Looting Hawaiian Gardens
Summary of JLAC Report: The "Gateway" Redevelopment Project
in the City of Hawaiian Gardens: A Study in Redevelopment
|by The Joint Legislative Audit Committee, State of California
Originally published 10 July 2000
in general release
The "Gateway" Redevelopment Project in the City of Hawaiian Gardens: A Study in Redevelopment Abuse
two decades ago the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Hawaiian Gardens
(Agency) began the process of developing a largely underutilized plot of
prime commercial land in an effort to invigorate the local economy and eliminate
blight in the community.
Today landowner/developer Irving Moskowitz
(Moskowitz) has opened a card club on the site to compliment a bingo parlor
that has been operating as a virtual monopoly by the Irving Moskowitz Foundation
(IMF) for many years.
The JLAC has found that the history of the ìGatewayî
redevelopment project is rife with questionable practices on the part of
the Redevelopment Agency and the City of Hawaiian Gardens. And in the course
of the last two decades, through negligence and malfeasance, the Agency and
the City have violated state law.
Although state law expressly prohibits
redevelopment funds from being used to subsidize gaming facilities, the JLAC
investigation has found that Moskowitz and his agents have effectuated this
subsidy in concert with the City and Redevelopment Agency.
Evidence examined by JLAC staff has revealed a redevelopment agency that has:
assisted a private landowner to systematically purchase and assemble land
within the project area and allowed it to evolve into a gambling operation
- 2) displaced and/or eliminated viable commercial entities that had been located on the site during the process
- 3) apparently violated state laws in the establishment of this gaming facility.
evidence has demonstrated that the City of Hawaiian Gardens has received
and continues to receive substantial cash payments and loans from Moskowitz-controlled
entities, apparently for its support of the venture.
A city that embarked
on an economic revitalization effort almost 20 years ago has little to show
for its efforts save for an inappropriate gaming establishment, approximately
$12 million in expenditures of public funds, and financial dependence on
the goodwill of one owner/developer who is operating an illegally-subsidized
Hawaiian Gardens provides an example of what can
go wrong, when redevelopment is manipulated or used for the benefit of one
individual rather than for the benefit of the community as a whole. The
"Gateway" project history categorically establishes the need for stricter
oversight of community redevelopment agencies and their practices.
2003 design by elbop for the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem