up the shattered glass and destruction left by looters after the store was ransacked Saturday night.

“We just went through COVID and we were just barely about a week opening in, trying to get back in, trying to get our employees back in,” said Oscar Naranjo Jr., co-owner of the store. “We got to move forward and now with this, it’s hard.”

The owners estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was stolen from the music store.

“It’s mixed feelings because they didn’t take everything, they didn’t burn it down. So, we’re grateful for one thing,” said Naranjo. “But the reality is they did … it’s not just on TV anymore, it’s real.”

The looters left a large display of guitars nearly empty, but they didn’t ransack the entire store. The acoustic room, with about $150,000 worth of equipment was untouched. According to the owners, the lights were off in this room and the door was closed.

“There were items in here from other stores. Some bags,” said Naranjo. “Mixed in with shoes thrown everywhere. Because maybe they had one pair of shoes and they’d rather take a guitar than a shoe.”

The store will temporarily be closed to the public until it’s safe to reopen, according to the owners.

“It’s so many mixed feelings. We understand why this is going on and I think there needs to be a change,” said Naranjo. “But I don’t think this is the right way.”

The business is one of the oldest music stores in Downtown Los Angeles — which dates back to 1902.

During the LA riots, individuals shattered the windows but didn’t ransack the store, according to the owner.

“We don’t know exactly why they stopped at breaking the windows in 1992,” said Naranjo. “We were blessed for some reason, and we’re still blessed that the store is still standing after what happened last Saturday night, too.”

The owners moved in October 2019 to their new location in the Fashion District.

 

 

As thousands of demonstrators continue to take to the streets throughout Southern California to protest police brutality after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, public health officials said people should take precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19.