City Ethics Commission fines mayor and four city officials

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News:


The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission (CEC) fined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and four other city officials for allegedly accepting gifts valued at more than the allowed $100.

image The five commissioners were unanimous in voting to fine the mayor almost $21,000. They also fined city council officials Eric Garcetti, Jose Huizar, Herb Wesson and Tony Cardenas a combined $13,300. Heather Holt is the executive director of the CEC.

“As I noted, these penalties we’re basing on the excess amount of the gifts, beyond the initial $100, so the total fine is a little more than $20,000,” Holt said. “That’s in addition to the $21,000 fine that the FPPC has already ratified.”

The FPPC is the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Yesterday, it fined the mayor $21,000 for failing to report 21 gifts over the last four years. He’s avoiding the maximum $160,000 fine because his failure to report them was unintentional. Among these gifts were Lakers, Dodgers and USC game tickets, awards shows and after parties and concerts.

“These are the events that both parties believe should have been reported,” Holt said. “Therefore, these are the events of the FPPC’s enforcement action.”

The mayor accepted these gifts from restricted sources, which essentially means anyone with active business before the city.

“We have 12 counts of gifts from restricted sources,” Holt said. “And we have a chart that outlines it going back from 2007 through March 2010.”

These sources include the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, AEG, BET Networks and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. These companies are also facing fines from the CEC.

“It’s not just our elected offices,” Holt said. “It’s all 6,000 of our city officials who are subject to the restricted source law, so everyone in every department needs to be aware of these laws.”

The combined CEC and FPPC penalties value almost $42,000. The mayor is working jointly with the CEC and FPPC to fully resolve the investigation and provide a comprehensive settlement.

“It is my responsibility to make sure I act in strict compliance with the applicable rule,” Villaraigosa said earlier this month.

Speak Your Mind