Robert Bisno’s eminent domain plans in Baldwin Park meeting fierce resistance

Bisno\'s plans for Baldwin Park

Developer Robert Bisno is finding out that the people of Baldwin Park don’t lay down like the people of Santa Ana do.  “He comes into cities, buys the land for nothing, puts three units where there should be one unit and then over sells them,” said the Treasurer of a group called C.A.R.A., the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability, in an article published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. C.A.R.A. is opposing Bisno’s plans to redevelop a huge swath of Baldwin Park via eminent domain.

The best part of this story is that Bisno’s dark side is now coming out.  I received multiple phone calls and emails today from readers who saw a story on the t.v. news tonight about Bisno’s problems in Baldwin Park.  And newspapers in the San Gabriel Valley, where I grew up, are having a field day reporting all the bad news about Bisno.  To wit:

  • Critics point to several lawsuits that have been filed against Bisno and a recent near foreclosure of Bisno’s Beverly Hills home. “He’s a very smooth crook,” said John T. Emanuele, a San Leandro resident who along with about a dozen other plaintiffs sued Bisno in 2007 over a business deal gone sour.  Emanuele’s suit stems from a Berkeley development project in the 1980s in which a group of investors accused Bisno of taking $453,000 in partnership money to purchase a private residence.  The case went to trial last year and a jury ruled in favor of the investors, said Richard Stratton, Emanuele’s attorney.Bisno tried to appeal the case, Stratton said, but it was denied.”He admitted in the trial that he (took the money) to cheat the government, to commit tax fraud,” Stratton said, “not to fraud the investors.”

  • At a recent City Council meeting, members of the community alliance criticized Bisno and the recent near foreclosure of his Beverly Hills home.A business dispute prompted a former partner of Bisno’s to begin the foreclosure process on that home several months ago, said Joel Kozberg, Bisno’s attorney in the case.

  • Bisno is still involved in litigation with the North Beverly Park Homeowners Association – a nonprofit organization that enforces the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the North Beverley Park gated community – over a different issue involving the same property. Bisno stands to lose in excess of $300,000 in attorney’s fees if he loses the case, Parga said.

  • The developer has donated $10,000 to Baldwin Park council members – $5,000 to City Councilman Ricardo Pacheco and $5,000 to Lozano in 2007, records show. Records show he also donated $20,000 to Measure D, a campaign in Santa Ana that earlier this year successfully extended term limits for council members from two four-year terms to three four-year terms.

According to the Pasadena Star News the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability has more than 700 members.” And “the association has already seen significant backing from groups like the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Institute for Justice.”

Only 100 of the members are business owners the rest of them are residents of Baldwin Park.

And on June 22, the San Gabriel Valley Tribute reported that three of the crooked Baldwin Park Council Members who have taken money from Bisno were served with recall intention notices.  “Several of Baldwin Park’s recall proponents are members of the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability, which is opposed to the city’s proposed downtown project.”  They only need to collect 4,700 signatures.

One of the Council Members, Anthony Bejarano Jr. said “he’ll happily save everyone the trouble of a recall election if his opposition can get the roughly 4,700 validated signatures needed to move forward with the process.”  “I will step down,” Bejarano said. “No need for an election. I will walk away.”

I hope they collect those signatures!  If only we could get rid of the Santa Ana Clowncil as easily.

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.