California Governor Jerry Brown's Plan to Abolish Redevelopment Agencies: 1601 Vine Street in Los Angeles is Exhibit A

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 1:36 PM

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Los Angeles City Hall watchdog Jack Humpreville is making the case that Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to wipe out Community Redevelopment Agencies has an "Exhibit A" in the dubious money pit at 1601 Vine Street.

City activists uncovered a hidden appraisal that shows the CRA overpaid by $1.4 million for 1601 Vine. Yet the plan is to sell the $5.4 million land to developer Pacifica for just $825,000. Not a proud profit.

City Council President Eric Garcetti is pushing the project, ignoring piles of evidence that implies possible land fraud.

AKA The Cesspool on Vine or Vinegate is a speculative $57 million 8-story tower meant to serve the film industry. Now  it's back on the agenda for City Councilman Herb Wesson's Housing Committee tomorrow. But, of course there is more ...

Last time Wesson's committee discussed 1601 Vine, the time given to the issue was conveniently insufficient for critics who wanted to question rumors of potential fraud and cover-ups.

The project has bounced around in City Council and committee meetings since 2006.

Pacifica and its principals have been sued for fraud in the past.

As reported by CityWatchL.A.:

This comes just one month after Pacifica was foreclosed by Workers Realty Trust II, LP on one of its flagship projects, Albuquerque Studios. Just a few years earlier, in 2007, the majority owner of Culver Studios sued Pacifica Studio Equity Partners and its principals, Hal Katersky and Dana Arnold and accused them of fraudulently using money and the name of the historic Culver Studios to help get the Albuquerque Studios project off the ground.

Viewed by many as a slush fund Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the city council and buddies, the city's Community Redevelopment Agency is not scoring any points with the public by pushing its Vine Street Tower at 1601 Vine: despite spending millions, the CRA has not produced a stick of the proposed project.

Contact Mars Melnicoff mmelnicoff@laweekly.com / follow @marsmelnicoff

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