The history behind LA City Councilman Jose Huizar’s corruption scandal

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Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar listens to public comments before a City Council vote in Los Angeles, California, July 24, 2012. Federal agents arrested LA City Councilman Jose Huizar earlier this week on racketeering charges. . Photo by John Alcorn/Reuters

Federal agents arrested LA City Councilman Jose Huizar earlier this week on racketeering charges. He’s accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts from real estate developers in exchange for getting their projects approved by the city.

These are big developments with big money behind them — a 35-story tower in the Arts District, for example, or a 77-story skyscraper backed by a Chinese billionaire. 

A decade ago, the parts of downtown LA with these mega projects were not part of Huizar’s district. 

In 2012, the city’s council districts were redrawn, a process that happens every 10 years. That’s when Huizar became the representative for most of downtown, and that laid the groundwork for the scandal unfolding today.