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Richard Meruelo and the unconnected dots




In the increasingly obliging margins of K-Rod's blog, political consultant Michael Trujillo was celebrating the accomplishments of Mayor Villaraigosa early this past week. (Imagine that--handing blogspace over to a political operative!)

By the end of the week, however, Ryan Vaillancourt at the Downtown News filed a fine story on the fact that Meruelo Maddux Properties is about to be put on the block as creditors queue up hopefully.

Here's how MMPI mostly got there:
Despite an industrial vacancy rate in Downtown of approximately 3%, MMPI’s vacancy rate was nearly 40% in December, according to court filings.
During the selling off of Los Angeles to absentee landlords that has typified the Villaraigosa mayoralty, out-of-state land baron Meruelo, Villaraigosa's top contributor in 2005, seemed the primary beneficiary of favor. Vaillancourt continues:
Meruelo also earned criticism for an array of dealings, including the un-permitted demolition in 2006 of buildings he owned near Union Station (the Department of Building and Safety banned Meruelo from building on the site for five years).
The Mayor's precise relationship to Mereulo remains half-explored territory even to this day. Early on, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo did some of the initial heavy lifting, which likely cost him dearly politically. But the media have only applied a thin patina of innuendo between the Mayor and Meruelo, not in fact connecting many many dots. Kudos to the Downtown News for hanging with the story.

EARLIER: All Sugar