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Villaraigosa contacts ethics officials for possible review after accepting free tickets

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has "voluntarily initiated contact" with the city Ethics Commission and City Attorney for a possible review of the way the mayor accepted free tickets to dozens of sporting events, awards shows and concerts since 2005, a Villaraigosa spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Officials in the mayor’s office are feverishly researching Villaraigosa’s calendars, receipts and other documents to determine what “official” or ceremonial role he played at each of the 81 events they say he was scheduled to attend. They also are trying to determine if tickets to all those events were provided free of charge -- and if so by whom -- or if the mayor or the city paid for the tickets.

State and city laws require politicians to report gifts they receive -- and say who gave them -- and accept no more than $420 worth of gifts or tickets from any one source in a year.

In a televised interview last month after sitting courtside at a Lakers game -- where tickets generally run $3,100 -- the mayor acknowledged getting his ticket for free but said he had performed an official duty. Under state law, politicians are not required to report receiving free tickets to events where they have a “ceremonial" or official role.

“After receiving press inquiries about the mayor's attendance at various events, the mayor's office voluntarily initiated contact with the Ethics Commission staff, provided them with same information given to the media, and agreed to provide additional information as it becomes available. We also have communicated with the City Attorney's office on the topic," said Villaraigosa spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton. “We continue to believe that the mayor has complied with all applicable laws and regulations."

Over the last five years, Villaraigosa has attended 13 Lakers games, often sitting courtside, and 12 Dodgers games. He’s also attended the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards and Grammy Awards. The mayor’s office said Villaraigosa was scheduled to attend more than 20 concerts since 2005, from an Aretha Franklin performance in 2005 to a U2 concert in October.

The only ticket to an awards show, concert or sporting event that Villaraigosa reported as a gift on his required financial disclosure forms was in 2006, when he attended the Academy Awards as a guest of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and declared receiving a $100 "ticket discount."

For the last five years combined, the total value of the four tickets he received to the Oscars ceremony and Governor's Ball is $21,000, an academy spokeswoman said.

Officials with the Ethics Commission and City Attorney's office declined to comment.

-- Phil Willon at Los Angeles City Hall

Comments () | Archives (33)

He is guilty as charged. What could be his official capacity at a Lakers game? Vote this idiot out!

I've been saying this for a long time, this mayor is corrupted and does a horrible job as mayor of this great city. They should have him resign as quickly as possible to serve whats best for Los Angeles.

I am no fan of Tony V. but I do find this to be much ado about nothing. He is the mayor of Los Angeles and it is the LOS ANGELES Lakers so I do think as mayor he is entitled. Every high-profile job comes with perks and free seats for the mayor of the city's the home team should be one of them. What's next, questioning whether or not he got priority seating or a reservation at an exclusive restaurant?

I don't care about any of this. I just want him to stop defending illegal aliens and protesting Arizona, when he should be focusing on saving this city from collapse.

Tony Villar has always been a sleaze-bag so this is nothing new. From the way he conducts himself in private is no different than the way he now conducts himself in public. The uneducated masses of LA will continue to vote for this type of sleazy politician.

It is time Mayor V is handed a pink slip. Vote this moron out before our beautiful city faces insolvency!

Oh, of course. "Official or ceremonial functions". This guy is a moron if we are expected to believe that. $20k alone in comped Oscar tickets...what a shame he is so arrogant.

Just because the mayor has his people write up some dumb city resolution to offset the free tickets that he is getting does not make it right. He has to be the weakest mayor this city has seen in some time.

This guy is a weasel.

This is one of the perks of being the mayor...He represents the city...Leave him alone!

... "After receiving press inquiries ... the mayor's office voluntarily initiated contact with the Ethics Commission staff".
No comment.

Of course he will "voluntarily initiated contact" with the city Ethics Commission and City Attorney, they're all friends. They'll pretend to "review" all the facts then find he violated no rules/laws and he and they will laugh about this together at their next campaign fund raising events.

let the good times roll

If you need to ask it is unethical. Who cares if he attends, he would do anything except work for sharing his goofy smile around LA. Perhaps he is looking for a job in the movies, maybe he has some skills, it is definitely not his executive skills.

The mayor is a disgrace to this city. He is a weasel. I am embarressed that he is a Latino like I am. So sad. What a loser!

There may be no records from the events side, because they are so ashamed they invited (should i say they accepted the forceful self-invitation of) this pro-illegal clown

Just resign.

I have seen him on the George Lopez show, and recognized him for the sleezeball he is. I have seen him try to inflict harm on my state, AZ, based on his partiality to his race, which is indefensible, because he willfully misrepresented our law to his constituents, and beyond that, tried to toady to one race over and above another, which is what Gloria Molina has made a career of. I lived most of my life in Ca, thankfully in Orange County. If I had to endure him as an elected politician in my state, I would impeach him at the first opportunity, and also Gloria Molina.

As a government worker, I had the opportunity to represent the agency I work for in part of a pre-game ceremony for the Dodgers several years ago. And after the ceremony we were told that we had to buy tickets to watch the Dodgers. I left after my job was done. Obviously Mayor Villaraigosa can't figure that out, just like he can't figure out how to be a mayor.

No problem. We'll just ship our illegal law-breakers directly to his office. Have fun with the bills. We hear you're in the red. Don't count on our state to help.

so i can tell my kids is ok to take brives as long as you cover youre traks , i am a mexica american a chicano no way we dint go to defend america for this kind of crooks and the mayor and city concil we are not this kind of trash we chicanos love america and america belives this latinos can go to hell.

(this pro-illegal clown)...lol... I hope you vote him out...better yet put him in jail then deport

The Pint size Mayor is corrupt, and he needs to go NOW. Furthermore, he is not going to go because he thinks he has done nothing wrong. The Pint Size Mayor does not have a conscience.

Villaraigosa is too liberal for my liking, but this is ridiculous...of all the various forms of corruption politicians engage in, free tickets are about a "1" on a scale of 1-10 compared to other, far worse examples of political corruption.

In a CNN Poll conducted over the weekend, 82% oppose boycotts against Arizona while 57% of Americans approve of Arizona's immigration enforcement law.

The poll, which questioned American adults rather than registered or likely voters, revealed the following changes:

•Those who want the number of illegal immigrants decreased went up three points in seven months to 76%
•Those who want all illegal immigrants expelled increased four points to 41%
•The split on whether immigration reform should focus on normalization or enforcement increased from 41/56 in December 2005 to 38/60 today
•Support for border fence went from a steady 45% over the last 4 years to 54%
•Support for stiff employer fines rose from 58% in 2006 to 71%
•Increasing federal agents at the border now supported by 88%, up from 74

I hope that pint size reads all of these comments and realize nobody likes him......go home

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