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HMG-CN EXCLUSIVE: Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian Received Gifts From Montebello Hills Developer

Money bag


By Brian Hews

An examination of current Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian’s 2014 Statement of Economic Interest Form 700’s by Hews Media Group-Community News has found that the embattled Mayor enjoyed another extravagant golf excursion, this time from Newport Beach-based Cook Hill Properties, the developer in charge of the controversial Montebello Hills housing development.

Elected officials are required to file an annual Statement of Economic Interests Form 700 that discloses potential conflicts of interest. The forms are an indicator whether an official is acting in his or her own self-interest.

One week ago, HMG-CN exclusively reported that Hadjinian dined with Jason Kachan who owns property on Whittier Blvd.

Hadjinian hastily voted to approve the controversial “2113 Whittier Blvd, LLC” Kachan housing development even though many serious question remained about the project.

Some of the questions included inadequate guest parking, tandem only parking for residents, and concerns about water pressure from the Fire Marshall.

Councilmember Bill Molinari cited inconsistent and incomplete elements of the project application, and also that smaller units will be approved that are not allowed by the Montebello Building Code.

Months later the project, a development that Montebello Planning Manager Matt Feske admitted uncertainty in the number of rental units and the number of stories for the project, was approved.

At one point during the approval, Molinari said, “I’m looking at the applicant’s plan. We seem to have a floor floating around somewhere. We have a discrepancy here. It doesn’t add up.” He complained, “staff can’t even tell me how many floors there are.”

Yet Mayor Hadjinian somehow approved the project.

But this latest revelation of a golf excursion with Cook Hills should draw the ire of thousands of Montebello residents.

It is very similar to the Kachan development where Hadjinian ignored many problems yet approved the project. With the Montebello Hills project many residents are worried about the gridlock, traffic, poor air quality, and lack of parks.

Residents were so upset they filed a lawsuit opposing the housing development and were recently advised that their lawsuit against the City of Montebello can proceed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The lawsuit was filed by Montebello based Citizens for Open Government (COPS) in July and maintains that the City of Montebello failed to adequately review and address air quality, traffic, water quality and biological concerns. The lawsuit also accuses the Montebello City Council of Brown Act violations.

After Hadjinian voted to approve the project, he seemed to have an air of cockiness about him, ignoring Montebello residents’ objections, “the project is on private property and not something residents should get a vote on, Hadjinian told the Whittier Daily News. “This isn’t something where the city is considering selling or changing the use of city-owned property,” he said.

Cook Hill Properties will build homes on 174 of 488 acres of oil land owned by Freeport-McMoRan Oil.

The rest of the land will be devoted to open space and habitat protection.

Once the project is completed in 2022, 4,000 people are expected to live in the development.

The oil company will continue to drill for oil but plans to place the oil drilling underground.

  • Keystone Union says:

    Nothing new. Cerritos Council receives free perks from the Auto Mall and Walmart gave free $4500 shopping cards to every CCC, during the development stages. CCPA gives away free tickets too.

    Tell me one government job which does not get some kind of bribe from developers & or freebie donations during campaigning, such as pre- paid signs n mailers.

    How many times in Cerritos have I witnessed free gas fill up given to council persons, plus free meals at key restaurants.

    Even the PM at Los Cerritos Mall, gives freebies to staff and council.

    Examine the doggy bags for our commissioners, they do get extra free food for their take home families. Many times, families are in the parking lots, grabbing doggy bags, between eating out and commission hearings.

    Next election, look at the pseudo return addresses on campaign mailers, from ghost senders, well these are tax free too, trying to bribe voters to vy for offices.

  • Defender of Nature says:

    Mayor Hadjinian stating that “the project is on private property and not something residents should get a vote on…” makes me wonder why I, a resident, temporarily disabled, cannot leave my trash containers out in the front of my house, private property, without getting warnings that I will be fined for violating a city code? Would his honor care to explain this or do I not matter because, though I live by the Montebello Golf Course, I cannot provide him with free games…though maybe it is not exclusive enough for him? You might want to look into the fact that there are other current City Council members who have appeared in the Crook-Hill Properties, LLC ad mag who may have also been given other incentives to vote in favor of the ill-conceived corporate proposal.

    Also, the use of the word “will” in the presumption that the project “will be completed in 2022” and in other contexts, is quite troubling. It ignores the efforts of the residents/citizens/voters whose viable lawsuit is ongoing and could effectively stop the proposed Plateau Feo Project. Please remedy this in the future and don’t ignore the well supported campaigns of at the two candidates for Montebello City Council who openly and directly oppose the proposed PFP.

    Stating that…”The rest of the land will be devoted to open space and habitat protection.” ignores the fact that much of the artificially restored habitat was burned and nature takes a long time to renew such ecosystems.

    And “The oil company will continue to drill for oil but plans to place the oil drilling underground.” by ignoring the well documented, prolific, ongoing health, safety and environmental dangers posed by contact with any oil field, demonstrates the lack of concern for the health of any of those stupid enough to fall for Crook-Hill Properties, LLC’s sales pitches of the condos. including the current City Council. It might be good if you would do some reporting on the facts involved in this matter.