The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is currently investigating bribery allegations made by Randy Wang against city officials.
Wang, the owner and developer of the Piazza at Temple City, accuses councilwoman Judy Wong, councilman Dave Capra and then-Mayor Cathé Wilson of bribery in a September 2008 counter-suit against Temple City.
The developer alleges he gave $13,000 in cash to Wong, Capra and Scott Carwile, a former city council candidate during the March 2007 elections. Carwile was then politically allied with Wilson. Wang also accuses Wilson of requesting a condominium in exchange for support of the Piazza project.
The Pasadena Star News reported on December 17, 2008 that the D.A.’s Public Integrity Division had officially begun investigating the allegations.
“No reportable action was taken by the [City] Council” said Joseph Buchman at the December 16 City Council meeting. Buchman, of Burke, Williams and Sorensen, LLP, was hired in 2008 to represent the City.
The City Council plans to “cooperate fully with the D.A.” added Buchman. On Monday, December 15, City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin and all five city councilmembers testified before a grand jury.
The Piazza at Temple City, formerly known as the “Piazza Las Tunas” and “Temple City Galleria” has broken ground twice. The project once promised 52 one-bedroom condominiums and a large shopping center.
On December 2, the City Council voted 3-2 to send the Piazza back to the Planning Commission for review. Wang and his third construction management team had hoped to remove the residential condos because of the bad housing climate.
“It is my opinion that the applicant should submit a new ‘planning application’ and apply for a conditional use permit” wrote Community Development Manager Joe Lambert in the December 18 City Manager’s Weekly Report.
Lambert noted the Piazza team would need to file an updated mitigate negative declaration and conduct two new studies for traffic and parking and shadow and shade.
Randy Wang has until August 23, 2009 to complete the Piazza development as originally proposed. If it is not complete, the City has the option to purchase the 3.7 acre lot for $5 million.
This article was written by Randy Shun. It was published in the Temple City Voice on March 27, 2009.