Councilwoman Pearce Under Investigation by LA District Attorney

By: 
Eric Bailey

Long Beach City Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce could be facing prosecution from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office if she’s found to have violated the Political Reform Act.

Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert said in a statement Friday, Sept. 27, that he had been in contact with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and the two parties determined the county office is the best agency to investigate and handle any prosecution.

“I have every reason to believe the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office will handle this matter in a thorough, competent and fair manner,” Haubert said.

The district attorney’s office confirmed through a spokesperson that a complaint of the matter was received by their office Sept. 25 and is currently reviewing it.

Concerns of conflict of interest became an issue early September as it was discovered she failed to disclose a payment of $11, 222 she received in 2018 from DNS Verde, LLC, which is owned by Dan Zaharoni. Zaharoni happens to be the development manager of Urban Commons, the company that owns the lease to the RMS Queen Mary.

 Pearce and Zaharoni have a history of partnering to obtain a cannabis dispensary permit in Culver City, Calif. for From The Earth, another one of Zaharoni’s businesses, as researched by independent law firm Best Best & Krieger, a firm contracted by the city to investigate the matter.

According to the findings by the firm, Pearce received $11,222 in income from Zaharoni’s firm, DHS Verde LLC, in 2018.

Pearce withheld this income from her Form 700, which elected officials and public employees who influence governmental decisions must submit to ensure that they are making decisions in the best interest of the public and not for personal financial gain.

A proposal to study the feasibility of gondolas from downtown Long Beach to the Queen Mary was brought to the City Council by Urban Commons on March 12 and passed unanimously; though Pearce’s failure to disclose the payments received by Zaharoni could nullify her vote.

The Best Best and Krieger report also found that she received a payment of $30,000 from another of Zaharoni’s LLCs.

The report suggests that Pearce should recuse herself from voting on anything impacting the Queen Mary or the cannabis industry for 12 months; starting with the latest payment from Zaharoni.

The Fair Political Practices Commission announced Sept. 23 that it would be conducting an investigation on whether Pearce has committed any misdemeanors under the Political Reform Act.

After numerous attempts at a response, Pearce broke her silence on the issue in an email Sept. 25 obtained by the Press-Telegram.

“It will be fair, based on facts, unlike an investigation from a politically elected city attorney,” Pearce said. “I expected this next step, given the fact that the city attorney’s office did not complete an investigation. If in fact the FPPC finds there was a violation, I, of course, will abide by their decision.

eric@beachcomber.news

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Comments

Another example of corrupt City Hall leadership leading by example.

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