Here’s what we know about CD-12’s portion of the corruption investigation into City Hall

The+Los+Angeles+City+Council+voted+to+declare+a+fiscal+emergency+on+Wednesday%2C+saving+an+estimated+%2480+million.++

Logan Bik

The Los Angeles City Council voted to declare a fiscal emergency on Wednesday, saving an estimated $80 million.

A newly-established progressive political organization, the West Valley People’s Alliance, is questioning the leadership in Los Angeles City Council District 12 after former Councilmember Mitchell Englander pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents during a corruption investigation.

Council District 12 serves the Northridge, Chatsworth, Granada Hills, North Hills, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Sherwood Forest and West Hills communities within the San Fernando Valley.

The WVPA launched an online petition calling for an ethics investigation into current CD-12 Councilmember John Lee, who is allegedly implicated in the bribery scandal that landed Englander, his former boss, in cuffs.

Lee served as Englander’s chief of staff until June 2017. Lee won a special election to replace Englander on the council after Englander’s sudden resignation in December 2018. Englander had represented CD-12 since 2011.

The WVPA is calling on L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez to remove Lee from the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, also known as PLUM. Englander and Councilmember Jose Huizar of CD-14 served on the PLUM committee; both are facing racketeering charges after being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The focal point of the investigation into Englander is a trip to Las Vegas in 2017, where he accepted bribes.

The FBI outlined several attendees who were on the trip. “City Staffer B” is described in the grand jury indictment as “a high-ranking staff member for defendant Englander until approximately June 2017.”

Lee served as Englader’s chief of staff when the Las Vegas trip happened, but he was not named in the document. In March, Lee confirmed he was on the Las Vegas trip with Englander.

The WVPA have been advocating for the Northridge East Neighborhood Council Board Meeting agenda item that would send a letter of inquiry as to whether or not Lee was “City Staffer B” as outlined in Englander’s indictment. On July 6, the Executive Committee voted 3–1–0 in favor of inquiring.

We’ve compiled a timeline of events involving Englander in the City Council scandal, collected from the Englander grand jury indictment.

*The dates are approximations based on the information provided in the indictment.

Englander goes on a Las Vegas trip.

Additional attendees: 

“Businessperson A”

  • A businessperson who operated major business projects within L.A.

“City Staffer A”

  • City Councilmember A’s special assistant from June 2013 to January 2018.

“City Staffer B”

  • A high-ranking staff for Englander until approximately June 2017.

“Lobbyist A”

  • A lobbyist registered in L.A.

“Developer A”

  • A real estate developer and architect in L.A., who operated his own architectural, planning and development firm.
Englander accepts money
  • Englander accepts an envelope from “Businessperson A” with $10,000 cash in a bathroom of a resort and casino — also known as “the Resort and Casino” in the indictment.
  • “Businessperson A” provides the group, including Englander, casino chips to gamble. Englander is given approximately $1,000 in casino chips, but after gambling the casino surveillance cameras capture him returning the casino chips to “Businessperson A.”
  • “Businessperson A” is charged approximately $2,481 for providing dinner and drinks for Englander and other attendees.
  • In the evening of June 1, 2017 and early morning of June 2, 2017, Englander and attendees on the trip went to a nightclub at a different hotel.
  •  “Businessperson A” spends approximately $24,000 on bottle service and alcohol for the group and others. 
  • “Developer A” spends approximately $10,000 on bottle service for the group and others in the nightclub.
Englander gets a female escort
  • “Businessperson A” tells Englander that they’re going to order female escorts for the group. 
  • “Businessperson A” spends approximately $300 to $400 in cash for the services of two female escorts at the Resort and Casino. 
  • “Businessperson A” sends one of the escorts to Englander’s hotel room.
The FBI investigation into Englander begins.
Englander attends a golf tournament
  • At the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Palm Springs.
  • June 12, 2017 – Englander accepts $5,000 cash in an envelope from “Businessperson A” in a bathroom at the tournament.
Englander meets with with businesspeople
  • Englander, “Businessperson A” and “Developer B” meet for lunch with the purpose of introducing “Businessperson A” and their business to “Developer B.”
  • “Developer B” is a chief executive and owner of a construction company in L.A.
The FBI contacts staff
  • The FBI contacts “City Staffer B,” informing him that they’re seeking a voluntary interview regarding an ongoing investigation.
The FBI and U.S. Attorney Office begin interviews
  • The FBI and U.S. Attorney Office interview “Businessperson A” with their counsel present. The interview is about the federal investigation, including the Las Vegas trip.
“Businessperson A” cooperates with the FBI and USAO
The FBI and USAO interview “City Staffer B"
  • The FBI and USAO interview “City Staffer B” with their counsel present. The interview is in regard to the federal investigation, including the Las Vegas trip. 
The FBI contacts Englander to seek a voluntary interview with him.
  • Following the FBI’s contact, Englander sends a check payable to “Businessperson A” to appear as though he sent it for reimbursement of expenses relating to the Las Vegas trip prior to the FBI interviewing himself and “City Staffer B.”
“Businessperson A” receives a FedEx package with money from Englander
  • “Businessperson A” receives a FedEx package containing a $442 check from Englander dated August 4, 2017. 
  • The package also contains a second check for $442 from “City Staffer B” with the same date and a note that indicated the checks were for “Vegas expenses.”
The FBI and USAO interview Englander
  • The FBI and USAO interview Englander regarding the Federal Investigation, including the Las Vegas trip and interactions with “Businessperson A.” 
  • During his interview, Englander falsely states on multiple occasions  that he had not informed anyone — with the exception of his lawyer and wife — about his upcoming interview with the FBI.
During Englander’s fundraiser Englander tells “Businessperson A” to inform the FBI that they did not discuss their respective FBI interviews.
The FBI interviews Englander for the second time.
  • In his interview, Englander lied about whether he knew “Businessperson A” would be at his fundraiser, if he knew how much the Vegas bottle service cost and receiving other gifts.
Englander meets with “Businessperson A” in Englander’s car in downtown L.A.
  • Englander tells “Businessperson A” to “hold on” and turns on the stereo playing music at a high volume in an effort to obstruct possible listening devices. He drives in circles while discussing the Federal Investigation and their FBI interviews. 
  • Englander repeatedly instructs “Businessperson A” to lie to the FBI about discussing their FBI interviews, reimbursement of the Las Vegas trip, escorts and the use of Confide.
Englander announces his resignation from the council.
The FBI and the USAO interview Englander again
  • This time regarding the federal investigation, the Las Vegas trip and interactions with “Businessperson A” for the third time.
  • Englander resigns from his city council position, almost two years prior to completing his term.
John Lee replaces Englander
  • Lee wins the tightly contested special election against Loraine Lundquist, a progressive candidate and CSUN lecturer, to replace his former boss on the city council. 
The federal grand jury indictment is unsealed and Englander surrenders to the FBI.
  • Englander faces seven counts for obstructing a federal investigation and pleads not guilty.
  • Englander is released on $50,000 bail.
  • Lee admits in a tweet that he attended the Las Vegas trip, but allegedly knew nothing about the Englander scandal.
  •  
Englander accepts a plea agreement
  • Englander agrees to plead guilty to one count of “scheming to falsify material facts,” according to Department of Justice officials.
  • He admits to making false statements to the FBI and federal prosecutors on three different occasions in 2017 and 2018.
  • March 27, 2020 – Lee wins reelection, narrowly defeating Lundquist.  
July 7, 2020 – Englander pleads guilty in federal court.
  • Englander faces up to five years in federal prison, but prosecutors recommend no more than three years as part of his plea deal, according to the USAO. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28.
  • “I accept full responsibility for my conduct and I am truly grateful to my family and friends for their support,’’ Englander’s attorney said in a statement on his behalf. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to my community and helping others.”