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Developers Donate a Third of Heilman and Land's Campaign Funds

A Patch analysis of the latest finance reports reveals the percentages, highlighting a particularly contentious issue in the City Council election.

Developer dollars account for almost a third of incumbent campaign donations and more than a third of incumbent  election funds.

That’s what Weho Patch discovered after examining the campaign financial statements of the incumbents running for re-election in the March 8 City Council race. At a , City Council candidates were asked how much of their campaign finance funds came from developers. Land, Heilman and fellow incumbent Lindsey Horvath all responded that they did not know the numbers.

According to Patch calculations, $29,480, or 32.72 percent of the $90,107 that Land has raised, comes from developers and their associates. 

Of the $67,220 that Heilman has collected, $25,250 or 37.56 percent is developer related.

Horvath has a total of $74,928, according to her financial statements. Some $18,025, or 24.06 percent, came from developers and associates.

Campaign financial statements are available on the West Hollywood City Hall website. Election finance laws require the candidates to list any donation of $100 or more on their Form 460 financial statements. Those forms name who made the donations, along with their occupation if an individual made the donation.

In determining the percentage of developer dollars given to the candidates, Weho Patch counted developer donations as well as contributions from land use and real estate attorneys, lobbyists for developers and architects —all people who have a financial interest in property development. Some of the donors were clearly listed as developers on the Form 460. For others, we researched the donor names to determine their occupations and connections to developers.

The contributors include major development companies doing business in West Hollywood, including Casden Properties, Monarch Group and Centrum Properties.

Other donations came from individuals such a Ronald Haft, CEO of Combined Properties; Jason Illoulian of Ivy Property Group, an emerging development company who is also a board member to the Weho Library Fund and The Avenues; and Sol Barket, developer for Centrum Properties, which is location on Sunset Boulevard.

Some donations were bundled together with wives and daughters also contributing. The Mani Brothers, with real estate interests on Sunset Boulevard including the 9000 Sunset building, and their relatives gave a combined total of $1,500 to the Heilman campaign, $2,000 to Land and $2,000 to Horvath.

Behnam Soroudi, who has interests in both real estate development and management, and his relatives contributed a combined $2,000 to Land’s campaign fund, $2,000 to Horvath’s and $1,500 to Heilman’s. 

Lawyers representing real estate interests show up prominently as well among the donors. Todd Elliot, a real-estate attorney with Truman & Elliott involved with several proposed Weho developments, donated $500 (the maximum allowed for an individual) to both Heilman and Land’s campaigns, while his associates gave another $500 to Land, $500 to Horvath and $250 to Heilman.

Real-estate attorney David Eichman made $500 donations to both the Land and Heilman campaigns and $250 to Horvath’s. James Arnone, a land-use attorney with Latham & Watkins who also serves as treasurer in the Weho Library Fund Board, provided $500 to Land and $250 to Horvath. Jeff Haber, another influential land-use attorney with Paul Hastings LLP, donated $250 to the Heilman campaign, $250 to the Horvath campaign and $500 to the Land campaign.

Chris Bonbright, Weho Library Fund board chair and CEO of Ramsey-Shilling, a commercial real estate brokerage firm, provided $500 to the Heilman campaign.  

Jeffrey Seymour, a lobbyist for realtors with Seymour Consulting Group and Weho Library Fund board secretary, gave $500 to Land and $500 to Heilman.

Ira Handelman, a lobbyist from Handelman Consulting known for representing developers, shows up on all three candidates' contributor lists, while Jorge Flores, another developer lobbyist, appears on two.

For at least five years, some Weho residents have repeatedly accused the incumbents of being beholden to developers for their sizable donations. The critics say the incumbents have voted to approve major developments such as Casden’s twin tower 10-story, mixed-used project at Movietown Plaza (Santa Monica Boulevard at Poinsettia) despite the objections of residents.

Steve Martin and John D’Amico, both candidates for the City Council, have been especially vocal in their accusations against the incumbents during this election season. At the Feb. 16 debate, while Martin charged that Land and Heilman are in developers’ pockets.

Heilman, who has served on the council for 26 years, and Land, who has been on it for 18 years, have denied the allegations. But they have not elaborated on the connection between the donations and their votes. Horvath, who was appointed to the council in May 2009 to fill the seat left vacant by the death of longtime Councilman Sal Guariello, has never faced the voters and has never had to raise campaign funds before.

At the debates, the challengers also . D’Amico said about $5,000 of his $92,187 came from developers. Martin said he has taken no developer money, but has received money from lawyers and lobbyists. However, he failed to give a dollar amount.

Scott Schmidt reported that he has received no developer money while Mito Aviles has vowed not to accept any developer donations. Both Lucas John and Mark Gonzaga have filed forms stating they will not raise or spend more than $1,000 on their campaigns. 

The incumbents’ financial statements also raise the issue of rent on their campaign offices. The three share campaign headquarters at the Casden-owned Movietown Plaza (site of the ). Horvath lists her portion of the rent as $2,133. Land lists rent and utilities as $6,100. Heilman lists no expenses for the campaign headquarters.

Candidate Schmidt filed a letter of complaint with City Attorney  regarding this apparent discrepancy (along with several other issues) on Heilman's financial statements. So far, the Heilman-Land-Horvath camp has not responded to the complaint.

Although the amount of developer dollars in this race has become a campaign issue, other donations to the incumbents could suggest campaign contributions don't necessarily guarantee city business.

Towing company Johnson’s Super Service gave $500 to both Heilman and Land (and nothing to Horvath), but still lost the contract for city towing late last year.

On the other hand, the financial statements list Gary Minzer, president of Hollywood Tow, as donating $500 each to Land, Heilman and Horvath. And the company that ? None other than Hollywood Tow.  

The election will take place March 8.

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Bob February 25, 2011 at 04:01 PM
The Towing Companys show up with Free Booze every year to West Hollywood City Hall and the Sheriff Station. In return the Towing Companys get to treat you like crap and you cannot do anything about it. How much sympathy are you going to get from a cop who has a battery and wheels on his car given to him for free from that Official Police Garage. The towing companies hook the cops and city officials up with nice cars that have been impounded and not paid for. Anyway this is how it works.
CR February 25, 2011 at 05:22 PM
This is why I'm voting for Lucas John.
David Bonfiglio February 25, 2011 at 06:43 PM
They gotta go!
Bob February 26, 2011 at 06:26 AM
There are about 200 power brokers in West Hollywood. You have to figure 200 at most. Most likely 20. If you figure each Politician took in $100,000 and devided that by the $500 cap I believe you would come up with 200 people who will get their way in WeHo every time. Then you have to figure that some of these 200 are really just 1 who had 20 of their friends hand in the money in $500 increments for 1 donor. So maybe we have 5 individuals and 15 unions who really pull the strings in WeHo that make things happen. There should be a law that an official police garage contracted by WeHo cannot give money to our rotating mayors. That is such a conflict of interest. How is that an open competing contract?
Brian Hamilton February 26, 2011 at 09:26 AM
I'm on a No-Incumbent Diet. Say goodbye to shameless corruption and vote for change!
Ed Buck February 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM
And of course there is all that soft money that Land and Heilman will ask for special projects, like the free clinic where Abbe works, the African Aids cause Heilman likes, and the lilbrary etc.
Shawn Thompson February 26, 2011 at 05:12 PM
Land, Heilman and Horvath get caught with their hands in the build more condos cookie jar. Vote them out March 8th. 10 days left till elections.... Dirty Money can never get cleaned
Bob February 27, 2011 at 04:20 AM
I was looking at the position that Heilman, Land and Horvath have on No on A. It turns out that No on A is brought to you by the sign companies themselves. There is a sign company on Workman Avenue who has been donating money to these 3. It's all a big hoax that these 3 are looking out for us. No really means Yes. Yes really means No. www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=80 http://www.weho.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6639
Bob February 27, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Land Horvath and Heilman are taking money from CBS outdoor lol All these Democrats are telling me to vote No on A when A is really CBS outdoor. https://www.cbsoutdoor.com/ http://www.weho.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6639 www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=80
Bob February 27, 2011 at 04:30 AM
www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=80 Check this out. Concerned Neighbors against Large Billboards is really just CBS Outdoor Company. Follow the address to workman avenue on the form they submitted which is the LA headquarters for CBS outdoor.
Nancy C. Rodriguez February 27, 2011 at 05:21 AM
Hi everyone, I wanted to let you all know that we've updated two details in this story to reflect other connections these donors have to the city. James Arnone,who's a land-use attorney with Latham & Watkins, also serves as treasurer in the Weho Library Fund Board and provided $500 to Land and $250 to Horvath. Another detail worth pointing is that Jason Illoulian who works for a development company, is also a board member to the Weho Library Fund and The Avenues district. Links are below: http://weholibraryfund.org/about/team http://avenueswh.com/meet-the-board
Bob February 27, 2011 at 05:33 AM
I noticed that the Iranian Jewish Temple on Crescent Heights gave money to land heilman and horvath. In the past the city of west hollywood has had the taxpayers paint the exterior of their temple. So I guess $1500 can get you a $10,000 paint job on the backs of ordinary taxpayers. I wish WeHo would stay out of the religion business. http://www.weho.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6643
me February 27, 2011 at 09:16 PM
well, as much as we're all bitching about these 3 in here, it doesn't seem as though anyone (including myself) has organized a rally before the election to educate people as to how their city is being ruined....happy to participate, but i can't do it alone folks!
Bob February 27, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Not everyone is in a position to expose their identity who complain here. They will try to shut you down and use the Sheriff to harass you. Some people have more power just being anonomous. You have to realize that if you have a business in WeHo that you are at their mercy. The renters have the most power because they are not exposed financially. Retribution is hard to achieve.
Ali February 27, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Bob, how do you know who paid to have the Temple painted? Just because somebody took money from "friends of" doesn't mean anything. Politicians everywhere take money from religious organizations everywhere. Just another case of your antisemitism speaking. If it was a church group, I doubt you would be bringing it up. Yes, I am generalizing just like you do in every thread in the Patch.
Ali February 27, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Vote all incumbents out!
Bob February 27, 2011 at 10:46 PM
I know for fact in the past that City Tax Dollars have been used to paint this temple. All you have to do is ask. It was told about in the throw away paper. It has nothing to do with Anti Semitism. It has to do with painting the temple at tax payer expense in the past. When I saw on the WeHo site that this temple has paid $1500 to the big 3 incumbants it all makes more sense. Why do you keep on stalking me and calling me anti semite? That is an old trick to deflect from the truth. Benard Madoff was the biggest scammer in US history. Does this make 1 a biggot if they bring up this fact? THIS TEMPLE HAS HAD THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD TAX PAYERS PAY FOR EXTERIOR REFURBISHMENT. THIS TEMPLE AS ALSO DONATED TO THE BIG 3. I WAS JEWISH BY THE WAY FOR THE FIRST 40 YEARS OF MY LIFE. I EVEN WENT TO HEBREW SCHOOL AT THIS TEMPLE. Now you need to quit calling people that you do not know anti semites. I know it is hard but try it out in small steps. Call up Abbe and Heilman and ask if city dollars have ever been used to fix up this temple and then sit down and start listening to me in the future after you learn that I know what I am speaking about.
W February 28, 2011 at 09:25 AM
bob youre a crazy person so i reluctantly enter the ring, but i must point out just a few facts: have you bothered to notice that the temple youre referring to has donated to steve martin, scott schmidt, and other anti-incumbents? have you bothered to note that the primary offical of the "friends of the iajc" (mike nazarian) has further donated to anti-incumbent candidates? have you bothered to consider that it is 100% illegal for taxpayer money to pay for improvements such as painting so not only that beth hollywood jewish temple would lose its non-profit status but also the city of west hollywood would be on the hook? have you bothered to consider that, while you claim the city does whatever the beth el temple wants, that it held hearings and the temple appealed/sued (i think) about what it is allowed to do? have you bothered to consider that perhaps you simply dont know what youre talking about and need to forget how to type?
With_an_E February 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM
dont we suppose that, perhaps, someone who believes in west hollywood might (perhaps) both take an interest in our public facilities and (therefore) our leaders? James also serves on the APLA Board, are we to presume that the APLA has approval authority over condos? James is gay and educated and a lawyer. He may live in Malibu, but maybe he has a personal (private) interest in what the "gay" city does, in addition to his job. Many of us watched the "Sunset Doheny" hearings. James is apparently close with the library, but I know i saw when John H said "this is the same team that brought us sunset millennium" we need to question them.... and I saw Richard W's discontent. So much for favoritism. And btw: per WH Patch records: he gave 500 to land but 250 to horvath... the conclusion is obvious. maybe more was given. but when the money actually ISNT given generically across all incumbents (even by a lobbyist) and when the same "lobbyist" was run thru the ringer by our city council, maybe we have cause to suppose that our council does not in fact serve at the pleasure of business interests. maybe they are doing their best to hear business interests and consider neighborhood priorities. and, side note, only one candidate has a history of that experience (besides incumbents due to position): John D'Amico.
Bob February 28, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Boy did I strike a Nerve when I mentioned that the city of west hollywood taxpayers have had their taxes used to spruce up the exterior of the Jewish Temple on Crescent Heights and Fountain. You need to find out the truth. Almost 10 years ago a church in WeHo that was built in the early 2os that is used mostly for AA-NA meetings went to WeHo and said we are broke, would you please repaint our whole church. The Church was historical looking so WeHo granted them the money to repaint the exterior. Not to long after this the Jewish Temple said hey we want a paint job too. I am not sure if they got a complete paint job or new windows. I remember something about the windows being replaced in the throwaway paper. My position is that no taxpayer monies should be used to repair homes of G-D. Just by accident I saw that the Iranian Jewish committe is the same address of where I went to Hebrew school 50 years ago. I knew it was the temple right away. I find it a conflict of interest that the WeHo 3 is taking money by the same building that they gave tax dollars for repairs. Why not verify this for yourself instead of calling me Anti Semite. Anti Semite is overused and tired. Everytime you call someone an anti semite you cheapen the memory of 6 million who perished under Nazism. It's the same as crying wolf and you are just driving ordinary people to the point where they do not care anymore. It's the same as playing the race card during the OJ trial.
Donna Warren March 05, 2011 at 05:14 PM
In a later article, the incumbents vowed to keep housing affordable. That's a laugh. The incumbents are in the pockets of the big developers. They have no intention in turning down their masters. For WEHO, it is best to get rid of Heilmann, Land, and Horvath. And beware of challengers who are also in the developers' pockets. It is best to vote for a candidate who knows the pain of high rent. Check out "Your Rent Is Too Damn High, Says Vulcan" (www.markgonzaga.com) and vote for the only candidate who will truly represent you - Mark Gonzaga!
Bob March 05, 2011 at 05:47 PM
I was thinking this over. They make laws against development and then take money from developers to undo the laws they made. Sounds like old fashion Mafia racketeering- RICO. Why blame the developers? If the mafia comes to your pizza parlor and says you need to pay us $500 every week or you cannot do business why blame the pizzaria.
joninla January 28, 2012 at 06:42 AM
From what I researched so far, I think the whole b.s. "affordable housing" was all about taking advantage of the Redevelopment Agency Money the state was giving out in the Millions (until this month when the State Stopped the Redevelopment Agencies & the Money). The problem is not with the City applying for Redevelopment money (had that been what's been going on). Rather because the Developers $ got the elected, the city would misuse the Redevelopment Money as follows: There were major 'incentives' for Developers to build IF they "included affordable housing units" ... They they could bypass regular zoning & increase size & profits if built "multi-use" projects with the "affordable units". That would increase the profits to the developer by up to 30%more at the cost of a few 'low income units'. But to make bigger bucks, the Developers got the City Council Member to build the required 'low income units' on City Owned Land, so the developer wouldn't have to actually include those "low income units" in their new giant buildings (jons market & carl's Jr. projects). The Council was basically giving away city property so the Developers could build these giant complexes that nobody wants to or can afford and choose to live it. The Developer/Contractor pads the bill (they always do) and when no sales are made when done, the developer walks away & the State is stuck with the bad loan.
joninla January 28, 2012 at 06:51 AM
The whole incentives I mentioned included countless requirements with precise size, set backs, height variances, which are extremely complicated to understand. But as far as I can figure, among the requirements for the massive jons & Carl's jr projects was an "additional Parking" within a certain distance from the project. I believe it is those 69 spots on the City Owned Plummer Park that is driving the crazy and unrelenting secret pushing of the $41 million for the underground parking disaster for Plummer Park. All other suggestions for the already received approved $41 Million dollars for improvement within the eastside area have been dismissed or ignored or lied about. It seems there must be the creation of parking 'for undisclosed purposes, to wit: the already begun jons&carls jr projects, that were only approved because the City committed to assuming the Developers Requirements under the Redevelopment Money they got, to build a specific number of new parking spaces within the very tight boundaries the City has said is the only area the $41 Million could be used to improve the Eastside. Destroying Plummer Park is not an improvement to the Eastside. It is nonetheless so important to the City Council that they are ramming the plans through (see the latest EPA report that was liked earlier). what's really going on is what needs to be cleared up.
joninla February 06, 2012 at 03:24 PM
A little late - but HERE IT IS. Latham & Watkins represents not just the wealthy developers, but the so call 'non-profit' who's purpose was to build low income housing units on the "Tara" property. Lawyers, by law (Ethics Laws that come along with the fancy License to Practice Law) can not represent any clients who have any possible conflicts of interests. They are totally 'in bed' with The Major Developers, AND the 'non-profit' that took the case to the CA Supreme Court, and lost! AND 5 'ATTORNEYS WORKING FOR THE SAME LATHAM & WATKINS contributed to the Campaign for John Heilman. There is either a major breach of ethics by the most prestegious Law Firm in LA - or .... THERE IS NO CONFLICT BECAUSE THEY ARE REPRESENTING ONE INTEREST - THAT OF THE DEVELOPERS, THE NON-PROFIT AND THE CITY COUNCIL OF WEST HOLLYWOOD. There is only one way they could do that. They would have to be acting together in a fully disclosed agreement to have Latham & Watkins represent their mutual interests and goals without even a potential for a conflict of interest arising over a multi year (decade?) City Planning and Building Program. That would be corruption, I do believe (others call it a crime or criminal offense by an elected official). It a theory - but I don't see any other reason that a firm could have such involvement with different 'clients'.

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