Former top Los Angeles City Council adviser Jose Huizar agreed to plead guilty to beating up an ongoing $ 1 million bribe investigation.
33-year-old George Esparza is Huizar’s closest advisor among the four who pleaded guilty to the investigation.
In his plea agreement, he will admit that he’s trying to sell influence to property developers between 2013 and 2018 in order to get cash, luxury travel, and political donations. One of them was the billionaire of a large Chinese real estate company that, according to the Los Angeles Times, allegedly spent more than $ 1 million in bribes for a planned 77-story skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles.
Esparza left his job in the city in 201
Esparza told investigators that he “personally accepted at least $ 32,000 in chips, plus private jet and commercial airline flights, luxury hotel stays, expensive meals and alcohol, spa services, event tickets, and escort services,” according to the US law firm .
Prosecutors allege that Huizar, who was not mentioned in court documents and was not arrested or charged, led the program.
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Esparza also said he helped Huizar grant a $ 570,000 loan that the City Council, according to The Times, used to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against him during his 2014 re-election campaign.
Huizar’s lawyer did not comment on the Times.
Huizar chaired the city council’s powerful planning and land use management committee until 2018, when he was deprived of these and other responsibilities after FBI raids on his home and offices.
He is being examined further and some colleagues have asked him to resign.
A real estate developer, political fundraiser and former city council member Mitchell Englander have also agreed to plead guilty in the investigation.
Esparza and Carillo were both reprimanded by assembly spokesman Anthony Rendon for inappropriate behavior in February, including an unwanted hug and kiss from the assembly woman, and sexual comments from Esparza.
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Esparza will plead guilty to extortion charges up to 20 years in prison. He also agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.