Journalists and readers have been asking questions regarding who the hell is running LA Weekly ever since the newspaper’s new owners, Semanal LLC, gutted a majority of its editorial staff Wednesday. After spending the day digging into the list of owners named in a cold-hearted article by new LA Weekly head honcho Brian Calle, so far the Weekly has found that five of the seven investors named by Calle have donated to the Republican Party at least once in the past. In fact, Michael Mugel and Paul Makarechian have donated huge sums to GOP candidates and PACs.
Here’s what we know so far:
Paul Makarechian, named as a “boutique hotel developer” by Calle, is the CEO of Makar Properties LLC and the founder/chairmen of the National Board for Gen Next. According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Makarechian is registered as a Republican. He’s been a donor to the Republican Party since 1997, donating thousands to committees for candidates including Pete Wilson, George W. Bush Jr., Ed Royce, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake and Mitch McConnell, among others. Gen Next’s PAC “Gen Equity Federal Pac” is a contributor to several Republican candidates and in May gave $10,700 to the McCarthy Victory Fund, a committee for Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy of California’s 23rd District.
Michael “Mike” Mugel is the CEO of Red Mountain Group Inc. of Santa Ana. According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Mugel is registered as a Republican. Mugel has been a donor to the Republican Party since 2010, donating thousands to committees for candidates such as Mitt Romney, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Gallagher and none other than President Donald J. Trump.* His donations are yuuuge—he donated $25,000 to the committee Trump Victory in 2016* and $100,000 to the Conservative, Authentic, Responsive Leadership for You and America committee in 2015.
*Given that in his lame-ass letter to readers, Calle insisted that the new owners of LA Weekly didn’t include “Lord Voldemort” or “some Trumpista,” it’s rather informative to note here that indeed, one of the paper’s new owners, Mike Mugel, is in fact, a Trumpista.
David Welch, the LA-based, medical-cannabis attorney of DR Welch Attorneys at Law, was previously revealed to be a part of Semanal Media LLC by OC Weekly‘s Mary Carreon. In 2014, he donated $2,000 to the Committee to Re-Elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and in 2015 and again in September, he donated $2,000 and $700, respectively, to Rohrabacher for Congress.
Brian Calle is already well-known for his Libertarian-slanted editorials. According to the OC Registrar of Voters, Calle is registered as a Republican. In 2006, he donated $1,550 to the Republican candidate committee Brian Bilbray for Congress and $5,000 to the Generation Next Federal PAC. Then, in 2007, Calle donated $3,000 to the Lincoln Club of Orange County Federal PAC (long a supporter of Republican candidates) and another $2,000 to the Generation Next Federal PAC.
Andrew “Andy” Bequer is the “Southern California-based investor” at least formerly of Q&S Investments LLC and ADR Management LLC. According to the OC Registrar of Voters, Bequer is registered as a Republican. Bequer donated $2,500 to Marco Rubio for President in 2016 and a look at his Facebook reveals he’s the member of the Facebook group “CUBANS FOR DONALD TRUMP” as Spike Friedman originally revealed on Twitter.
The ties of Kevin Xu have yet to be investigated and the only ties Steve Mehr (CEO of WebShark360) appears to have is a November 5. 2017 Instagram post where he said he’s “giving early support” to Lt. Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s run for Governor of California (Newsom is a Democrat). According to the OC Registrar of Voters, Mehr has no party preference. As far as Erwin Chemerinsky (the dean of UC Berkeley’s Law School who praised Calle and said he plans to invest) is concerned, his donation history stretches Democrat all the way back to 1996. So what the hell would a majority right-leaning ownership want with a historically left-leaning paper is a question yet to be answered. The Weekly will continue following this developing story.