Something “doesn’t smell right”

 
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Here’s a sneak preview of a story we’re running next week out of La Puente.

It seems a mysterious contract is stirring up some serious drama, and forcing some officials to question whether those in City Hall are being influenced by outside consultants.

The entire debate surrounds a $400,000 consulting agreement proposed to the Charles Co. by Alliance Services Group.

The agreement, dated March, proposes that Alliance Services Group will provide services “to finalize the Development and Disposition Agreement” between the city and the Charles Co. in exchange for $400,000.

A DDA, in case you didn’t know, is basically a final contract between a city and a contractor for work. No backing out, essentially.

Alliance Services Group is a subsidy of Industry-based Del Terra Group, Inc., which in March, went up for a job to perform a citywide review of La Puente’s existing service contracts.

They dropped out of the running the night the council was slated to make their decision.

The council is divided on whether they believe someone in City Hall brokered the deal, though Councilman John Solis is sure someone did.

Councilwoman Lola Storing said she wants the DA and the city to look into it.

“It doesn’t smell right,” she said.

Look for the story next week.

  • Anonymous

    The Charles Co. is a shady company. Here in WC, they hired Councilman Mike Touhey to “finalize” deals. He got paid thousands!

    Sound like they are spreading the wealth.

  • bp.res

    Ive heard about the Charles Company. Here in Baldwin park they have a project that has been stalled for years. I hope LP doesn’t make the same mistake.

  • Doesn’t smell right?

    Have you checked your shoes?

  • http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com West Covina Watcher

    You know it doesn’t smell right. The Charles Co. is super shady. Back in the day, they bought some property up in the Big League Dreams area in WC for a f$%*ing STEAL. $1 million bucks for FOUR acres. And, here’s the kicker, that property never went out for a competitive bidding process. Oh wait, there’s more: the reason WHY it didn’t go out to bid was because Charles Co. needed to meet a 60-day deadline for tax reasons. Since when are developers’ tax breaks a concern for a city to forgo due process? I guess when Mike Touhey’s clients are concerned, the city bends over.

    Backwards.

  • Captain Red Legs

    Sounds like Touhey and the Charles Co. are tied to someone in La Puente and they both are getting PAID.

    Its no secret that Charles Company is Mike Touhey’s client and that they will stop at nothing to “influence” Council members to get their projects done.

    ALL CITIES should steer clear of this shady company, the Charles Company.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting comments! The only Councilperson in La Puenter connected to Mike Touhey is John Solis, the biggest supporter of the Charles Co. Maybe Councilwoman Storing is right; maybe we need an investigation of both this contract but also the way Charles Co. was selected by Solis and friends years ago.

  • Bobby

    Interesting comments! The only Councilperson in La Puenter connected to Mike Touhey is John Solis, the biggest supporter of the Charles Co. Maybe Councilwoman Storing is right; maybe we need an investigation of both this contract but also the way Charles Co. was selected by Solis and friends years ago.

  • West Covina Wetter

    YES INVISTIGATE. Call Steve Cooley

  • John solis

    FIRST of all pay attention to the story its not about the charles co or touhey or solis its about someone who offered the charles co a contract (give me $400.000
    and i will help you get the contract) well with solis and storing already supporting it a third vote had to come from somewhere and out of 9 people bidding on the project and charles co paying the most and bring in the most sales tax wouldnt you support it probally not you would be in favor of what the other council members wanted small comercial and housing oh did i leave out they wanted 9 million from the city for that .NOT ME i want the best for my residents that means whoever brought in the most sales tax most money from the tax incerments and the least amount of help from the city

  • Anonymous

    People should really look at this company, Del Terra Group. Sounds like whoever wants to do business in La Puente must go through these guys.

    This company stinks, along with those council members who are supporting them!

    We hope to see what the real shake down is.

    I truly beleive that John Solis and Lola Storing are looking out for our community and whats best.

    Keep asking those tough questions!

  • La Puente Resident

    What other cities are they involved with the Charles Company??? I hope other cities don’t get caught up witht his Charles Company. The District Attorney should be called in immediately. Why are these other elected officials involved in dealing and representing the Charles Company? Oviously there is big bucks to be made. This sounds rotten to me.

  • Anonymous

    Will anyone get to the bottom of this?

  • Anonymous

    Charles Company is the one that brought the issue to the attention of the city in the first place and they got nothing but bad publicity for it. Keep your eye on the ball people- Del Terra!

  • bp.res

    You are right; something does not pass the smell test here. Take a look at John Solis campaign records and you will find that Excel Property Management, a subsidiary of Charles Company, funded Solis and Mike Touhey in West Covina with thousands of dollars to run their campaigns. It sounds like Charles Company is a pro at buying influence. Its not surprising to me that the Charles Company is now trying to buy influence in La Puente. Maybe John Solis is involved. His best friend Mike Touhey was paid over $100k to bring Wal-Mart into Baldwin Park. Touhey could now be working La Puente through Charles Company and John Solis (his best friend).
    On another note, after listening to the audio for this council meeting I noticed that John Solis said had seen the contract. Carol said that she had not shown anyone on the council the contract. Who showed him the contract if no one else on the council had seen it? Sounds like Charles Co has been busy.
    Keep up the great work Tania.

  • http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com West Covina Watcher

    I don’t know who “Friend of West Covina Watcher” is, but you are the BOMB! Thank you for reading my blog. I hate to burst your bubble, though. My name’s not Fred. Feel free to email me anytime.

    And yeah, that John Solis (who I do have to admire for posting on this blog) is Bad News Bears. I think any elected official with such strong ties to major developers is sketchy. It NEVER smells right.

    And bp. res, I have to concur. Tania Chatila, along with her colleague, Jennifer McLain, are doing a great job with this blog. It’s more interesting than the paper! (No offense, hard-working journalists)

    And yes, read my blog:
    http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    West Covina Watcher I have to agree with you. While I have to admire John Solis for posting on this blog, I didn’t understand what he was saying.

  • Food for thought

    If what you all claim to be true of Mike Touhey of West Covina and John Solis of La Puente where the heck is newly elected Cooley? These questionable plays by city elected officials should be made public. Their political campaign filings will show just that.

  • http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com West Covina Watcher

    Food For Thought, the reason is Mr. Touhey’s been called a lot of things and stupid has never been one of them. He skates a very, very thin line between legal and illegal (considering his girth I know that sounds like a feat in itself). He manages to avoid “conflict of interest” according to the letter of the law, but he is the King at finding loopholes and profiting from them. The voters saw that in 2003 and ousted him from office. However, people have short memories and vote according to what they find in the mail. Considering Touhey spent about $130,000 to fund a campaign for a seat that pays roughly $700-$1,000 a month, he “informed” the voters well. And, John Solis is his protoge. I’m sure he knows the tricks of the trade by now.

  • West Covina Wombat

    I have lots of time on my hands.

  • john solis

    People what dont you understand charles co touhey solis is not the scope of problem .The problem is someone ask for $400,000.00 TO HELP GET THEM A CONTRACT IN LA PUENTE.Touhey dont vote in la puente Storing AND solis already voted yes before someone asked for $400.000.00 the question is why with the vote only 3 days away would a contract come in place .THIS IS THE PROBLEM THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT. WHO BROUGHT THE CONTRACT ?WHERE DID THEY COME FROM AND HOW DID THEY GET INVOVLED IN THE CITH WITH THE VOTE ON THE CONTRACT ONLY 3 DAYS AWAY WHY WOULD SOMEONE ASK FOR $400.000.00 this is what needs to be answered

  • Anonymous

    OK, tell me that the person that wrote the John Solis post on June 17 at 8:59 p.m. really isn’t a La Puente Councilman? What an embarrassment! If this is the best La Puente can do, maybe they deserve all the drama at city hall. La Puente voters should feel proud that this is what represents you. If a few of you had voted for David Argudo, at least you would have a Councilman who can spell, type and write above a third grade level.

  • La Puente Resident

    Nevermind who can or can’t spell. The issue is corruption at best. Both Touley and Solis have had problems in the past. This is not new at all. Where these two are involved controversy follows. That should send out bells and alarms to all involved. Be careful withthe Charles Company. See who is on their payroll. They also have other companies that are under the Charles Compay. We are watching you Mr. Solis.

  • JOHN SOLIS

    Oh well is that he best you can do dont hide behind a fake name.The election is a little over a year run for a seat. If you can do better everybody complains but who is out here tring to get thing done.Yes iam the councilman and i stand by my record and votes i have never been the subject of a DA INVESTIGATION can anyone else say that and while you are watching contracts and contractors doing work in LA PUENTE look who are getting all the money in there campaigns after contracts are signed

  • Watch out La Puente

    I have followed the election in La Puente for the last 10 yrs.I in the past did not vote for MR SOLIS a little ruff on the edeges for me.When my family had problems with code enforcement. MR SOLIS was the only one to help us no one would return our phone calls.So lets watch La Puente but watch the right ones…..

  • Ty Coon

    Solis, you sounds too defensive. You are hiding something.

    Stop associating with the Charles Company. They, like you are shady.

  • Save La Puente

    Whats going people listen to facts.A local company who has relationships to other councilmembers.The del terra co approached the charles co and offered to help with contract for $400K.All the charles co had to do is place in an escrow account the monies.Thats not the way consultants do business.Without a scope of service. If the contract got apporoved Del Terra would recieve the 400k.Now on Fri April 18th there was a phone call to Charles Co telling them they had untill 5pm to sign deal.They didnt.Mon April 21st MAYOR LUJAN called a special meeting closed session to discuss Charles Co contract.Why The next day it was on the agenda to sign deal did someone not get paid,and the city mgr and attourney were told to leave the closed sesion Lujan Wanted to dicuss the contract hiself.Now whats going on

  • Anonymous

    Either the post by “Save La Puente” was also written by John Solis or he has a clone who also cannot write? How does this person know about a deadline on April 18 and a phone call from Del Terra to Charles Co., must be an insider with Charles Co? And to assert in an earlier post that he (Solis) has never been investigated by the DA, well read the BLOG post by Tania Chatila dated Feb. 22, 2008 titled “Councilman by Day, Club Boss by Night”. To find it, just put the name Solis in the search bar at the top right of this page. It will take you to a lot of BLOG entries where you can page down to the second from the bottom. In the BLOG entry, click on the words “has been known” in blue. It takes you to a disturbing LA Weekly story about where Solis works and his activities titled “Taming the Wild 740 Club”. Once in that story, click on the words “Politics Meets Street” in blue in paragraph 6 to go to a second disturbing story about Solis. Mr. Clean seems to be rolling around in the gutter and seems to know way too much not to be involved with Charles Co behind the scenes. I too demand an investigation, one that includes Charles Co., Del Tera, City Hall, John Solis, Louie Lujan and anyone else who is a part of this mess. I hope La Puente cuts all ties with Charles Co. and Del Terra and can find contractors who don’t play these types of games.

  • CITIZENS AGAINST JOHN SOLIS

    John Solis, you work for the Charles Company and are a Bouncer at the 740 club. You have no credibility.

    You are hiding your ties to questionable characters by deflecting the blame from yourself on to other people.

    When you associate with shady developers like the Charles Company and support shady candidates like David Argudo in the last election, your credibility is questionable.

    We too hope La Puente cuts all ties with the Charles Company ans starts from scratch! A complete investigation should be launched on you Mr. Solis! and your ties with Mike Touhey, the Charles Company, and your ties with Mr. David Argudo (your candidate).

    When you two came to my door asking for my vote, I got a funny feeling; it has now been confirmed.

  • Cheese Head

    Rumor has it that Mayor Pro Tem Holloway knows more than he is sharing.

    What is he hiding? Does he have ties with the Charles Company too?

  • http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com West Covina Watcher

    I think I understand what Mr. Solis is saying (it’s kind of tough with all the spelling, syntax, grammatical and punctuation errors), but I’m inclined to say that this deal is just as sketchy as any other associated with the Charles Co. True, Charles Co. is the “victim” in all this, but to go to bat the way Mr. Solis is for a developer seems foul. The councilman doth protest too much. (It’s a Shakespeare reference, Councilman)

  • Dan Holloway – La Puente Mayor Pro Tem

    Just got a call from a friend who told me to look at this item on the Leftovers from City Hall BLOG, wow this story is really out of control. What a mess. If anyone is really interested on what is happening with all this, don’t just read the comments on this Blog, instead also go to the La Puente City web site at http://www.lapuente.org and listen to the actually City Council Meetings. Under the City Government tab select City Council and select “Listen to Audio” for the June 10 meeting. On the agenda that comes up on the right select “Recess City Council and Convene the Community Development Commission.” The tape of that meeting will start. Move the time curser to 1:31 to hear the discussion of the item in question. Please note that the only reason these facts about the contract between Charles Co. and the other company came to light is because I asked pointed questions of Charles Co., our attorney and staff. Mayor Lujan also asked followup question on the key points. After being told more than once they didn’t want to talk about this, the truth finally came to light. Cheese Head asks if I know more, if I am tied to Charles Co. too. Listen to the tape, my only concerns are the negative impact these rumors have on the reputition of La Puente and giving the Charles Co. a multi million dollar subsidy that Council Members Solis and Storing support. I obviously don’t know as much as Charles Co., Councilman Solis or our City Manager. I’d like to know more, but Charles Co. does not want to share, although they already did share with our City Manager and others. The truth is on the tape.

  • West Covina

    Rumor has it that the Charles Company is now in South El Monte dealing with a Luis Aguuiniga and a Hector Del Gardo through an introduction by Mike Touley of West Covina. Is it true?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Mr West Covina Watcher: I dont sit at my computer with a dictionary and a bag of popcorn and probally a diet coke to look up words to impress iam who iam am (Popeye)I dont hide behind a name iam out doing my best for my residents .I dont boast about any degree but if you are looking for a trust worth person who gets done what he says.and you can count on his word then iam your man .I do believe in my councilmembers to do the right thing and get to the bottom.We are all different people but we all believe in the best for the city .We might not always agree but we do take issue by issue.Werent you the one who in West Covina who were against tough rules for child molesters.I would hide my name too i might not cross all my t’s and dot my I’s but you know where i STAND.

  • S. El Monte Watcher

    Yes! this is true!

    Actually, Mike Touhey and John Solis introduced the Charles Company to Luis Aguuiniga and a Hector DelGado.

    John Solis and Mike Touhey are getting paid on this deal.

    The Charles Company has this lady, Sarah Margano as their front person. Her and John Solis are rumored to have somthing going on.

  • La Puente Watcher

    Wasn’t it Mayor Louie Lujan who’s wife and mother in-law and father in-law who were charged and convicted of voter fraud in the city election. Actually Louie Lujan introduced the Del Terra Group Luis Rojas to Councilmember Dan Holloway then someone paid $8,000. for a mailer on Dan Holloway’s behalf to Colour Graphics which the DA is looking at currently. Was that the Del Terra Group? Wasn’t this group the same one that was removed in the Santa Ana Unified School District for questionable practices? Why are they no longer working in Hacienda La Puente Unified, Rowland Unified and Montebello Unified. What would be interesting to see would be Louie’s cell phone records and credit card charges. Remember the questionable charges which he blamed Councilmember Roger Hernandez for! I heard the Sheriff’s Dept is looking at Louie right now for some issues! What for Louie tell the Public?

  • La Puente Watcher

    Its always interesting finding out what council members do if anything for a living besides representing our local cities.

    In La Puente, John Solis has publicly said that he is a general manager for Los Angeles nightclub 740 Club and its parent company Entertainment Company LP1.

    A couple of interesting things here. First of all, 740 Club has been known to be a hot spot for gang members and politicians quite the crowd if you ask me.
    And secondly, it was pointed out to me by a source that Entertainment Company LP1 doesnt seem to exist in Los Angeles Countys DBA listing. But 740 Clubs liquor license is granted to The Entertainment Group TEG Inc. based out of Whittier.

    Regardless of what the firms real name is, the issue brings up the question of whether council members should draw the line with certain lines of work. Is it completely professional for a councilman to run a night club known for drawing gang members? Is it professional for council members to be running nightclubs at all? What other jobs might potentially give off the wrong impression for elected officials?

  • La Puente Watcher

    Taming the Wild 740 Club

    City investigating politically connected nightspot that draws 1,000

    By JEFFREY ANDERSON

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007 – 3:00 pm

    A decisive move by Councilman Jos Huizar spells trouble for the rowdy 740 Club, a notorious gang magnet on Broadway in downtowns historic core that until recently was frequented by Huizar and a number of other local politicos.

    The question is, what took him so long to act, and how did the club, whose owner, Ralph Verdugo, was chased out of Whittier two years ago for running a violent nightclub and convicted of hosting illegal stripteases, set up shop in Los Angeles in the first place?

    Public officials wont say much, yet some answers are in the City Planning Department and Building and Safety Department files. Given some of the figures associated with the property at 740 S. Broadway, such as an influential architect and a powerful developer who owns the building, the 740 Club is a prime example of the flawed system for approving entertainment venues in the reawakening downtown.

    In a May 21 letter to the citys acting chief zoning administrator, Michael LoGrande, Huizar wrote, Club 740 has become a nuisance and has been connected to a number of violent criminal incidents. Please immediately engage with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the City Attorneys Office to investigate the club with consideration to revoke [its] Conditional Use Permit.

    City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is taking action against the club under the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program, the letter states. Revocation of the conditional-use permit would prohibit alcohol sales, which could force the owner, Verdugo, out of business. Delgadillos office would not comment.

    Yet Huizar was not the first to act. LAPD Captain Andy Smith says he has been after the owners for more than a year to clean up the 740 Club, which the L.A. Weekly exposed in April as the scene of a recent gang-related killing, a suspected sexual assault of a female patron and persistent disturbances. (See Politics Meets Street, L.A. Weekly, April 1319.) The club has also been the site of a number of well-attended, if disparate, fund-raisers, including one for Huizar and another for the outlaw biker gang the Mongols.

    A gang-related shooting occurred outside the club on May 12, when a member of the Rolling 90s pulled out a .22-caliber gun and shot and injured a man, right in front of a police officer, according to Smith, whose officers have observed gangs recruiting at the 740 Club.

    Its unfortunate that downtown attracts that kind of a crowd, Smith says, adding that the club has posted illegal signs advertising its rap and Latino dance music acts, served overly drunk patrons, served after hours, allowed overcrowding and failed to scan all patrons drivers licenses.

    We dont have those problems at other clubs right down the street, but that place… theres all sorts of people involved.

    Until recently, council member Huizar was one of them. He told the Weekly he went to the club a number of times and took his wife there, and that he hosted a Metropolitan Democratic Club event and held a fund-raiser there last year. He has since returned the meager $2,000 he raised from the club, owner Ralph Verdugo and a couple of employees, one of whom Huizar knows from his Boyle Heights school days.

    But despite those connections, the 740 Club didnt get its approval to operate during Huizars watch. That happened in late 2004 and early 2005, when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the councilman for the 14th District, which includes a grimy stretch known as the Broadway Corridor that developers and condo dwellers are now flocking to.

    Verdugo used to own Ibiza Steak and Lounge in Whittier that is, until a spate of public nuisances and illegal activity from 2000 to 2004 led the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to suspend his liquor license and Whittier officials to revoke his permit to sell alcohol.

    But within a matter of months, Verdugo was back in business in downtown L.A. He had a new conditional-use permit, handed out by L.A. city officials, and a new liquor license under a different corporate name.

    The 740 Club, a spectacularly renovated theater with private VIP rooms, is at the rear of the 10-story Garland Building. Patrons enter from a pee-drenched alley that runs between Broadway and Spring Street. It was once the site of the Globe Theater, and the entire district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Before the state issues a liquor license in such a case, the Planning Department must issue the conditional-use permit. City records show that the 740 Club sailed through this process with no scrutiny of who would be running the club or what kind of club its operators had in mind.

    But the club did have the blessing of a wealthy international developer, some well-connected lobbyists and the support of then-mayor Jim Hahn and then-councilman Villaraigosa.

    The owner of the Garland Building is Farhad Fred Yousefzadeh, a real estate mogul with properties in L.A., Las Vegas, New York and Europe. Yousefzadeh, also president of the influential Downtown Business Improvement District, has personally vouched for the 740 Club from the start. Yousefzadeh did not return calls for comment.

    In early 2004, Yousefzadeh, of Nighttime Broadway Corporation, applied for a permit to sell alcohol on the premises, city records show. John Borunda, a retired veteran LAPD officer, acted as an expediter for the company, as did clothing retailers Neajat and Josef Sarshar.

    According to a letter of approval dated January 21, 2005, the 740 Club is in a moderate crime zone with a very high concentration of alcohol sales establishments. Its operators wanted the club open until 6 a.m., with alcohol cut off at 2 a.m.

    Just prior to a public hearing on December 6, 2004, LAPD officers from the Central Area Vice Unit said that extended hours and young patrons could create problems for the burgeoning residential market.

    Although police opposed the 6 a.m. closing time, the letter shows that, aside from police, there was little opposition during the hearing. It was quickly determined the application should be granted, even though a Nighttime Broadway representative said the owner did not have a tenant, and his answers to questions, the letter says, were vague and speculative.

    After the brief hearing, Yousefzadeh submitted a pending-lease agreement with Verdugos company, The Entertainment Group. Rejecting police concerns, city Zoning Administrator Albert Landini approved a five-year permit with an option for another five years, stating, It is this specific type of nightclub that the city is trying to encourage be developed on the Broadway Corridor.

    Following the citys lead, the state of California issued a liquor license without commenting on Verdugos publicly reported misconduct in Whittier.

    If an operator hasnt been found guilty of a crime of moral turpitude, its not likely wed deny a license, once the local jurisdiction has approved a [conditional-use permit], says Rick Ryan, a regional director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

    Building department records show that City Hall insiders helped the 740 Club through the permit process. However, the club still lacks final approval from the fire department, yet continues to allow raucous weekend crowds of close to 1,000.

    Former city planning commissioner Steve Carmona helped the club pass its fire and building safety inspections, and Archeon Group, an architectural firm run by planning consultant Chris Pak, was instrumental in lobbying for a modification of building ordinances, records show. Pak and his company and employees have donated more than $40,000 in campaign contributions to L.A. city officials in recent years.

    Meanwhile, head structural engineer Lincoln Lee, of the building departments Case Management Unit, waived preliminary inspections and approved temporary-occupancy permits for the club. Last year, the Los Angeles Times exposed the Case Management Unit for offering end-runs around government red tape to building owners and developers who made significant political contributions to city officials. However, building department officials deny that the Case Management Unit handled the permit process for 740 Club.

    Ed Rosenthal, a redevelopment specialist with CB Richard Ellis and an adviser to the city Community Redevelopment Agency, says the groomed path of the 740 Club is not unique. Yet he says he is surprised that Huizar and other politicos, such as Bell Gardens City Councilman Mario Beltran, who has claimed business ties to Verdugo, and La Puente Councilman John Solis, the 740 Clubs co-manager, would use a crime-magnet nightclub to hold political events and fund-raisers.

    While hes not incredulous about what they did, he finds it incredible.

  • Dan Holloway – La Puente Mayor Pro Tem

    Just got a call from a friend who told me to look at this item on the Leftovers from City Hall BLOG, wow this story is really out of control. What a mess. If anyone is really interested on what is happening with all this, don’t just read the comments on this Blog, instead also go to the La Puente City web site at http://www.lapuente.org and listen to the actually City Council Meetings. Under the City Government tab select City Council and select “Listen to Audio” for the June 10 meeting. On the agenda that comes up on the right select “Recess City Council and Convene the Community Development Commission.” The tape of that meeting will start. Move the time curser to 1:31 to hear the discussion of the item in question. Please note that the only reason these facts about the contract between Charles Co. and the other company came to light is because I asked pointed questions of Charles Co., our attorney and staff. Mayor Lujan also asked followup question on the key points. After being told more than once they didn’t want to talk about this, the truth finally came to light. Cheese Head asks if I know more, if I am tied to Charles Co. too. Listen to the tape, my only concerns are the negative impact these rumors have on the reputition of La Puente and giving the Charles Co. a multi million dollar subsidy that Council Members Solis and Storing support. I obviously don’t know as much as Charles Co., Councilman Solis or our City Manager. I’d like to know more, but Charles Co. does not want to share, although they already did share with our City Manager and others. The truth is on the tape.

  • La Puente Watcher

    Everybody seems to know who Councilmember John Solis works for, but I never seem to hear who the other councilmembers work for. Do you know? Does it match there Form 700 filing? Does your city have any gang members in it? If so, if that gang member eats at restaurants or shops in La Puente does that make the employees who work at those places questionable? I don’t believe businesses question you when you come in are you a gang member and if they did people would scream racism! The city of La Puente should close down all businesses that serve Gang members does that apply to the schools who educate their kids too?

  • La Puente Watcher

    Very good question, what do the other Councilmembers do?

    We all know that Solis is a Bouncer at the 740 club, what about the others?

    On another note, La Puente seriously needs to start from scratch and get rid of all questionable contractors. Where is the City Manager during all of this? Why is he allowing the Council to work with contractors like this?

  • J Gonzalez

    I was at the meeting the night that all this stuff went down at the La Puente City Council meeting. I was sitting in the back on the edge of my seat.

    I support them for looking at other developers. The Charles Company did not have any answers for the questions that the Council was asking them. I also noticed that the Charles Company appeared very upset. The head of their company, Mr. Gabay, was very rude and appeared to yell at staff and the Council. how can the Council allow this? Why would they work with a company like this?

    When the discusison of the contract came up, I was confused. It sounded like everyone was finger pointing. Solis was obviously very supportive of the Charles Company (which I did find a bit strange for a “neutral” councilman).

    The others were asking the tough questions that needed to be asked. They were doing their job and seemed to have concers about the Charles Company.

    if I were up there as a Councilwoman, I would not support the Charles Company. “Something” just did not feel right with them.

    Well, of all the meetings to attend and do a college essay on, this was the one! Thanks guys! oh yeah, and; yes get rid of the Charles Company. Can someone say “Sketch”?! Just get the dang project done; my friends and I want a Jamba Juice lol.

  • J Gonzalez

    One more thing guys, our professor has asked the entire class to use this blog entry for our next position paper.

    So be expecting more questions and comments!

    Anoter question for the Council:

    How did the Charles Company end up in La Puente in the first place if they are so questionable? Did you have a set of criteria that qualified them? If so, sounds like you need to do better background checks! Lol JK!

    (I want to use this info for my paper)

  • La Puente Watcher

    You must follow the council real close because the City Manager is a Woman not a Man as you stated! The meeting was about the City of La Puente living up to it’s contract and purchasing the property it required the Charles Co. to purchase since it wasn’t moving forward with them. I know if you fronted appox. $600,000.00 you wouldn’t want your money back. Hearing the audio tape of the meeting the council got mad because the developer wanted to be refunded the money he advanced for the project. Holloway said why are you giving up on the deal and Mr. Gabay said I am not the city is because they choose to look at other developers. Mr. Gabay said its like getting married but right before the wedding the City Council said we want to look at other brides but hang in there we still may chose you. Mr. Gabay from what I have read was the highest bidder and the bid was from 3 years ago. I believe property has come down in value since then but he was still willing to go forward at that price. The Charles Co. and the other property owner who was forced to sell by the city want there money for there property as call for in the agreement according to the audio and tribune stories. The City of La Puente owes appox. $6.7 Million to these people. The problem the city of La Puente only has Appox. 7 million in the bank, its probably hard to run a city on $300,000.00 left before they go bankrupt.
    Your other question about getting rid of other contractors they were looking at hiring Del Terra Group Luis Rojas. The same consultant thats in the middle of this issue to review the all the contractors. Seems like he wants to work on both sides choose who’s going to work for the city and then possibly his sister’s company represent the other side the contractor’s who have gotten chosen. According to the Tribune web site Luis Rojas amitted his sister is his partner in Del Terra Group but she owes Alliance Service Group who was suppose to get the contract with the Charles Co. which he amitted he represented her in the discussions. Was he representing the City of La Puente, The Charles Co., Del Terra Group, Alliance Service Group or the Mayor Louie Lujan?

  • Sam Caseras

    Hi my name is Sam, I am a student at Mt. Sac. I live in La Puente and am doing a paper on this situation that came up at the last meeting. I would like to ask the following questions:

    1. How was the Charles Company selected to do the project?

    2. How much money are they asking for to complete the project?

    3. What other cities are they working in?

    4. What is the process for a city to elect a contractor?

    5. I have heard rumors about Councilman Mike Tohey (from West Covina) and John Solis (of La Puente) work for the Charles Company, is this true and is it legal?

    6. In the audio tape from the meeting, the La Puente City Manager withheld information from the Council? Why was this?

    7. Are there qualifications to becoming a Councilmember?

    8. What is the next step?

    Thank you!
    Sam Caseras

  • Frank Guerra

    I am also in the MT SAC class and am writing a paper for class. I listed to the audio tape and was laughing. That John Solis guy is not a good Councilman. He seemed to defensive of the Charles Company.

    Anyway, I would like to know:

    1. Is there a way to find out if John Solis worked for the Charles Company?

    2. Is there a way to find out where he works for certain? I heard he is a Bouncer?! at 740? No way, my homies and and hang out there.

    3. Councilman Solis appears to be the most controversial Council person and draws the most negative press. Has this always been the case?

    Thank you,
    FG

  • Anonymous

    I see that people are saying that club 740 is a hangout for gang members. This is only partially true because it mostly attracts members of the Mexican Mafia.

  • La Puente Watcher

    I believe they were chosen after the first developer failed to move forward after 2 years of having an agreement with the city. This project was put out for bid originaly 3 years ago. The council voted 5-0 to award the project to the Charles Co. After the first company Primestor did not move forward!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the Charles Company has not moved forward either.

    can someone say SHADY COMPANY!? I dont blame them for trying to hire outside “influence” to buy votes. They have also failed to perform.

    Time to move on with a credible developer.

  • La Puente Watcher

    For the three college students: whats interesting to me as you read the blog as all 3 seem to have Sam Caseras, J Gonzalez and Frank Guerra, other bloggers tell how bad Solis is because he works at a Nightclub 740 and the only people that go there is Mexican Mafia and Gang Members. Your fellow student who signed the blog Frank Guerra says he and his homies hangout there. Is it only me??? or would your reference Frank Guerra that you go there and you go there with your homies infer your a gang member or a member of the Mexican Mafia because people on this blog say it’s a shady place? Your reference of homies most people would think that term is a gang reference would you? For the other 2 students J Gonzalez and Sam Caseras finding out the person your doing a class project with hangs out at such shady places filled with Gang members and Mexican Mafia what do you think about him?

  • J Gonzalez

    No one has answered my questions. So sad guys; come on!

    OK, I get it Solis is sketchy and he is a Mexican Mafia Gang Council guy. Lol

    I need to get this paper done people!

  • Answer Anonymous

    So be it shouldn’t the city of La Puente live up to its contract and buy the property? I thought thats what the council agenda item was to ask for his money back and move on! You can’t start building if the City does not own all of the property your suppose to develop. I guess you just start building on someone else private property without there approval that is one way not leagl but it is a way!

  • J Gonzalez

    Lol! you people are funny.

    I need my questions answered! oh yeah Frank Guerra knows Solis. He said that he met him at the 740 Club.

    They are both Homies. Franks my boy though, Solis sounds sketch.

    Lol!

  • La Puente Resident

    The two councilmembers from S. El Monte are Louie Aguinaga and Hector Delgado friends of Mike Touhey and John Solis. All four questionable councimembers. What awaits S. El Monte? Has S. El Monte committed to a project with the Charles Company? All these guys are a close knit foursome. Watch out S. El Monte. You are next. Don’t be fooled and used like the other cities around you. Do your homework.

  • Juan

    I’ve read through all these many comments and I find it funny that La Puente Watcher seems to be John Solis’ only real defender? He/She also seems to have a lot of inside info and brings up a lot of stuff to distract from real issue. I especially liked it when he/she quoted Charles Co. that it’s “like getting married but right before the wedding the City Council said we want to look at other brides but hang in there we still may chose you.” From listening to the tape, I think it’s more like is being in an arranged marriage and just before the wedding finding out that the bride is less than what you envisioned in a mate and marring her will also cost you millions of dollars you don’t have. I think I would be running from such an arrangement if it were me. The only one that makes out on this kind of deal is the matchmaker (Solis).

  • Frank Guerra

    Wha?!

    I heard John Solis called me a gang member.

    That fool is trouble. He brings in these gangster fools to city hall and expects people to respect him.

    Im trying to get my paper done homie. In SCHOOL, you should try it homie.

    See you at the 740 Club. In the parking lot.

  • Anonymous

    well guerra if the shoe fits wear it. you sure seem like a gangbanger to me.

  • Prof. Bonner

    This is an answer to J Gonzalez. In 2005 when La Puente asked developers to submit proposals for this project the Charles Co. was ranked dead last by the staff at city hall. The contract was given to the developer Primestor. Then in 2007 Primestor’s contract was not renewed and somehow Charles Co was voted in as the new developer. Charles Co didn’t change their original proposal which ranked them dead last and yet somehow they were now being selected for this project. I remember this meeting and even heard that afterward John Solis was whispering and laughing with Arman Gabay (Owner of the Charles Co.) in the back of the room. Solis has been championing the Charles Co from the very beginning. J. Gonzalez I hope that helps you with your paper. Good luck

  • http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com West Covina Watcher

    To Anonymous who is probably John Solis: Just like a politician to spin, spin, spin. I never said I was against tough rules for child molesters. In fact, if you read the blog entry, it says I support Mr. Touhey’s actions to have these tough rules. Did I say it might not hold up in court if challenged? Yes I did, because I believe that to be the truth. Judges judge by the letter of the law, and if that letter states this ordinance over-reaches its boundaries, then it’s in danger of being tossed.

    And I don’t drink Diet Coke.

    And the reason I’m anonymous is because I know how some people in West Covina treat detractors. I’d much rather be anonymous and say what I like, than be out in the public eye and practice self-censorship. Anyone who speaks the truth in that city are branded as “hostile,” “bitter,” and “loose cannons” (John Scheuplein, Fred Sykes, Roger Hernandez). So yeah, I have my reasons, but it doesn’t make what I say any less true.

  • JOHN SOLIS

    Yes 2005 Primestore got the deal i voted No 2yrs nothing got done and they wanted 9 million to do the project.Finaly the city had to get another developer. The Charles co who would pay the most money for the property at the time the city would have made over a million dollars but the 3 councilmembers held off and would not sell the property. years later they still hold on it will cost the city about 1 million to do the deal but because the council wont move the city has lost over 3 million in revenue and will continue to lose untill they sell the property we lose 800.000 in sales tax a yr 500.000 in tax incerments plus 20,000 in housing set aside so if we spent the money to finish the project we would make it back less than a yr the longer we hold off the more we lose out of the other 9 developer they would pay between 12 dollars and 20 dollars a sq ft less 422,456 x 20 so what company would you pick if anyone will pay more for the property and bring in more sales tax i welcome them but we are 4 yrs plus and we dont have it.So you all no redevelopement and understand the tax roll housing set aside sales tax tax incerments this all goes together to how and who you give the deal to and i do not or have ever worked for a developer these decision us councilmembers make are not easy but we make them good are bad we do what we think are right but we are human and do make mistakes but we try our best to make the right choice

  • Juan Espinoza

    This is an answer to J Gonzalez. In 2005 when La Puente asked developers to submit proposals for this project the Charles Co. was ranked dead last by the staff at city hall. The contract was given to the developer Primestor. Then in 2007 Primestor’s contract was not renewed and somehow Charles Co was voted in as the new developer. Charles Co didn’t change their original proposal which ranked them dead last and yet somehow they were now being selected for this project. I remember this meeting and even heard that afterward John Solis was whispering and laughing with Arman Gabay (Owner of the Charles Co.) in the back of the room. Solis has been championing the Charles Co from the very beginning. J. Gonzalez I hope that helps you with your paper. Good luck

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read through all these many comments and I find it funny that La Puente Watcher seems to be John Solis’ only real defender? He/She also seems to have a lot of inside info and brings up a lot of stuff to distract from real issue. I especially liked it when he/she quoted Charles Co. that it’s “like getting married but right before the wedding the City Council said we want to look at other brides but hang in there we still may chose you.” From listening to the tape, I think it’s more like is being in an arranged marriage and just before the wedding finding out that the bride is less than what you envisioned in a mate and marring her will also cost you millions of dollars you don’t have. I think I would be running from such an arrangement if it were me. The only one that makes out on this kind of deal is the matchmaker (Solis).

  • La Puente Resident

    A true match of the worst kind for sure. A match made in —-, that’s for sure. The Bride (the Charles Co)of Frankenstine (Solis)lives in La Puente! You saw the movie or read the book. You know the tragic horrorfying end. The end of the city of La Puentes integrity and honest city council. Beware of the lightning bolts!

  • Curious Resident

    Why was the Charles Company ranked dead last? I am curious to know. What is their real intent in La Puente, other than to make money?

  • Juan

    Good question, I heard that the City staff did the ranking but all that info is discussed in what they call “closed session.” I think it is just a way to keep the public from knowing about their corrupt deals.

  • Curious Resident L.P

    Juan if it was diclosed in closed session. Who told you Perez and Chavez lost there seat,Lujan remains did Lujan disclose it to you.If they were dead last why was the vote5-0 to bring them aboard

  • JOHN SOLIS

    Let me help you out who claim to know me Graduated from Nogales High 8 state championship to my name 2nd place nationals held in Japan. World Championships held in Las Vegas.Place 7th in the world 1ST PL Nationals Kick Boxing Championships Coached wrestling Bishop Amat,La Puente and Nogales own my own Drywall co 5yrs open Business Downtown L.P Fed Ex Ups shiping and postal store 7Yrs then elected to L.P City Council. Been feeding the less fortunate for Thanksgiving for the last 5yrs over 400 per year and food baskets also giving over 100 toys to needy familys in L.P During Xmas.Coach my daughter 14un softball team 2007 2nd place in state 3rd pl at World Series 2008 1st pl State Championship 2nd at Winter World Series in Mesquite Nevada in July will go to Utah for world series with over 700 teams there in August will try to win a Berth to the ASA Nationals .So if you consider ME SHADY LETS HOPE MORE PEOPLE ARE LIKE ME AND GIVE INSTEAD OF TAKING MOST OF MY TIME IS TO HELP KIDS AND KEEP THEM OFF THE STREET.In 2004 05 06 I tried to put Gang injuction in L.P and to take your car from you if they found a GUN or DRUGS But the council voted it down and i QUOTE we have enough laws in the CITY THE COUNCIL SAID HMMM MAKES YOU THINK ENOUGH TIME WASTED ..So know you may say you know me…..

  • Julio

    Its always interesting finding out what council members do if anything for a living besides representing our local cities.

    In La Puente, John Solis has publicly said that he is a general manager for Los Angeles nightclub 740 Club and its parent company Entertainment Company LP1.

    A couple of interesting things here. First of all, 740 Club has been known to be a hot spot for gang members and politicians quite the crowd if you ask me.
    And secondly, it was pointed out to me by a source that Entertainment Company LP1 doesnt seem to exist in Los Angeles Countys DBA listing. But 740 Clubs liquor license is granted to The Entertainment Group TEG Inc. based out of Whittier.

    Regardless of what the firms real name is, the issue brings up the question of whether council members should draw the line with certain lines of work. Is it completely professional for a councilman to run a night club known for drawing gang members? Is it professional for council members to be running nightclubs at all? What other jobs might potentially give off the wrong impression for elected officials?

  • Carolina Ugarte

    Sounds like Solis is SUPER SHADY to me!

    Here are the friends he associates with:

    http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/mario-beltrans-wild-night/15955/

    Bell Gardens City Councilman Mario Beltran was convicted for lying in a police report about having been robbed by black men – an attempt by the Latino politician, according to the District Attorney’s office, to cover up the fact that he lost his wallet while drunk and passed out in a hooker hotel downtown.

    There, Beltran encountered a couple of friends, 740 Club owner Ralph Verdugo and La Puente City Councilman John Solis, the report states. Verdugo and Solis brought Beltran back to the Huntington and offered money to residents for information about where Ridgeway lived, and about where to find Beltrans possessions, according to the LAPD report.

    Hines told jurors that Beltrans friends pretended to be police even as they offered $500 to anyone who could produce the councilmans badge. One Beltran associate, according to Hines, delivered the message explicitly. Unless you cooperate with me, I can have 150 cops come up here… in a matter of minutes, secure the whole apartment and take all you guys down, Hines recalled one saying.

    I live in LP and am raising 2 daughters that play Softball. We had to remove them from the league because of complaints raised against John Solis. After some investigation, I found that he is a bad seed trying to hide his gang connections.

    Mr. Solis, my daughters are happier now playing in another league – away from you.

  • resident

    this who thing is all too sad and disgusting.

  • Michael Camareno

    John Solis needs to stop being so damn worried about this thing and focus on the getting the job done.

  • LP Warrior

    I said it elsewhere and i will say it here. City council members need to refrain from posting on these blogs. Not only do you lower yourself to this type of “Star Magazine” reporting, you are adding fuel to the fire and are only embarrassing yourselves. Instead of writing here, you should be working at getting these much needed projects up and going in La Puente. The prior council wasn’t able to move forward and now we are seeing stalling again from the current council.

  • American Insect

    Hey LP Warrior,

    Pull my finger!

    Obama 08!

  • My Dog Spot has a degree to

    LP Warrior you are right.i only see two people moving forward Storing and Solis is this what happened before people we need 3 votes wake up stop being a follower be the leader we voted so things can get done..

  • American Insect

    Storing and Solis are not moving forward, unless the Charles Company tells them to.