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A Billion Dollars Laundered on Pershing Square?!


Gentle reader,

Newsletter subscribers often ask, “Where do you find all this wild stuff about Los Angeles?”

The answer is that we’re constantly digging, in old newspapers and special collections archives, trawling oral history transcripts and flipping through photo albums, poking around spooky basements and on rickety fire escapes, talking to old timers. We love Los Angeles, and want to know everything about it.

What we don’t often share is contemporary reporting. There isn’t much worth reading, and even less worth sharing. Since the corporate raiders hollowed out the Los Angeles Times and shut down the free weeklies, L.A. has become an arid news desert, and we’re all suffering the ugly side effects.

No good investigative reporting means it’s easier to do crimes, right out in the open. We’ve even had to launch our own investigations, into the collapse of Skid Row Housing Trust and illegal Airbnbs in rent controlled buildings.

But one bright spot in the alternative media sky is the rise of independent reporters using newsletters and bring their scoops direct to the interested public. Some of the best such work is happening around the courts, with Meghann Cuniff’s informed analyses of Southern California public corruption trials, Justin Kloczko’s snarky deep dives into DWP / City Attorney scam-landia, and Seamus Hughes’ national work pulling a purse seine through PACER court filings looking for big fish.

Our video post today is about something remarkable that Hughes found in the Southern District of Georgia docket and published five days ago in Court Watch #27. This seizure notice refers back to Operation Apex, a massive, decade-long international and cross-country cartel drug and shark fin trafficking scheme that has still not been covered by any local outlet.1

It probably will not be covered. We just don’t have the talent in the newsrooms or the courage in the management suites to tackle what’s really happening in Los Angeles. If almost a billion dollars can be quietly laundered opposite Pershing Square in drug and illicit wildlife proceeds, what else is going on? What isn’t?!

Sadly, many of our elected and appointed officials appear to be too busy with their own small scale criminal schemes to look after Los Angeles. So here’s a big thank you to those dedicated sleuths of the independent press and in law enforcement who still care enough to go digging for dirt and bringing it into the light. They inspire and give us hope, in spite of everything.

yours for Los Angeles,

Kim & Richard


Psst… If you’d like to support our efforts to be the voice of places worth preserving, we have a tip jar and a subscriber edition of this newsletter, vintage Los Angeles webinars available to stream, in-person tours and a souvenir shop you can browse in. Or just share this link with other people who care.

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Here’s local Savannah news covering the DOJ press conference in September 2020, when arrests were first announced.

News from Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles
News from Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles
Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles