The hockey arena developers gave Perez $ 60,000 after the project won the County OK

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A month after the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a $ 250 million project to build a hockey arena in Coachella Valley, the cohort leading the plans donated the maximum possible amount to the Valley’s representative on the board, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.

With strong support from local officials, the supervisors have approved unanimously plans an ice hockey and concert arena along Interstate 10 on May 25th.

The 295,000 square foot two-lane facility is being developed by Los Angeles-based Oak View Group on land owned by the HN and the Frances Berger Foundation adjacent to the Classic Club Golf Course near Thousand Palms and Palm Desert. The project began in early June and when completed will be the home of the American Hockey League subsidiary of the National Hockey League’s Seattle Kraken.

More:Ice hockey event arena in the desert receives OK from Riverside County regulators

More:Coachella Valley Arena: After two years of discussion, officials lay the foundation stone for the future home

Irving Azoff speaks during the Coachella Valley Arena groundbreaking ceremony at the Classic Club in Thousand Palms, June 2, 2021.

Within a month of board approval, significant donations were made by development company CEO Tim Leiweke and co-investor Irving Azoff to Perez, whose district includes the project and who described the project as a “game changer” for Riverside County, particularly the A thousand palm trees, during the May session.

On June 23, Leiweke, Azoff, and the Oak View Group donated a total of $ 60,000 to Perez’s 2022 campaign account.

Azoff made a single donation of $ 20,000 – the maximum amount allowed in any county regulation Approved late last year. In his role at Oak View Group, Leiweke donated two US $ 20,000 to Perez, one each for the 2022 primary and one for the general election, a move allowed under the new regulation.

Perez was the only manager on the five-member board of directors to have received donations from developers in recent months, according to campaign funding records. A spokesman for Azoff and Leiweke noted in a statement their broad financial support for the Coachella Valley community.

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Coachella Valley Arena at the Classic Club in Thousand Palms, June 2, 2021.

“Tim and Irving are both residents and businesses in the Coachella Valley and are privately investing more than $ 300 million in the valley,” read the statement and facilities, including the Eisenhower Medical Center. “

“Why didn’t you support other board members and / or politicians? … Nobody else asked, ”concludes the explanation.

Derek Humphrey, a campaign spokesman for Perez, first highlighted the broader support Perez has received for his re-election campaign, with about $ 399,000 raised so far this year. When asked about Azoff and Leiweke’s testimony, Humphrey said that Perez is often associated with his funders, but that he was not aware of the potential contributions when he cast his vote in May.

“Supervisor Perez made a lot of calls in the hopes that supporters would help, but a candidate never knows what to expect from the calls,” said Humphrey. “He is honored that (Irving) Azoff and Tim Leiweke were part of his coalition of early supporters, which includes local community leaders, corporations, unions and tribes. He was not aware of their possible contributions in May.

“These individuals and groups have helped because they know Supervisor Perez’s record and continue to believe that Riverside County is on the right track under his leadership,” he added.

Other groups with ties to the Arena Project have also donated to Perez, who has served on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors since 2017 and has contributed $ 12,000 to Perez’s re-election campaign so far this year.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who were involved in initial plans for an arena in downtown Palm Springs prior to the site move, didn’t stop the change of plan from donating $ 5,000 to Perez’s campaign in June.

Azoff and Leiweke were among the few people who have donated the maximum amount to Perez so far this year. Other top donors are Fred Noble, a longtime wind energy developer in Palm Springs; Tim Rogers, owner of the Thermal Club; and Susana Chandi, Chief Financial Officer of the Chandi Group USA gas station empire.

Local philanthropist Harold Matzner, who broke ground on the arena on 2. For a complete database of campaign contributions for Perez and other local officials, visit the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website.

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, talks about how the new arena will be available to young hockey players like Bodie Berry (left) and Kellen Bowman during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Coachella Valley Arena in Thousand Palms on June 2nd, 2021.

While several local power brokers recently donated to Perez’s campaign, Azoff and Leiweke were the only ones who had direct ties to the Arena Project to provide financial support. However, a campaign finance expert said timing to donate is not alone a burden.

Although Leiweke and Azoff’s donations came just weeks after the arena was approved, California’s campaign finance laws required “a much stronger link between government and campaign contributions,” said Richard Hasen, campaign finance expert and law professor at the University of California, Irvine.

“The law can be difficult, but if it were a crime to give money to politicians who supported contributor projects, we would have a lot of criminals,” said Hasen.

Tom Coulter reports on politics for The Desert Sun. Send him an email at [email protected]


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