Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Indicted leader's anti-gang group got city money

Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes said his office had donated $5,000 in city funds to Homies Unidos, the gang intervention group whose executive director, Alex Sanchez, was named in a wide-ranging federal indictment targeting two dozen members or associates of the MS-13 street gang.

Reyes said the funds, disbursed in 2007 from a general purposes fund controlled by the councilman, were for a youth soccer league that the group had started in the Pico-Union area. He said he was shocked and disappointed when he heard that Sanchez had been arrested, especially given the important community work being done by Homies Unidos.

"The organization filled a void and addressed the needs of youngsters," Reyes told The Times. ”We are all disappointed to see this kind of occurrence amid all these challenges. My heart goes out to the kids and families that worked with him in the past.”

Sanchez, in a letter on the organization's website, thanked Reyes and Tony Cardenas for attending a 10th anniversary banquet for the group. Sanchez also lauded Reyes, Cardenas and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s staff for being ”instrumental” in helping pass a City Council resolution honoring Homies Unidos' 10 years of work in the city.

On its website, the group says it provided services to more than 5,000 youths during its first decade, and  Councilman Eric Garcetti is quoted as part of a campaign for $10 donations.

“Homies Unidos is exactly the kind of community-based violence prevention and intervention program Los Angeles needs to help eliminate its gang problem,” Garcetti stated.

Federal authorities said Homies Unidos received public funds, but they did not specify the sources of the money. Officials in the mayor's office said that they had reviewed records going back more than a decade and that there was no evidence of any contracts or subcontracts for anti-gang work between the city and Homies Unidos.

In a statement, Cardenas said he was "heartbroken by the news of Alex Sanchez."

"It is my sincerest hope that the allegations are not true and that he is proven innocent through the judicial process," Cardenas said. "My knowledge of Alex Sanchez is as an individual who has committed himself to reducing gang violence and improving the community.”

-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

Comments () | Archives (11)

"Sanchez, in a letter on the organization's website, thanked Reyes and Tony Cardenas for attending a 10th anniversary banquet for..(Homies Unidos) Sanchez also lauded Reyes, Cardenas and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s staff for being ”instrumental” in helping pass a City Council resolution honoring Homies Unidos' 10 years of work in the city."

Sounds like a bunch of Latino racists got taken in by one of "their" own.....when your focus in life is "Mexicans getting stuff for other Mexicans", stuff happens...

i'm glad to see the positive comments made by various councilmembers who understand the work that Alex does. It isn't a surprise to me that someone who helped bring justice to those harassed by an unethical law enforcement department is being persecuting for having done so. Unsettling how speaking up in the name of justice for justice will lead you to the hands of law enforcement only to be persecuted. Who will disprove these allegations? Certainly there is no faith in the justice department that operates all these arms? It's like one hand washing the other.

Once again, the gang prevention programs are a failure. Many of these programs are a fraud...taxpayers' money wasted as usual by Villar's and his cronies.

whats new conncil members give money alway , each of them have a fund of 100.00.00 a year no question ask they can give to who ever they one
just the mane give them alway as a gang,homies unidos
hey home boys in city hall you all are crooks and liars

Alex is a criminal, as if Villar and all the others didn't know.
Heck yeah they knew, they just really considered him an example for Latino kids, gang bangers.
Deport then all!

I'm not surprised. IF you dig deeper within our local cities, I'll bet you'll find more stuff. It's just a matter of someone sitting down and reviewing where the money goes.

If you want to get rid of the gang problem you can start with quick deportation for gang members. Such an unbelievably easy and cheap way to deal with the problem yet the political system cowers in fear of some loudmouth activists that do not even represent the views of the majority of voting latinos such as myself. Sickening, just sickening.

Everytime something happens to a Latino, these RACISTS ROACHES come out of the cracks!

"Mexicans getting stuff for other Mexicans", stuff happens...

Remember Madoff. Yea, he ripped off all YOU rednecks. What was the last count??? 15 BILLION!!

Carl 123,Latino kids, gang bangers.Deport then all.

So all gang members are all Illegals and Latinos??
So there are no Skin heads, No Crips and Bloods. No Asian Gangs.

Wake Up, what a bunch of racist that live in the cracks here in LA.


What's the point of deporting if they can just cross right back over the border? Have you ever done research to know that most hispanic illegal immigrants claim they are Mexican even they though might be central and south american? It makes the trek back to the US shorter if they are deported. Once they cross back to the US illegally, how would they be tracked? I agree to deport, but it will only work when the borders are secured. If I was a victim of a crime commited by an illegal immigrant, especially a gang member, I would feel safer knowing he/she is being tracked here in the US rather than the tracking system in some 3rd world country.

Besides, not all gang members are illegally here either. So what grounds would there be for deporting a US citizen?

Requirements for distributing government money to non-profit organizations aimed to reduce gangs:
1. Money handler cannot have previous or current affiliations with gangs. Very basic idea.
2. The allocation of the funds should be audited by the government entity money source.

If I was donating my money, I would like to know where it went and how it was spent.

Any non-profit organization is required to make their financial books public.

Additionally, what about the recent story in the LA Times about that Tarzana non-profit sober living type org where the executives are making 6 figures, and I'm talking about 200 - 400k/year!!!!!!!!!!!! That should be monitored too.

This "street people as community organizers" was thoroughly debunked 40 years ago by Tom Wolfe in his "MauMauing the Flack Catchers" essay. Yet grant money still goes to these front groups for gangs. This is PRECISELY how the Vice Lords gang in Chicago managed to build themselves up to the national level gang they are now (and more powereful in some ways than the LA gangs, I may add):
"reform" yourself as a community development group, let a couple of mil roll in, and start arming yourself even more.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: