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The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem
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Los Angeles CA
310 910-9153
JLAC Report
In This Section:

California State Legislature's Audit Committee considers Irving Moskowitz's
casino development and his behavior in Hawaiian Gardens.

In July 2000, after a lengthy investigation, the Chairman of the California state legislature's Joint Legislative Audit Committee released a damning investigation of Irving Moskowitz's activities in Hawaiian Gardens, concluding that Moskowitz had "co-opted" the Hawaiian Gardens government to advance his own private interests – most notably the funding and permitting of his casino.

News reports on the
JLAC investigation
Settler Sponsor Target Of Probe
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses
12 November 1999
The Jewish Week

After learning that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee staff had finished preparing its report on Moskowitz, Cohler-Esses reports that "The probe, by the legislature’s Joint Audit Committee, will look into Moskowitz’s drive to start up a local casino seen by Jewish critics as a potential source of new revenues for his Jerusalem efforts. The casino’s financing, which includes government redevelopment funds, is being probed under the committee’s broad mandate to investigate reports of government corruption and waste. Cohler-Esses also reports that "sources close to the investigation say Moskowitz’s activities in Hawaiian Gardens were first brought to its attention by the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem, an unusual coalition of local Jewish activists, Hawaiian Gardens residents and others who decry his role in both cities."
Panel Investigating Hawaiian Gardens
by Joe Segura
06 November 1999
Long Beach Press-Telegram

After the state’s Joint Audit Committee launched its probe into Moskowtiz’s dealing with the city of Hawaiian Gardens, Segura reported: “The JLAC chairman has ordered city officials to provide documents on their dealings with Moskowitz over the past 10 years. The committee's probe focused on "possible noncompliance" with a state law that prohibits any form of direct assistance to a gambling business. The city’s Redevelopment Agency has been involved with Moksowitz for the past few years in an effort to build a multi-million-dollar card club.”

The JLAC chairman's report noted serious irregularities about Moskowitz's casino:

  • "The redevelopment project is an inappropriate use of redevelopment funds because it appears to violate California Health and Safety Code Sections 33426.5.”
  • "The project is inappropriately located, as it places a gambling operation adjacent to a middle school, a hospital, a place of worship and public park.
  • "The project evolved from a highly irregular and apparently improper process.
  • "The redeveloper [Moskowitz] successfully co-opted the Cities and Agencies efforts to fulfill a public interest for his own private interest.
  • "The redevelopers attorney made a series of misleading and often contradictory statements to public officials in order to benefit his client."

The report's recommendations included:

  • "Local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies should investigate for criminal or corrupt activity associated with the Hawaiian Gardens' "Gateway Gardens" project.
  • "Because the project appears to violate state law, the redeveloper should reimburse the entire subsidy to the Agency. The reimbursement should reimburse the entire subsidy to the Agency. The reimbursement should include any and all fees that the developer's attorney claimed to be due from the Agency as a result of acting as special counsel to the Agency.
  • "The State Bar of California should consider whether its current Rules of Professional Conduct adequately protect public entities and prevent subversion of the public interest when private attorneys represent both their private clients in dealing with a public entity as well as the public entity itself."

[Read the Executive Summary of the report]
[Download the complete report (in .pdf format)]

[Read the statements made at the Coalition's July 10, 2000 press conference on the JLAC Report]

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak | Rabbis Steven Jacobs and Jerry Goldstein | Walter McKinney | Mina K. Meyer | Sharon Raphael
[Read the Coalition's follow-up news release: "Call for Criminal Probe of Moskowitz Casino Development Validates Coalition's Work"]
A state Joint Legislative Audit Committee report shines a spotlight
on the Moskowitz casino project.

The state Joint Legislative Audit Committee’s report on Moskowitz’s Hawaiian Gardens gambling operation released on July 6, 2000, prompted many publications to report on the problems of Moskowitz's casino and his role in Hawaiian Gardens.

Corruption in Hawaiian Gardens? Legislator's report urges criminal investigation of casino owner Irving Moskowitz
by Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
21 July 2000
The Jewish Journal

“Moskowitz has long been a controversial figure in Hawaiian Gardens, a tiny, low-income city in southeast Los Angeles County, where he operates a bingo club and a card casino, and in Jerusalem, where he has bankrolled Jewish settlements in Arab neighborhoods.” This local Jewish weekly summarized the report’s findings, noting that Moskowitz “consorted with a public agency to operate an illegally financed casino.” This article also contains a history of Moskowitz’s dealings in Hawaiian Gardens.

State Indicates Wrongdoings in Hawaiian Gardens Casino Deal
by Kathy Lee Scott
12 July 2000
The News-Enterprise

Another local paper weighs in, this time summarizing the JLAC’s findings and explaining that Moskowitz violated the law, obtained illegal funds, and should give millions back to the community. This article contains the most concise summary of the casino deal.
Moskowitz Blasted in California
by Akiva Eldar, Ha'aretz Correspondent
16 July 2000

“The report states that ‘Hawaiian Gardens is 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.’”
This article summarizes the findings in the JLAC report, and explains that Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak wants Moskowitz to give the public funds he used to build the casino back to Hawaiian Gardens.

Report Alleges Spending on Card Club by City Illegal Hawaiian Gardens: State legislative panel says $4 million went illegally to help build casino. Club owner's lawyer says deal was legal.
by Hugo Martin, Times Staff Writer
10 July 2000
Los Angeles Times

Hawaiian Gardens illegally spent about $4 million in public funds to help Moskowitz build a casino, according to the JLAC report. Moskowitz's attorney, Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak and attorney general Bill Lockyer's office all have their say in the report’s findings. Lockyer later stated his contempt for the report.
Editorial -- Hawaiian Gardens report: Damning, incomplete and biased
by Long Beach Press-Telegram
13 July 2000
Long Beach Press-Telegram

This editorial argues that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee's report made some disturbing discoveries about Moskowitz's business practices. "In hindsight, the City Council-Redevelopment Agency may have made some missteps. Having Moskowitz's attorney also do legal work for the city was an unorthodox arrangement," it says. And "Moskowitz didn't create the city's financial problems, but he surely capitalized on them." But, as if to walk a tight-rope, it also argues that the casino is earning money for the city (and, it might have mentioned, for the newspaper, which carries its ads)

Moskowitz accused of operating illegal LA casino
by Tom Tugend
16 July 2000
The Jerusalem Post

Moskowitz conspired with a public agency to operate an illegally financed casino, according to the JLAC report. But Tugend reports that Moskowitz’s ties to the city stretch way beyond that.

Casino May Be Funded Illegally
by Joe Segura, Staff Writer
07 July 2000
Long Beach Press-Telegram

The state’s JLAC urges Hawaiian Gardens to stop all business with Moskowitz, after a report found that his casino was illegally financed.
February 20, 2001: Coalition calls on Attorney General and District Attorney for action on peculiar loan by Hawaiian Gardens City Council [.pdf format]
Aftermath of the JLAC Chairman's Report

A hearing on the JLAC report
Irving Moskowitz' lobbyist fought hard to block the JLAC report from going before the state legislature's full audit committee, which might have decided to act on the report's recommendation for further investigation. The Moskowitz organization did succeed in blocking a full committee hearing on the report. When the chairman, Scott Wildman, tried to convene a subcommittee to consider the report, Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg removed him as chair of the committee. Nevertheless, on September 18, 2000 Wildman and two other legislators convened a hearing and heard almost five hours of testimony from people harmed by Moskowitz' use of Hawaiian Gardens' resources to build his casino.
Casino Hearing Set
by Joe Segura, Staff Writer
25 August 2000
Long Beach Press-Telegram

This local newspaper reports that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee set a Sept. 18th hearing on Moskowitz's dealings with Hawaiian Gardens and was considering looking into a recent bond deal that helped finance Moskowitz bingo operation. The paper noted that Hawaiian Gardens officials went to Sacramento to persuade JLAC to ditch the report. Coalition leaders, who were also in Sacramento, heard the bond underwriter tell committee members that the bonds buyers were threatening action because the city hadn't disclosed the JLAC investigation.
Power Play: Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg Muzzles a Chief Critic of Casino Owner Dr. Irving Moskowitz
by Ron Russell
28 September 2000
New Times LA

Russell reports on an unofficial Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing dealing with Moskowitz's casino in Hawaiian Gardens. It also goes over some of the findings in the JLAC's report on the casino.
Maverick Hearing Adds to Dispute on Hawaiian Gardens
by Joe Mathews, Times Staff Writer
19 September 2000
Los Angeles Times

Matthews reports on an unofficial Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing dealing with Moskowitz's casino in Hawaiian Gardens. The story also covers over some of the findings in the JLAC's report on the casino.

View all news reports
2003 the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem