LA Real Estate Practice of International Law Firm Gives Big Dollars in WeHo Council Campaigns


Latham & Watkins' James Arnone
Latham & Watkins’ James Arnone

The Los Angeles real estate practice of a law firm with offices from Abu Dhabi to Singapore has emerged as a major contributor to incumbents in West Hollywood political campaigns.

Members of the real estate practice of Latham & Watkins, none of whom live in West Hollywood or have offices here, have pumped $11,025 into the city’s 2011 and 2013 elections, according to an analysis of contribution data by WEHOville. Of that, $5,500 has been invested in the 2013 election, with a donation of $2,000 to West Hollywood Voters for Choice, a committee established to oppose council member term limits. Incumbent Councilmember John Duran and Mayor Jeffrey Prang each have received $1,750 from Latham & Watkins lawyers.

The biggest single donor is James Arnone of Malibu, who has given a total of $4,000 thus far in the 2011 and 2013 elections. Arnone is chair of Latham’s local environment, land and resources department whose expertise includes infrastructure, energy and real estate development projects. Among other projects, he represented the developer of the proposed Sunset Doheny Hotel (now renamed the Marriott Edition hotel), which won City Council approval in June 2012 despite the concerns of city staffers that it would be 112 parking spaces short of the 488 required and questions raised about the possible impact of noise from the property on nearby residents.

Arnone and George Mihlsten, another Latham real estate attorney who lives in Manhattan Beach, are the donors to an anti-term limits campaign fund, which opposes an initiative to set a non-retroactive term limit of 12 years on council members. The term limits proposal, which will be on the March 5 ballot, is opposed by Councilmembers John Heilman, Abbe Land and John Duran and Mayor Jeffrey Prang. It isn’t clear where Councilmember John D’Amico stands on the issue. Other major donors to the anti-term limits campaign fund are real estate interests and the West LA Health Political Action Committee, which despite its name is funded mostly by real estate interests, including Mihlsten, who gave the PAC $1,500 last year.

In addition to the donations to Prang and Duran, Latham attorney donations in the two campaigns total $2,000 for Councilmember Land, $1,874 for Heilman, $750 for 2011 incumbent Lindsey Horvath, and $650 for D’Amico, who defeated Horvath.

Arnone did not return a call from WEHOville requesting comment about donations by his firm’s attorneys.

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Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

The only PEOPLE who should be allowed to donate to a politicians campaign fund should be…well… a ‘people’. Not a business. Not a pac group. Until that is a fact… this problem will never go away locally, nationally, or on a state level. How about $100 per voter per politician? The end.

…you will then see a dramatic re-focus of politicians and their behavior. If money equals voice…then equalize the contribution amounts and thereby reduce the voice to only voters. (A novel idea.)

10 years ago

So where’s the outrage when a right wing organization helps
with measure C………….
How hypocritical …………

10 years ago

yup, as they say, FOLLOW THE MONEY, it always takes you to where you want to go…..great job wehoville!!!!….cannot wait to see what you dig up next

10 years ago

WEHOville is doing the residents a great service by putting the time & resources into the fact finding required for these articles. Disturbing is right… yet how many voters won’t know anything about this on election day? Still, in this information age, reaching a wide segment of even our small population isn’t easy. All of us must try to facebook and email links to these articles to give them the widest exposure possible in WeHo… because every person who votes in this election should have this information before they make their decision.

Tom Fuchs
Tom Fuchs
10 years ago

Congratulations on doi8ng what newspapers (in print or on-line) should do. This is an important story. It is also disturbing.

10 years ago

if you are as sick as we are about this crap, and other hideous stuff going down in weho, please join our group….we are working on plans to inform the public (through demonstrations, video, gorilla street marketing etc) as to what is going on in the remaining days before the election

please email us at: ….our belief is that most residents have NO IDEA whats happening at city hall and we want to get the message out there QUICKLY…..

it’s easy to complain on these websites, but this is a call for ACTION!!!!

10 years ago

…and the hits keep coming!

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