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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)

too little, too late.

Can someone tell me one positive thing that this clown have done since he took office .All I keep reading is how he find new way to take more of your hard earn money .Just go to show you how stupid people are in LA to put this clown in office .

Tony Villar sucks and the only reason he "voluntarily" reported himself to the Ethics Commission was because he got a heads up that he was about to be REPORTED to the Ethics Commission. Doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.

As an American of Mexican origin (not Mexican American, an AMERICAN of Mexican origin), I'm sick of my fellow hispanics voting RACE first, Country second.

LMAO-wow the excuses that come out of these people, and their self enforcement-and friends on the payroll. They are the worst of the worst-I think their bubble has burst with the public, they don't even know it yet-they are always behind the times. They just realized not long ago they were hurting for money. The mayor takes alot of trips to Washington when the entitlement funds and union pensions start to run low. Then to replenish the DWP needs to raise fees. Now watch when the boycott backlash comes to haunt them in the service field, the movie industry is already seeing it, the vacations are being cancelled. Time will tell if these people realized what they will be personally responsible for when businesses start hurting and the money stops flowing in.

King Tony thinks he is entitled to all these perks and Mayor or not, he is not. He requires all other City employees to sign an ethics statement, but obviously it does not apply to himself. How convenient to whip up some inconsequential proclamations to put on a facade of official duty to get into these expensive events for free. No wonder they did not want to lay off any of the City calligraphers! The arrogance and corruption of this Mayor is so clear, it is incredible that there is not a bigger uproar. It certainly demonstrates the apathy of the voters. Sign the recall petition at recallcityhall.org.
He and the City Council just barely deign to notice the average citizen and their concerns as they consider themselves so high above us. And now here we go again with more DWP increases after the last one so, so long ago in April. Wake up people!! Get rid of this sleaze.

I'm wondering what kind of "perks " he gets from Mexico,maybe some free lap dances at bars in TJ.

I dont agree with a lot of what the mayor does,but this is to much about nothing.While pro sports teams are private businesses they all provide a window to the world of the host city,and the mayor of any city should be vissable in that window.If the mayor is realy trying to bring jobs to the city being in the same arena with many captains of industry makes sense,same as MLB imagine the NY in the world series sand mayor Blumberg. looking for a political scandel in LA knock on any door,just not the Staples VIP enterance.

Give me a break! He knew he was working a loophole in the system. He's just trying to have his buddies help him save face. The people will forget about this a few weeks from now since the media won't stay on top of it. This guys a career politician. He'll just cover it up with a ton of press conferences concocted by his staff to over shadow these incidents. In the mean time, AEG will continue to get it's closed door deals.

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