A couple days after the announcement of the pending Nipsey Hussle Tower, the late rapper’s business and investment partner David Gross took to Instagram to reveal some troubling behind the scenes clashes that him and Nipsey were having with the City of Los Angeles before and after Hussle’s death on March 31, 2019.
“After two NY Times articles in the past month (one in which the City Attorney leaked these docs and others) and an LA Times article coming,” Gross wrote, “I have to speak.” The real estate entrepreneur is referring to the recent New York Times articles “California Today: Why L.A. Police Have Been Investigating Nipsey Hussle” and “Was Nipsey Hussle’s Business Empire Endangering a Community or Empowering It?”
The City Vs The Marathon Store
Gross and Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom) partnered to purchase Slauson Plaza where the rapper’s Marathon Store was located and where the future Nipsey Hussle Tower will be built. According to Gross, “The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office was trying to end us. Literally. They wanted to expel The Marathon Store from Slauson Plaza.” He alleges the City Attorney had harassed Nipsey and his businesses for decades. Gross continues in his Instagram post, “When I partnered with them to buy the lot, I got to experience the way these systems work together first hand. The City Attorney hated (with ALL their hearts) that their maniacal zeal to expel the Marathon Store from Slauson Plaza actually resulted in us buying it and planning to develop it.”
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In the long Instagram post, Gross accuses the City Attorney of trying to leverage the press against him by leaking documents and emails to the NY Times to smear their efforts and ownership of the plaza seem like a problem for the Crenshaw District.
In his online post, Gross provided a picture of a February 13, 2019 letter sent to him from the City Attorney, Michael N. Feuer. The letter revealed that the LAPD considered the Plaza as having illegal gang activity associated with it. The attorney requested a meeting with him and failure to cooperate would result in the filing of a civil enforcement action against Slauson and Crenshaw Ventures, LLC, which is the business entity that owns the plaza.
View David Gross’ full Instagram post
Before his death, Hussle wasn’t shy about his former illegal activity. In a February 2019 Forbes article, Nipsey admits “Before we was renting here, I was hustling in this parking lot.” Long before his death, Hussle had walked away from illegal hustling and turned to music and investing into the community where he grew up in Los Angeles.
Building Opportunity Zones
Gross and Hussle had a vision for the land where the plaza sits. It’s currently zoned for 40 units. According to the Forbes article, they were working with the city and local council members to get it zoned for 100 units. The property was located in an Opportunity Zone, which is a provision to encourage investment in low-income areas. Forbes reported there are no limits on the amount of money that can be plowed into an Opportunity Zone or the amount of tax that can be avoided.
Before is death, Nipsey co-founded a coalition called Our Opportunity with Gross. According to the website, it’s mission is to use private investment as a tool to create and spread economic opportunity to help rewrite the narrative of our neighborhoods. Our Opportunity has teamed up with other city legends, like Clifford “T.I.” Harris in Atlanta, to build in these Opportunity Zones across the country.
In May 2019, Our Opportunity partnered with Forbes and hosted Forbes Opportunity Zone Summit in Newark, New Jersey. Gross was joined by partners Clifford “T.I.” Harris, Charlamagne Tha God, and Los Angeles Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson to discuss local investment in inner cities.
Watch Video from the Forbes Opportunity Zone Summit Panel Discussion
This fight with Nipsey’s business and the City of Los Angeles appears to be long from over. Gross ended his Instagram post with “More to Come.”