By Helga Gendell
Part XXI of the Marina del Rey history series addresses the business ties and ultimate legal ramifications affecting two California state senators at the time and a Beverly Hills real estate investor who was then a member of the California Coastal Commission and the county Small Craft Harbor Commission.
In an Oct. 7, 1984 Los Angeles Times article, reporters James Rainey and Mark Gladstone wrote that state Sen. Alan Robbins and two partners — Doug Ring and his father Selden Ring — jointly purchased two Marina del Rey complexes for nearly $37 million. Each partnership was to own 50 percent of the joint venture, but the “bulk of the cash operation” for the purchase would come from Doug and Selden Ring, according to the Times article.
The Robbins/Ring purchase of Bar Harbor and the Deauville Marina complexes was sourced in Part XVI of the Marina history series.
In June 1985, state Sen. Joe Montoya, a Democrat from Whittier, was handed a “political hot potato,” according to a Los Angeles Times article by reporter Gladstone, when lobbyists for the Marina del Rey Lessees Association persuaded Montoya to step in and carry a bill to block the drive to incorporate Marina del Rey after Sen. Bill Lockyer dropped his proposal because of “in-house wrangling.”
Montoya’s involvement was sourced in Part XVIII of the Marina history series.
Mark Nathanson was a Beverly Hills real estate investor and, at the time, a member of both the California Coastal Commission and Small Craft Harbor Commission.
In a Nov. 13, 1986 Los Angeles Times article titled “Ex-Member of Watchdog Panel Pays Fine of $13,400 for Not Listing Business Ties,” reporter Paul Jacobs wrote, “A politically well-connected Los Angeles real estate investor, Mark Nathanson, was fined $13,400 for failing to disclose millions of dollars in business interests while serving as a member of the watchdog Little Hoover Commission between 1983 and 1985.
“Nathanson agreed to pay the fine after admitting to what investigators of the state Fair Political Practices Commission called ‘repeated and wholesale omissions’ from his required financial disclosure statements.”
The Times article continued, “Appointed in January to the state Coastal Commission by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco), Nathanson in a written statement said he paid little attention to conflict-of-interest statements that he was required to file as a Little Hoover Commission member, ‘because I assumed no one would care. Obviously, having just paid over $13,000 in fines n I was wrong.’”
“Each year, public officials are required to file reports in which they disclose their economic holdings and sources of income as evidence that they are not profiting from their positions in government.
“Nathanson accused the Fair Political Practices Commission of using his case ‘to send a message to everyone who has to file,’ and described the fine as ‘excessive’ because there was ‘no hint of a conflict of interest’ uncovered by the commission’s investigators,” stated the Times article.
“Nathanson earlier this year told investigators that he found the economic disclosure statements ‘terribly boring and useless,’ according to a commission staff report.
“As a condition of the settlement, Nathanson is required to amend a series of economic disclosure statements he had filed as a member of the Little Hoover Commission. A spokeswoman for the Fair Political Practices commission said she was unaware of any problems with the documents that Nathanson, as a Coastal Commission member, has filed more recently.”
Jacobs’ Times article continues, “Former Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed Nathanson in 1983 to the Little Hoover Commission, an unpaid panel charged with investigating the efficiency of government agencies. He stepped down in November 1985.
“Several years earlier, in 1977, members of that commission had refused to reveal their incomes, arguing that the economic disclosure requirements of the Political Reform Act did not apply to them. However, the courts ruled otherwise, settling the issue long before Nathanson was appointed,” according to the Times article.
In an Aug. 7, 1988 Los Angeles Times article (Westside Zones Desk) titled, “Marina del Rey Disputes Over Mall Settled,” it stated that “The battle of the malls in the Marina del Rey area has apparently ended, with one development company conceding and selling its property to another developer who has said he will build a primarily residential project.
“Marina East Holding Partnership, of which state Sen. Robbins and developer Brandon Birtcher are principal partners, has reached an agreement to sell a 16-acre site at Lincoln Boulevard and Admiralty Way to the J.H. Snyder Co.
“Snyder Co. holds the master lease on the Marina City Club condominiums in Marina del Rey and is building the Water Garden office project in Santa Monica.”
The Times article continued, “No details of the sale were announced, but the land is estimated to be worth about $45 million. Marina East Partnership was in a race with Prudential Property Co. to build a mall the size of the Westside Pavilion on separate lots less than a mile apart. But Marina East apparently gave up on its plans after the City Council in Culver City last month gave its approval for the other mall, which is to be on an 18-acre site on Washington Boulevard near Lincoln Boulevard.
“Nearby residents and Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter had opposed the Marina East proposal because of potential traffic and parking problems and favored residential development.”
The Times article described the property sold to Snyder as “The roughly trapezoidal-shaped parcel, known as Admiralty Place, bounded by Lincoln Boulevard, Admiralty Way and Maxella Avenue, at the end of the Marina Freeway.”