WEHOville

In West Hollywood, a City Known for Its TrumpPhobia, Two Major Projects Are Owned by an Alleged Trump Backer

Fri, May 26, 2017   By Staff    29 Comments
cim group, donald trump, west hollywood

Rendering of the Sunset La Cienega project (SunsetLaCienega.com)

The developer and owner of two major properties in West Hollywood, a city whose former mayor said she would ban Donald Trump and most of whose city council members showed up for an anti-Trump demonstration in February, is alleged to be closely tied to Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner and benefitting from that relationship.

The allegation comes in a report by WNYC, a New York City public radio station, and was aired today on KPCC. WNYC reporters Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz looked into the dealings of Los Angeles-based CIM Group, reporting that “Over the years, documents show, CIM has done at least seven real estate deals that have benefited Trump and the people around him, including Kushner. Those deals included stabilizing the scandal-plagued Trump SoHo hotel, a key Manhattan holding for Trump and his children Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr.”

CIM, a private equity firm, was founded by Shaul Kuba, Avi Shemesh and Richard Ressler. Kuba and Shemesh are Israelis. Its biggest project in West Hollywood is Sunset La Cienega, a nearly complete development that includes two 10-story towers with 296 hotel rooms and 15,000 square feet of retail space and two eight-story towers with 190 residential units and 55,000 square feet of retail. The project lies on either side of La Cienega with large public plazas facing Sunset.

CIM Group also is owner of The Lot, the historic movie studio property on Santa Monica Boulevard at Formosa, where it is currently adding a six-story office building.

Donald Trump

The WNYC story says “the full extent of CIM’s government ties is not known; much of its business is private, though some investments are publicly traded. In public disclosures, CIM said it received annualized rent of $37.7 million from the General Services Administration and other federal agencies.”

WNYC also reported that CIM benefits from the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which allows foreign investors in projects in America to obtain green cards and which has been promoted by Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, as she sought investments in Korea for the family business. And it says “CIM has an infrastructure investment fund which it acknowledges is sensitive to ‘regulation’ and ‘political events.’ If Trump gets an infrastructure bill passed, funds like this could earn many millions from projects like roads and tunnels.”

The West Hollywood City Council in February debated whether to support a proposal by then-Mayor Lauren Meister to re-evaluate its relationship with Wells Fargo bank because of the bank’s investment of $120 million in the controversial Dakota Pipeline and its connections with Trump. Councilmember John Duran opposed Meister’s proposal, noting that Wells Fargo has been a major donor to LGBT charities, including the LA Gay Men’s Chorus, whose board he chairs. The council finally decided to ask city staffers to develop a list of businesses that Trump has a connection with and a policy for not doing business with Trump and his affiliated businesses. It also asked that city staff members develop standards of social consciousness for city vendors and business partners and use them to evaluate WeHo’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo.

Some members of the Los Angeles City Council have taken more aggressive measures. The council voted earlier this month to support the impeachment of Trump. And in March Los Angeles City Council members Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Koretz introduced a measure that directs the city’s Office of Finance to report back with options for divestment from all holdings with Wells Fargo. The City of Los Angeles currently holds over $40 million in securities with Wells Fargo that have a one to four year maturity.  Trump’s support for Wells Fargo, which has immersed itself in a crisis after pressing employees to create fake bank accounts for customers, is evident in his administration’s decision to take down a government website where Wells Fargo employees could file their complaints.

According to David Wilson, West Hollywood’s director of finance, the city uses Wells Fargo for routine banking services such as deposits from revenue received, payments to vendors for goods and services and payments to employees for payroll. Wells Fargo is the primary provider for the city’s day-to-day cash and credit transactions. The city also uses a lockbox with US Bank for some of its rent stabilization transactions. The City of West Hollywood does not use Wells Fargo for any investment services. “Typically, the city will maintain approximately $3 million in the Wells Fargo accounts to cover checks issued to vendors,” Wilson said in an email to WEHOville.

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29 Comments

  1. Joshua88Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    This is a useful project for interested people. It could happen here: https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/trump-hotels

  2. fine7760Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Observer, Buffet contributes millions to the Democratic Party (bribe). In return Obama stopped the pipe line and Buffet profits transporting the oil. It’s not that difficult to understand. I susggest you read the article concerning Soros and his aim to to go after President Trump in order to increase his personal investments.

  3. WEHO boySat, Jun 10, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    The city should concern itself with the financial end of projects,to get the best deals it can for the taxpayer. Religious and race and gender and lifestyle considerations would be illegal, as should political. The city doesn’t think all of it’s residents are anti Trump does it? Or perhaps it doesn’t care.

  4. RoseTue, Jun 06, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I am anti=trump, but He is our elected president, and continues to act with powers not given, and many prohibited by the Constitution.

    Is weho kinda doing the same thing, using a city with limited powers, to discriminate on business due to politics. Is that not kinda the same a what Trump is doing, charging ahead, so what if people say he can’t or the Constitution Prohibits it.

    HOWEVER
    1. I object as a resident to one of the more hideous and ugly picture of this project
    2. The way THE PEOPLE (not the government) deals with a business owned by someone they have moral, political, religious objections to …. is
    NOT PATRONIZE THOSE BUSINESSES
    DEMONSTRATE IN FRONT OF THE NEW HOTEL

    A city using politics as a basis (in this case I and many feel the same) is really wrong and could bite anyone back. What if some other city opposed gay marriage and prohibited any site for such ceremony in their little city?

    The people and not the government at any level, decides morality, religion, politics etc… for everyone.

  5. ObserverWed, May 31, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    @fine7760: So please tell us why Obama stopped the pipeline. Do you actually KNOW why Soros is “going after President Trump”?

  6. ObserverWed, May 31, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    @ Randy: Resist distraction! Pay attention. Make wise, well researched choices.
    and don’t parrot the last voice of the media or a friend. Stand for something of defensible value.

  7. fine7760Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Warren Buffet is just as bad. A big Democratic supporter who has made billions transporting the Canadian Oil that was supposed to flow thru the Keystone Pipeline. He owns Burlington Northern-Santa Fe out right. It’s his personally owned railroad. His company Berkshire – Hathaway holds controlling stock in the Northfolk-Southern Railroad. Do we really believe Obama stopped the pipeline for environmental reasons?

    And it’s been reported George Saros, another big democratic supporter is going after President Trump because Saros is losing money on his investments which were based on a failing U.S. economy.

  8. RandyWed, May 31, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Welcome to Capitalist America. It is virtually impossible to avoid spending money that does not work its way up to someone you hate, or who goes against your political beliefs. Not with all of the ties people have to business interests, and the conglomeration of everything. This story reminds me of my grandmother trying to boycott Japanese cars in the 80’s by purchasing a Chevrolet (I think), and then being disappointed in learning that her engine was built in Japan. What can one do? Nothing. Not without exhaustive research. And even then, how much difference is a boycott really going to make?

  9. ObserverWed, May 31, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Trump: 3,500 lawsuits
    Trump: $25,000 settlement to end Trump University claims
    Trump: Throw money at an issue to make it disappear
    Trump: Credibility?

    Eventually the tireless fact checkers & those that read and comprehend beyond the
    sound bites will connect the dots which cannot be bought out.

    DOUBLE DOWN ON DON

  10. kab1200Wed, May 31, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Yeah, I hate Trump, but this story is ridiculous.

  11. fine7760Sun, May 28, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    If you are speaking of the questions about a private christian school in Indiana I believe a LGBT youth would feel uncomfortable in a school that teaches homosexuality is wrong as part of their religious beliefs. Ms DeVos is a strong supporter of states rights and said rights should be upheld. The LGBT rights issue is but one of many special groups. There are colleges that exempt some groups over others but they receive federal dollars. There are programs in Los Angeles that favor one racial group over another but that does not seem to be attacked. Hell, there is a high school in Woodland Hills that receives special assistance because they win so many state and national champianships.

    While we must protect LGBT youth, forcing them into a uncomforable situation is wrong as well. You can not legislate acceptance, you can only encourage it. I have personally seen the difference from when I was in high school and what I have observed today.

    But to say Ms DeVos is anti gay has not been proved. All to many times have I seen those in Congress make statements during hearings that because they don’t receive the answer they are looking for to fit their own agenda the opposite must be true. Badgering a witness hoping for a outburst is but one tactic. It didn’t work with Ms DeVos, she kept her cool.

  12. ObserverSun, May 28, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Excellent Tyrone. Once one becomes acquainted with The Bilderberg Group you gain some perspective as to what drives what and how.

  13. TyroneSun, May 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    For those on the verge of conspiracy theories coming true, I suggest listening to Catherine Austin Fitts, a former HUD official in Bush I, who was a whistle blower about HUD money-laundering drug money for black projects (unbelievable you’d think but…). Bush II then years destroying her and her company (I know–how dare anyone attack “Daddy” Bush??)….and she actually won her law suits against him. She has a financial consulting firm called Solari, and speaks out around the world about many serious and troubling issues with a sincere desire to help the world be a better place. But the information she reports on in many ways requires us to be up to the task of re-evaluating just who is running the United States of America..and in fact most of the world. And it sure isn’t Trump.

  14. SESun, May 28, 2017 at 11:03 am

    @fine7760 – please watch Betsy DeVos’s testimony this week and tell me how LGBT children feel safe in our schools. Her statements represent his regime, so again, what he says and what he does remain consistently at odds.

  15. carleton croninSat, May 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    “Money, money, money makes the world go ’round!” If we started to turn over ever rock on the roadside to see what’s beneath, we’d be a mental mess after finding that the tendrils of commerce have wound their way from banks, to churches, to little old ladies in Omaha – and so forth. Trump worships money and people who have money and it is. it turns out, a most American characteristic – an integral part of our consumer culture and the envy of those who sit on the sidelines and chirp about the inequities in life. Buy bonds, y the way. It;s the new thing – again.,

  16. LJWilliamsSat, May 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Excuse me. Confront your own fears. Wikileaks people. Vaxxed movie. Wake up. Your govt. is owned by criminals. I don’t fear Trump at all. He’s awakened a lot of people.

  17. fine7760Sat, May 27, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    SE, President Trump has stated he is pro gay & lesbian and has done nothing to prove otherwise. Clinton and Obama made a similar statement and turned their backs on the gay & lesbian community with their actions.

  18. aiSat, May 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    As a west Hollywood resident i support trump and found that the comminity has become discriminatory to anyone who does not belive in their political agenda or views. Who cares what their political views are you should be talking about how ugly the bew buildings are they block mybhill view and i swe them everyday. So it was ok for the city to take money from them when they needed it and now its not.

  19. ObserverSat, May 27, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    @Shawn Thompson: Nearly all developers donate to candidates they think are strong as they believe it is a “right of passage”. And it is…… until folks that keep complaining find a way to eliminate or moderate campaign contributions.

  20. SESat, May 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Thank you for the information so we can all make our own informed decisions about whether or not we want to support these people.

    @fine7760 – You need better sources than any “statement” Trump has made. I think it’s pretty clear, regardless of which side of the political fence you sit, that the man lives in an alternate reality.

  21. JJSat, May 27, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I agree with J.V.. Unbelievable.

  22. Shawn ThompsonSat, May 27, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Hmm and who donated a pile of money to Duran and Heilman for Re-Election? Could in be the individuals behind this project? Follow the money if your care….

  23. KyleFri, May 26, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    A friend the other night mentioned something interesting walking around town: OK. West Hollywood is purporting itself to be against the new federal administration listing changes that will benefit the wealthy and accentuate the divide between rich and poor and all the spin-offs of that. Look here at West Hollywood. These new shops. It’s all rich people stuff. You can’t buy a restaurant sandwich for less than $10. An ice cream cone at the new place is $7 for a single scoop. The new Ramen place – $8 for a basic cup. The new businesses coming in are all luxury, $350+ for any hotel room. Rent levels are all rich people – or piling 3 regular people into a single. Sure, the government can’t tell property owners or businesses what to do, but they make some very loud statements, reel in some zoning where possible, something other than boast more luxury hotels, tearing down affordable apartments for rich people places. Look around: How is this any different than for-rich-people fed policies? Point to on-the-street evidence of West Hollywood being other than for the wealthy and enthusiastically pushing itself even further into that. And “Resist” something that in ways looks in ways like what it itself is promoting?

  24. ObserverFri, May 26, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    With or without the connection to Trump, CIM appears to be headed by nefarious operators. Check out their Bios. In addition they have deposited a D- project on Sunset Blvd. that will surely win an award for absolute lack of style and integrity. A giant lump of coal.

  25. AVPFri, May 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    ugh we shouldn’t support ANYONE who has any ties or any form of support for Dump.

  26. Joshua88Fri, May 26, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I support fully divesting from any entity that has anything to do with the Trump/Kushner kleptocracy. Hopefully, the Staff targets neoliberals, also. I do not know this with certainty, but if so, then the Clintons – who are NOT in office, I might add – are definitely fair game.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/the-beleaguered-tenants-of-kushnerville

  27. Jimmy PalmieriFri, May 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    thanks for the report Hank. always good to know where evil is lurking.

  28. J.V.Fri, May 26, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    So what if he’s a Trump supporter? You’re outing a man because of his political beliefs? Trying to set it up so that he’s ostracized? Isn’t that what gays had to fear and face 20 years ago when a person could be fired for being gay? You call this news reporting??? I call it liberal bias discrimination of the sort that gives the media a deservedly bad name. If this was done toward a liberal, you’d have a fit! You should feel ashamed for running this on your news website.

  29. fine7760Fri, May 26, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I would be more concerned over what ties the Clinton family has with developers and businesses in West Hollywood where those who have crossed them or have knowlege of their misdeeds end up dead under questionable circumstances.

    Allegations that President Trump is anti gay have never been proved. In fact the president has made numerous statements supporting the gay community and it’s goals. Former President Clinton supported and signed into law Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell the most repressive anti gay initiative seen in the twentieth century. As a former Viet Nam veteran I can attest to the fact that gay and lesbian servicemen in all ranks served openly in many cases prior to DADT. And again Clinton supported and signed into law the anti gay marriage legislation. And when DADT was declared unconstitutional after a law suit filed by a Republican organization President Obama’s Adminestration challenged the courts findings.

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