Villaraigosa Ticket Investiagation continues, but his spokeswoman insists he’s done nothing wrong
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s acceptance of free tickets to entertainment and sporting events, already the subject of city and county probes, is also being investigated by a state agency, but his spokeswoman continued to insist today that he did nothing wrong.
The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the city’s Ethics Commission in looking into whether Villaraigosa violated rules about receiving gifts from entities that conduct business with the city.
“Due to the unique nexus of state and local laws, the FPPC was asked to open an investigation into allegations that Mayor Villaraigosa may have received reportable gifts, and that some of these may have exceeded gift limits,” said Roman Porter, executive director of the state agency.
He said the commission has the ability to assess penalties of up to $5,000 per violation.
Villaraigosa’s spokeswoman, Sarah Hamilton, said the mayor attended the events as part of his job.
“As the chief executive of the nation’s second-largest city, the mayor attends events each year to promote Los Angeles as a world-class business, cultural and entertainment destination,’ she said.
“He believes attending these events is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and will fully cooperate with the commission.’
Records released by the mayor’s office last week showed Villaraigosa recalled attending 85 entertainment and sporting events over the last five years — including 15 Dodger games, 13 Laker games, 10 other sporting events, 22 concerts and 26 awards shows.
Villaraigosa’s legal counsel, Brian Currey, conceded last week that not all of the ticket donors had been identified.
He also said some of the events had been labeled as “private’ and excluded from the mayor’s schedule which is released to the media daily.
Villaraigosa’s girlfriend has been seen with him at Laker games, among other events.
Currey admitted that might be an “issue,’ because the FPPC explicitly exempts only elected officials and their family members from paying for tickets to events where elected officials perform a duty. It does not make the same exemption for other guests.
“If it’s determined that the mayor needs to reimburse for guests, then he certainly will do so,’ he said late last week. – CNS