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4 L.A. councilmen fined $13,300 for taking free tickets to Hollywood events

Four members of the Los Angeles City Council have agreed to pay a combined $13,300 in fines for receiving free tickets to various Hollywood award shows and dinners over the last four years, according to agreements reached with the city's Ethics Commission.

In separate deals that come up for a vote Tuesday, Councilmen Tony Cardenas, Eric Garcetti, Jose Huizar and Herb Wesson will admit they violated a city law that prohibits them from accepting gifts of more than $100 a year from "restricted sources" -- individuals and groups that have business pending before the city.

The financial penalties are the first to surface since state officials announced last week that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had agreed to pay state and city regulators a fine of nearly $42,000 over his acceptance of tickets to 34 separate events, including Los Angeles Lakers games, Los Angeles Dodgers games and concerts featuring such performers as Shakira and the Spice Girls.

That fine, issued in tandem with the Ethics Commission, was considered to be the largest of its kind for the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, according to that agency's executive director. The commission is scheduled to vote Monday on its share of the fine.

Of the four fines negotiated with L.A. council members, the largest will be received by Garcetti, who agreed to pay $4,800. He accepted free entry to the Governors Ball that accompanied the Academy Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards in 2007, the same year that his father was a member of the Ethics Commission. He also took tickets to the 2008 Academy Awards ceremony and Governors Ball -- but attempted to pay $700 of that ticket's value two years later, according to a report prepared on the fine.

Although Garcetti faced a maximum penalty of $15,000, Ethics Commission investigators offered a reduced amount, noting that the councilman said he misunderstood the city's gift laws as they related to award shows. He also believed he was paying the "full value" of the gifts at the time he received them, the Ethics Commission's report said.

Garcetti, who represents part of Hollywood, said in a statement that he thought the $1,800 he paid in 2007 covered not just the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards but the Governors balls that were held afterward.

"While I paid the full cost of the award show tickets, I messed up when it came to the dinners afterward," he said. "That's my mistake and I'm personally paying for the cost of these three dinners to clear it up."

The next largest fine was issued to Wesson, who reached an agreement to pay $3,900 over his receipt of four free tickets to each of the BET Awards shows held in 2007, 2008 and 2009 at the Shrine Auditorium.

Cardenas agreed to pay $2,500 over his acceptance of two free tickets to the 2008 Emmy Awards, gifts that have a value of $1,300 each, according to the Ethics Commission. Huizar's lawyers agreed to pay $2,100 for taking two Academy Awards tickets.

Fines also have been proposed for the donors of the tickets, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has lobbied the city in recent years over a development project in Hollywood and a plan to lease nine parking garages. That organization has reached an agreement to pay a $13,250 penalty.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is set to pay $7,900. Black Entertainment Television Networks, which stages the BET Awards, is scheduled to pay a $3,900 fine. Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre, has agreed to pay the city $799.


DWP had no coherent strategy to pay for renewable-energy effort

L.A. County to hold hearing on swapping land with O.C. to simplify border

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Left photo: Councilman Tony Cardenas. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Second from left photo: Councilman Eric Garcetti. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Second from right photo: Councilman Jose Huizar. Credit: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times

Right photo: Councilman Herb Wesson. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (94)


They should all resign Now .They have taken bribes .Theses Liberal Men Step down and let real people help not only the High paying supporters but the Residents ,and Citizens of the USA

If they are that crooked when just having some fun, how crooked are they when they get down to work?

Poor Eric, he misunderstood the city's gift laws as they related to award shows. For an ordinary citizen, ignorance of the law is no excuse. When you're someone special, no problem!

So when the common person commits an oofense i put them in jail but these guys are above the law per villagrosa i'd assume.

What we need is the FBI to investigate villagrosa and the rest of them, then again maybe we can wait untill a conservative is in charge and put all of these criminals in jail.

How about the mayor? He has taken lots of gifts under the auspices of doing the city's business and representing. These officials are blatantly corrupt. LA deserves better.

Garcetti is always doing backroom deals this is just the tip of the ice berg. Garcetti goes on lavish trips and buys expensive gifts on the taxpayer's dime. He is a true criminal. He allows people from the outside the district to come in and reduce the quality of life for those in the district as long as some money ends up in his pocket. I received a parking ticket written at a broken meter, did Garcetti's office help NO! They said pay the fine and penalties so our boss can go on more trips. Tom LeBonge's office was able to help me get a hearing to show the ticket was written unfairly, I noticed Mr. LeBonge is not on the list.

Their punishment should be free dodgers ticket and they have to wear the competing teams shirt

Hmm, why isn't this article on the facebook automatic comment post system?
Are we trying to allow the writers the ability to filter comments they don't agree with still?

What a joke! Fine? These jerks have that much cash in their back pockets daily! These scum should be fined 100 times the value of their gifts and then made to resign or face jail for being CORRUPT!

It starts with the little things...

Investigate Villa now!

LA Times reporters need to investigate LA FreeTicketGate and more - CORRUPT politicians = ILLEGAL activities.

"..city law that prohibits them from accepting gifts of more than $100 a year from "restricted sources" -- individuals and groups that have business pending before the city."

Is that $100 TOTAL or $100 from each group?

That might be the problem.

Thank You.....John Morton....it's about time...someone listens..reacts,and responds with a Great Sense of Urgency!!
White House
9 Judge,name change

Fire these Bums! The title of the article should have read corrupt politicians fired and fined for criminal behavior! Pathetic.

" They violated the law. They should be removed from office and placed in jail." - Slang. Touche, perfectly summed up.

They should be removed from office. Who's going to start the ball rolling?

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