Now there has been some discussion about how certain of our august state legislators, for various reasons, might have been just a little too close to the company behind this football mall. And that ties to Ed Roski, both owner of the stadium and the shopping emporium's developer Majestic Realty, were in some cases just a little too close for ethical comfort. And perhaps nobody was any closer to Ed Roski than our very own State Senator, Fightin' Bob Huff.
On its "Leftovers from City Hall" blog, the sgvtribune.com lays it out this way:
I spoke with State Sen. Bob Huff Wednesday, who was less than pleased over allegations he had a conflict of interest when casting a vote in the Senate last week ... The vote in question was a procedural one to help move an environmental bill to the Senate floor. Problem is, that environmental bill -- which passed -- will exempt a proposed NFL stadium in Industry from state environmental laws ... Members of the Citizens for Community Preservation Inc., which has a lawsuit filed against the stadium, said the vote was unethical because Huff and his wife's involvement in Industry and (with) the stadium's developer, Majestic Realty ... Huff called the allegations "about as bogus as the lawsuit," and said he consulted with legal counsel, who told him there was, in fact, no conflict ... Huff said he originally was not going to participate in the vote at all. But then he was asked to step in, and even the Senate President -- along with others -- told him there was no legal conflict ... He didn't vote when the bill finally hit the floor.
So how close are old Bob Huff's connections to Ed Roski and Majestic Realty? Hand in glove, apparently. An article in the SGV Tribune from last August ("Lawmaker, wife both lend support to Majestic's NFL stadium project") shared these insights:
But it wasn't a simple vote of support. Huff's wife, Mei Mei Huff, has worked for Majestic since 2001, Huff said ... As Majestic sought support for its stadium proposal, Mei Mei Huff led the charge in the San Gabriel Valley's vast Asian community.
And then there is this:
Mei Mei Huff is a senior vice president at the Pacific Palms Resort, a 650-acre resort which sits on land owned by Industry. The property and its facilities are master-leased by Majestic, its CEO Roski and the company's Vice President John Semcken under a partnership called Majestic Hills, LLC.
Care for one more?
Last year, Mei Mei Huff's two businesses reported receiving income from Roski's Majestic Realty Co. ... Mei Mei Ho and Associates, her business consulting firm based in Diamond Bar, reported income of $10,000 to $100,000 through late February, with one of the identified clients as Pacific Palms Resort/Majestic Industry Hills, LLC, according to the most recent financial disclosure reports ... The business was "disposed" in February 2008 and replaced with another business consulting firm, Mei Mei Ho Consulting, LLC. The state senator reported the company's income was over $100,000 beginning Feb. 20. Two of its identified clients are Majestic Realty and Pacific Palms Resort/Majestic Industrial Hills, LLC, records how.
My my (or should that be Mei Mei), that sure is one squeaky close tie between Big Ed's operations and the Bob Huff family. Like perhaps a direct financial tie with a stake in future profits? And we certainly can't see any conflict of interest whatsoever in the Huffster voting to further the empire of Ed Roski now, right? Naw, not one little bit. And then there is this:
During his successful senatorial campaign last November, Huff received $28,200 from Majestic Realty and its representatives, according to state campaign records.
Listen, if every state legislator who received money from Roski had recused themselves from voting on Big Ed's stadium and rather large shopping emporium, there wouldn't have been enough folks left over for a hand of bridge.
There was a great comment attached to the original sgvtribune.com cite I quoted from at the beginning of this post. Its author, James I. Flourney, pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as I am concerned. Here is what he had to say:
Legally Huff may get a pass. I understand that the Citizens (for Community Preservation) have filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) ... Ethically Huff failed to live up to community standards. Huff's wife works for Pacific Palms which is owned by Majestic and Roski. California is a "Community Property State." ... Huff said he was conflicted but when faced with the choice of following the rules or suspending the rules, Huff voted to suspend the rules thus bypassing sending the bill to committees which which would have given it the hearings it deserved ... Bob Huff must resign ... "Huff said he was not going to participate in the vote at all." This was the correct choice ... "But then he was asked to step in." By whom? Steinberg? Romero? And why? Because if he had not fallen on his sword for Majestic the vote would have failed ... Senate leadership should re-examine its procedures if the allegations about Huff's vote are even remotely true ... Who's legal counsel did he consult? Majestic's? Getting political cover does not make his vote ethical ... Bob Huff must resign.
Sacramento is just so disgraceful.
Oh, and speaking of disgraceful, here's something from one of my favorite inspirational blogs, Orange Juice. Apparently when you're an elected state official in California, the gifts just keep on a-coming.
State Legislators have spent over $3 million on luxury cars since 2007: Our state is broke, but we have spent over three million dollars over the past three years providing luxury cars to our state legislators ... Republican State Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, who represents Chino Hills and part of Chino on the western end of our county, drives a Cadillac CTS that cost the state $41,300, including $4,226 for upgraded wheels and Bluetooth, according to an L.A.Times report.
Sacramento issued IOUs to school teachers because there wasn't any dough to be found there, but they still managed to secure a few bucks to keep Fightin' Bob stylin' around the Valley in a top of the line convertible Cadillac with tricked out wheels and a really cool state of the art remote dial cellphone.
Here's a site you just might want to visit ...