Mayor Villaraigosa in Deal to Pay $42,000 For Accepting Free Lakers, Oscar Awards Tickets Without Reporting Them as Gifts as Required
According to the Los Angeles Times, the mayor has agreed to pay $42,000 in fines to settle probes by the city Ethics Commission and the state Fair Political Practices Commission over his acceptance of valuable sports and entertainment tickets from people who do business with the city.
According to the Times, Villaraigosa admitted ...
... to accepting free tickets to 34 events and failing to report them as gifts, as would seemingly be required under law.
What appears to be a settlement deal still needs to be approved by the commission and the FPPC.
Villaraigosa attended as many as 85 such events, including Lakers games, the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards. It's not yet clear to us why he didn't admit to failing to report all 85 such cases.
Villaraigosa argued that he had to attend the events in his capacity as mayor. Often he would preside over a side ceremony -- such as giving someone a certificate of recognition -- to justify his freeloading.
Guess that argument didn't work.
The Times says the mayor could have faced $167,000 in fines.
Interestingly, the Weekly calculated that the free tix were worth at least $50,000.
So what did we learn here?
When you're a powerful political leader in L.A., you can pay your way out of lawbreaking and come away fairly clean.
And, uh, this news dropping late on a Friday afternoon, the best time besides maybe Saturday to bury the stink of a story about political wrong-doing? Straight from the political playbook. And priceless.