Downtown's largest property owner gets his name in the media again—this time coming into the sights of LA Weekly investigative reporter Jeffrey Anderson for razing a new, possibly toxic purchase downtown without city permits.
When it comes to real estate, some laws seem to bother Richard Meruelo, the land banker and prolific campaign contributor who dumped more than $190,000 into Antonio Villaraigosa’s race for mayor last year.
Meruelo’s ascent to the rank of downtown’s largest private landowner is legend, right down to the quaint tale about his mother’s dress shop where he attended the proverbial School of Hard Knocks. Stories about his lavish spending in the mayoral election are rivaled by his seemingly prescient decision to snatch up property at Taylor Yards along the L.A. River — one step ahead of the school district, which was planning to build a school there and has been forced to invoke eminent domain.
Less is known about what Meruelo did with the toxic debris he removed last year from an industrial site at 1060 N. Vignes St., a property he bought in September. Or what will become of his four acres wedged between the County jail, California Drop Forge Inc., and Best Way Recycling Center, just beneath the elevated tracks of the Metro Gold Line.
Or why the Department of Building and Safety looked the other way for four months after discovering he tore down seven structures laced with asbestos, lead paint, PCB’s and mercury — without a permit.
Also in free weeklies:
♦ Romer's plan to build schools that may not be needed. (LA Weekly)
♦ La Gran Marcha "ripped away the social niceties and burrowed right to the heart of the issues of race and class," says Andrew Gumbel. (CityBeat)
♦ El Cucuy de la Mañana, the other Spanish language DJ. (CityBeat)
♦ To hear Brian Quintana tell it, he got out of the way for Villaraigosa's career—and now Paris Hilton hates him. (L.A. Independent)
♦ Which new Angel will be on the poster over Rebecca Schoenkopf's bed? (OC Weekly)
Plus: NPR's On the Media talked to USC professor Felix Gutierrez about what the media missed in coverage of the Gran Marcha (audio), and has a feature on Gustavo Arellano's Ask a Mexican column (audio) in OC Weekly. (Via Romenesko)