Monday, July 20, 2009

The El Monte Transit Village: Sacramento Decides To Hang On To Its Money

It looks like Titan Development could very well lose a big reason for its existence. Along with a project that SCAG showered a lot of its waning prestige upon. And the City of El Monte is not very happy about it, either. The reason? It looks like Sacramento doesn't want to fork over about $40 million in state grant money because the project's developers were arrested last month for fraud, embezzlement and theft. And then there is that money already allocated.

Imagine. So when did that ever stop them before?

The Mercury News published a story on this topic last Friday called Developer arrests could halt $1 billion El Monte transit project. And for those among us who might have despaired that
we weren't going to be hearing anything more on this affair, well, read on! It's Monday, and what better day to have your faith renewed?

EL MONTE - The $1.2 billion Transit Village project failed to get two state grants totaling $40 million because of the recent arrests of the project's developers ... John Leung, president of the El Monte-based Titan Development, and Jean Lang, another Titan executive, were arrested last month on felony charges ... "We lost the grant funding because John and Jean were arrested," Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki said.

The consequences of the loss of this money and a previous grant could include the demise of the Transit Village project.

City Manager James Mussenden said now he wants to protect what money the city has secured - a $26.5 million grant awarded last year by the state. "If this money ends up being taken away, we will have just walked 10 years backwards." (and) The state told El Monte officials on June 25 that despite having a strong grant application, that it would not be awarded the grant because of the recent arrests of Leung and Lang, Mussenden said.

Now we here at The Tattler had cynically assumed that we'd heard the last of John Leung's travails, and that because of the nature of the relationship between big redevelopment concerns, Sacramento, and the other concerned parties, this matter would simply disappear into the governmental void that devours all such things. But according to this article that is not necessarily the case, and there really is some hope for future excitement.

While Leung and Lang were previously considered flight risks, El Monte Police Capt. Marcy Vail said she doesn't think that is a problem now because the pair surrendered their passports to the District Attorney ... Three weeks ago Vail said it would only require an additional couple of days to investigate a last minute tip that surfaced while detectives were filing their case with the District Attorney's office ... But with the investigation stalled and funding apparently drying up, police are refusing to release the victim's names, and detectives continue to investigate ... "It is a paper intensive case," Vail said on Thursday. "I expect them to file again by the end of next week ..."

Now there is something here that begs for speculation. If El Monte needs this project as much as certain members of its city apparatus claim, why did their Police Department put this project in danger of fiscal strangulation by arresting John Leung? Can it be that the police there operate entirely independent of such concerns, and just go about the business of law enforcement with little regards to any of the more political concerns? Can there be something else at work here?

Remember, a large amount of cops were recently laid off in El Monte due to the City's precarious financial condition, and by taking out Laing they would have gone straight at the very core of the city and business establishments there. Very much a devastating surgical strike if that is what they're about these days.

The enquiring minds here at The Tattler will be looking for more breaking news on this matter as the week goes on.

25 comments:

  1. Sacramento hanging on to its money really is quite an
    occasion. Particularly in a case like this. I notice that in
    the cited article there is the distinct possibility that this
    could enable El Monte to sever its relationship with
    Titan and find a partner less burdened to work with.
    Quite a little situation going on here.

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  2. I guess the C.O.O. Mr. Bart Doyle, a major player is busy these days.....

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  3. Now is the perfect time to organize a State wide group to fight SCAG and the development plans of Sacramento to over run small towns.
    It's time to get out of SCAG. That's our declaration of "war" against the Bart Doyle influence in Sierra Madre.
    It needs to all end now!

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  4. This is unheard of... Sacramento is actually doing the right thing. The citizens of El Monte have really dogged a bullet and most of them don't even know it. The project is not dead yet.

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  5. I suppose this means Darth Doyle will be turning his attention back on Sierra Madre.

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  6. Pasta, I don't think Sacramento is doing this because "it's the right thing to do." Sacramento is doing this because it's broke.

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  7. California Political Rule #1...Don't mess with police unions, prison guard unions, teachers unions,nor the Cal-Trans behemoth if you aspire to be elected to more than dog catcher.*


    * to keep this in the forefront of your mind make Stubby Kayes "Sit Down Yer Rockin' The Boat" Your campaign jingle!

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  8. If you're not rocking the boat you aren't dealing with reality.

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  9. God works in mysterious ways his miracles to perform.

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  10. I've always thought that the best part of Deism is that God is far too busy with more important things than to spend His time messing with the likes of us. All the chaos and seemingly inexplicable stupidity being our doing alone.

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  11. BK, the last guy that rocked the boat was Der Gubenator when he took on the Teachers union......It ended badly for him. Here in "Kahlifornia" you play ball or you're up poop creek.

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  12. Arnold lost his re-election campaign? Hmm. Lot of folks are going surprised when that leaks out.

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  13. Is their such a thing as a Cities Bill of Rights?
    Maybe we should ???

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  14. The latest thing from Sac is they're going after CRA money. They want everything we have, right down to how we plan for development. Sacramento wants us broke and defenseless.

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  15. Hmmmm.....must be a national epidemic of it this year.

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  16. According to the Housing California Coalition that would be $1.7 billion in redevelopment money. Which would mean that our good buddies like the BIA inspired organizations like SCAG, SGVCOG and the rest of the property snatchers would be hard pressed to come up with the dough to pay for someone's house should they decide to take it through eminent domain.

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  17. There are victims in this case, who brought forth serious charges against a business partner/s.

    This is not a good sign to anyone in the financial community. All the developing has not reaped 10% percent of the profits promised, The city of el monte cannot unload all the private property they eminently domained. They had meetings outside of council meetings to discuss the potential litigation arising from this Titan, John Leung fiasco.

    Remember the feds have looked at this case, the charges are indicative of the profile of a grifter. If money is involved and the criminal charges won't be acccepted by a DA, there are still ample civil grounds to be pursued by the victims.

    The good for all becames the selfish gain of few. The rock has been lifted away..

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  18. Anon at 5:02....thanks for the interesting information.
    I know Sir Eric and readers will be looking forward to updates on this story.

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  19. The most valuable commodity Los Angeles County has now is land. Development here is more profitable than just about anywhere else in the country. Unfortunately land is very scarce due to the fact that the place is just about as built out as it could possibly get. But that hardly gets in the way of our friends. They just take it.

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  20. 5:32, yes indeed.
    A developer, testifying to the safety and soundness of building in the Very High Fire Hazard Zone, Earthquake Fault Zone, and Flood Plain Zone known as One Carter, actually threw out an off the cuff observation during the hearings:
    All developers in California are desperate for land.

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  21. They had to be desperate. The site is atrocious. And look at what's going on, some guy has been selling 29 lots for weeks now and not a single one has been taken!

    Might be good for growing grapes, tho. One Carter Chianti!

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  22. Not sure the soil is conducive to the finer vintages.

    But maybe we could be able to market our own local variety of 2 Buck Chuck? We could call it 2 Chuck Buchanan.

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  23. 5:43... how do you know for certain none of those properties are in escrow, do you have some inside info, are you in bed with the developer, not all transactions are of public purview until either closing or recording....

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  24. The number on the sign hasn't changed. Doh!

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  25. Dude's got a point, guy. If they sold a lot or two, wouldn't they change the number on the sign? At least to give the impression that they were shifting some dirt? Yeah, I don't think its the big secret you make it out to be, 7:33. I think if the Ho had sold some of those overpriced dust patches, he'd change that number in a heartbeat. Last thing he'd wanna do is let everybody think nobody wants them.

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