L.A. mayor’s race: Pleitez files ethics complaint against Garcetti
Mayor hopeful Emanuel Pleitez has filed a complaint with the Los Angeles Ethics Commission alleging that rival candidate Eric Garcetti violated disclosure rules by failing to report his ownership interest in a Beverly Hills property.
The Times reported Wednesday that Garcetti did not list the property -- the site of a hair salon that pays him rent -- on his state and city disclosure forms before 2007.
The city councilman then reported it for three years, but stopped listing it as a real estate holding in 2010.
Instead, Garcetti reported the rent payments he receives from the salon as income from his grandfather’s trust, a co-owner of the property.
Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman called the Pleitez complaint, which was filed late Wednesday, “frivolous.”
Millman said Garcetti did not report his interest in the Wilshire Boulevard property from 2001 through 2006 because he was advised that its location outside the Los Angeles city limits exempted it from disclosure.
State law, however, generally requires disclosure of real estate holdings within two miles of a city officeholder’s jurisdiction; the Beverly Hills property is within that distance of Los Angeles. For the most part, city disclosure rules are similar to and sometimes tougher than the state’s.
Millman noted that the statute of limitations had expired for any violation involving the years before 2007. He said that Garcetti believes he has met the disclosure requirement since 2010 by listing his rental income from the Harry Roth Trust, but that the candidate’s attorneys would review the matter.
In the story about the property, The Times focused on a drilling rights lease that Garcetti signed for the parcel with Venoco Inc., the company that operates oil wells at nearby Beverly Hills High School.
Garcetti, who has won the Sierra Club’s endorsement, had not mentioned his potential stake in Venoco’s drilling work when pushed his pro-environment agenda and criticized the company’s offshore operations. He has not earned royalties from the 20-year lease, which he signed in 1998, because Venoco has yet to take any oil or gas from the property.
Millman said Garcetti did not remember signing the lease and would donate any royalties to the Sierra Club.
Pleitez spokesman John Hill said in a statement, “You can't greenwash dirty oil money just by donating it to the Sierra Club. I doubt they'd even accept it.”
Last week, Pleitez, a former tech executive, lodged a complaint with the Ethics Commission claiming that Garcetti had a financial conflict of interest when he voted for a lucrative deal with a billboard firm in whose parent company he owned stock.
Millman said the 2006 billboard vote did not pose a conflict because Garcetti "didn't know or have any reason to know" that he had a financial interest in Clear Channel Outdoor, whose parent is Clear Channel Communications.
-- Paul Pringle
Photo: Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times