Boutique Fun and Games With Johnny Lu and Larry Liu

FFFF has already reported on some of the colorful financial background of Johnny Lu of TA Partners, our City’s stand-up partner on the so-called “boutique” hotel project at the railroad tracks. This hot mess even has a name: The Tracks at Fullerton Station. The development has morphed into a monstrous minotaur by adding approval for a massively dense apartment – an amalgamation which gives us a shocking 130 units per acre, overall.

Well, anyway, we previously shared the news that Johnny was in default on massive construction loans he somehow finagled for projects in Irvine a few years ago. The lender on those has foreclosed on those properties.

That can’t be good…

And here’s some even more recent news. It seems that Johnny has waded out into more legal problems over in LA, according to The Real Deal, a real estate news source. Here’s the thrust of the complaint by bamboozled investors on a “project” at Playa Vista:

The investors — who form an entity called RUC14 Playa LLC — sued Lu, Liu and TA Partners, alleging commingling of funds, fraud and misrepresentation, court records show. Attorneys for TA Partners, which have requested for arbitration in the case, did not respond to a request for comment.

Johnny and his partner, Larry Liu, declared their bankruptcy on the Playa Vista project. But let’s give the misunderstood boys a break. A little contrition goes a long way, right? Said Larry:

“We would like to offer our apology for the non-compliance during project execution,” Liu wrote in the letter. “Self-reflection is needed and I would like to apologize.”

Whatever any of this means to “TA Westpark LLC.,” the corporation that was awarded the Fullerton project entitlements (without any competition) remains to be seen. But now Johnny and Larry have equity – and boy have they got equity; see, Councilmembers Zahra, Charles and Whitaker handed them a bonanza – a plot of land available for hundreds of units – for a mere pittance: $1.4 million less associated costs.

Ms. Charles happened to mention at a council item about raising funds for Fullerton’s fiscal disaster, that the boutique hotel plan was moving along. But there was no mention of the fiscal disaster facing Johnny and Larry Enterprises. Does she even know? Does she understand what is happening? Does she care? Probably no on all three.

The plan here is crystal clear. At this point nobody is going to lend Lu and Liu a bent nickle. But these fine fellows will have entitlements worth tens of millions on this project; a project that never should have happened in the first place – an unsolicited proposal by a local guy who had no chance of building a birdhouse.

This project will be reassigned to a third party, someone the City “business development” expert bureaucrats will be sweet-talked into recommending. And then Johnny and Larry will quietly disappear from Fullerton with millions belonging to us.

Fullerton being Fullerton.

17 Replies to “Boutique Fun and Games With Johnny Lu and Larry Liu”

  1. These guys are just con men. Typical for Fullerton. I remember City gave a guy named Caleb Nelson a million bucks to build an SRO.

    But Caleb couldn’t build a birdhouse either, so the City assigned the deal to the crook Ajit Mithaiwala. Later, Mithaiwala got busted defrauding the City of LA and took it on the lam to India.

  2. Public employees, career bureaucrats, and politicians — especially at the local level — are predominantly narcissistic, power-mongering morons. They are egomaniacs with inferiority complexes.

    Taxpayers are the perpetual losers, especially in California, where insanity, mismanagement, stupidity, and unaccountability have been normalized in every public institution.

  3. 130 units to the acre??? Are you fucking kidding me? 90DU to the acre is considered max density but 130?! That’s insane! Has the City already entitled the property for 130DU? And they gave up the property for $1.4 million? Who in the holy fuck over there is managing these negotiations? This project is shaping up to be the Kelly Thomas of Fullerton land deals. Fullerton being Fullerton indeed.

    1. The Specific Plan call for a max density of 60 units an acre. The City took a shit on its own plan. Where were the boohoos and the observer crowd? Fighting for the Trail to Nowhere.

  4. We can thank Doug Chaffee, now OC Sup for this one. A member of the Fullerton Trifecta,
    Council, sup, assembly.

    I remember when he brought it forward at council. I was like WTH ? ‍♀️‍♀️
    A boutique where all the homeless transients harass people.
    Perfect sense to me.
    Add the RR track trail

      1. But it was the drone Jesse Quirk Silver who changed his vote to keep the stoopid thing alive.

  5. There is some competition, but Fullerton is clearly the worst-managed city with third-rate leadership in all of Orange County. That’s saying something because Stanton, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster and La Palma are all circling the bowl too.

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