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Will Neighborhood Council Ask John Lee If He Is “City Staffer B?”

Northridge East is expected to consider a resolution asking LA City Councilman if he is the person referenced in the federal indictment.

The growing scandal surrounding Los Angeles City Hall has so far resulted in three guilty pleas, including one from Mitch Englander, a former member of the City Council. Current council member Jose Huizar has also been indicted on charges related to the investigation. Huizar’s former “aide George Esparza reached his own plea deal, affirming that a Chinese billionaire planning a 77-story skyscraper provided him and the councilman with trips to Las Vegas and other bribes.” The FBI investigation has “been quietly underway since 2015” and is “ongoing.”

One question that remains unanswered by investigators is the exact role City Councilmember John Lee played in events that led to the conviction of Englander, who is his former boss. Lee admitted to attending the trip to Las Vegas with both Englander and Esparza that resulted in Englander’s conviction. As an employee of the city, Lee was obligated to report any gifts that he received during this trip, but it is not clear that he did so.

The Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, therefore, considered a resolution on June 4, 2020, “asking the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission for an investigation (if they have not done so already) into Councilmember John Lee’s participation in and subsequent actions following the June 2017 Las Vegas trip that resulted in [the] indictment of and [the] subsequent guilty plea by former Councilmember Mitch Englander.” There are reports that the resolution passed, but the official minutes of the meeting are not posted on the council’s website.

City Councilmember John Lee (Source: CD12.org)

Lee, who ironically ran as “the only choice of law enforcement” has refused to confirm or deny that he is “City Staffer B” as named in Englander’s indictment. This has important implications for the case, because the person who is “City Staffer B” engaged in potentially criminal activities. According to the indictment, whose facts have been confirmed by Englander:

During public comment of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council (NENC) Executive Committee meeting on July 6, 2020, stakeholders requested that the council ask John Lee to reveal if he is “City Staffer B.” As a result, the Executive Committee voted 3–1–0 to place the following item on the agenda for the meeting on Wednesday, July 15:

Due to COVID-19, the NENC meeting will be held virtually by Zoom. Information on how to listen to the meeting or to make your voice heard through public comment is as follows:

The agenda for the complete meeting can be found on the NENC web site.

Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD’s CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” Links to his blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.