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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to pay $42,000 in fines


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will pay nearly $42,000 in fines to settle state and city ethics probes into his acceptance of unreported tickets to sporting and other events, according to documents released today.

According to a proposed decision and related materials released by the FPPC, Villaraigosa accepted and failed to report tickets to more than 30 events during his first five years in office–including tickets to Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers games, the Academy Awards, American Music Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and a 2009 “American Idol” finale show.

The mayor came under fire last year for accepting tickets to various events. Villaraigosa repeatedly defended his acceptance of the tickets, saying he attended the events to perform ceremonial duties on behalf of the city.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, which still needs final approval from the FPPC and the Ethics Commission, the mayor would pay $21,000 to the FPPC and $20,849 to the city ethics panel.

In a one-page statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Villaraigosa said it was his “responsibility to make sure I act in strict compliance with the applicable rules.”

According to paperwork prepared by the FPPC, investigators found that Villaraigosa has no prior history of violating the rules regarding acceptance of gifts, and his violation of the rules was “unintentional.” But investigators concluded that a seasoned politician should have known better.

The mayor “has been in office in one capacity or another for almost 20 years,” according to a 10-page FPPC report. “He has received ethics training regarding the rules of gift disclosure on numerous occasions over the span of his career. Additionally, he was well aware of the resources available to him through the CEC, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the FPPC to provide
clarification of reporting rules and requirements.”

Villaraigosa’s “large number of unreported gifts … deprived the public of knowledge of gifts from groups or individuals that may have had business before the city of Los Angeles,” according to the report.

The FPPC is expected to consider the settlement at its April 11 meeting.