Ticketgate: Fabian Nuñez, Schwarzenegger BFF, Pays It Forward, Helps L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa With His Ethics Fines

So L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa went to a few gratis NBA games and awards shows, courtesy of some bedfellow developers -- stinky and elitist, but we've seen worse.

The aftermath of Ticketgate, however, has far out-stunk the crime itself. Villaraigosa was majorly let off the hook when the Ethics Commission only charged him $42,000 for gifts that had exceeded $50,000 and probably neared $100,000, by our calculations.

Then, as if a cityful of voters wasn't watching, Villaraigosa had the audacity to ask for donations to help him cover the fines...

... because apparently the $232,000 salary we pay him, and the gorgeous Windsor Square mansion we bestowed upon him (albeit, without fence spikes to keep the riff-raff out), doesn't allow for such ethical exorbitance.

Today, Villaraigosa's scandal hurdles itself into a whole new realm of ridiculousness, with a full list of Ticketgate contributors -- who, altogether, raised $123,500 to pay the mayor's fines and legal fees. Cleverly, our leading man-about-town set up three separate funds for the donations, thereby allowing him to collect three times the $1,000 cap from each donor.

Sigh. Here they are, with politicians in bold:

  • Nadine Bernecker of Nota Bene Entertainment LLC
  • Willie Brown, Jr., attorney
  • Jim Brulte for Board of Equalization 2014
  • Dario Frommer for Controller 2014
  • Alvin Dworman of Lee National Corp.
  • Ronald P. Estrada, dentist
  • Fabian Nunez for Treasurer 2014
  • Erika Girardi of EJ Global LLC
  • Thomas Girardi, attorney
  • Huntington Park Automotive & Tow, Inc.
  • Ibarra Strategy Group
  • Mark Fabiani, crisis management consultant
  • Cole Frates of Renewable Resources Group
  • Heller Capital Resources Financial & Insurance Services, Inc.
  • Mary Hailey Jameson, homemaker
  • Shelby J. Kaplan of Tricap Corp.
  • Richard Katz Consulting, Inc.
  • Kevin de Leon for Assembly 2018
  • Bernard Klepach of DFASS Group
  • Julliette Klepach, homemaker
  • Ricardo Lara for Assembly 2012
  • Christopher Lehane of CSL Strategies LLC
  • Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
  • David R. Lira of Girardi & Keese
  • Jacqueline Ann Lira, homemaker
  • Farah Makras, homemaker
  • Medical Buildings of America LLC, Beverly Hills Triangle, Building 1
  • Wendy Mitchell of WM Consulting, Inc.
  • James G. O'Callahan of Girardi & Keese
  • Jonathan Orszag of Compass Lexecon LLC
  • Rica Orszag of Wasserman Foundation
  • Maria Robles, consultant
  • Cheryl Saban, homemaker
  • Haim Saban of Saban Entertainment
  • Eric Smidt of CPI LLC
  • Soto & Sanchez Investments, Inc., I Love LA News & Gift Shops
  • The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites
  • Victor G. Makras of Makras Real Estate
  • Casey Wasserman of Wasserman Media Group LLC
  • Edie Wasserman, homemaker
  • Zenith Insurance Company
  • 1st Step Business Management
  • Rand S. April, attorney
  • Bell Cab Management
  • Nadine Bernecker of Nota Bene Entertainment LLC
  • Meryl Chae, attorney
  • Community Initiative Partners LLC
  • Sean Perry, consultant
  • Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Assn. of America PAC
  • Hugo Mauricio Soto, consultant
  • The Aptus Group, Inc.
  • TriCap Management, Inc.
  • Bart Williams of Munger Tolles & Olson
  • Zenith Insurance Company

Things that can be assumed of the persons and entities on this list: Either they vehemently support a politician's right to accept conflict-of-interest freebies from those looking to cuddle up with the city, or they're looking for a little love themselves.

Most notable on the list is former Assembly speaker Fabian Nuñez, whose murder-convict son received an infamous sentence commute from former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on his last day in office. Nuñez and Schwarzenegger were close friends; now, it looks like L.A. City Hall might be nearer to that circle than we thought.

The Los Angeles Times raises an eyebrow halfway to the ceiling:

So did state Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), who donated $3,000 by tapping a fund-raising committee devoted to an Assembly campaign that won't occur until 2018.

Even one Republican got into the act. Former state Sen. Jim Brulte, who used to represent a portion of the Inland Empire, contributed $1,000 to each of Villaraigosa's three legal defense funds. ...

"I contributed because Antonio is my friend and he asked for my help," said Brulte, now a principal with the firm California Strategies, in an email. ...

Others with Sacramento ties who helped out with the defense funds were former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who stepped up with $3,000; former Assemblyman Dario Frommer, who also gave $3,000; and Villaraigosa transit advisor Richard Katz, a former state lawmaker who contributed $2,000.

Next thing you know, they'll be paying off each other's pesky ethics fines via text message. LOL; thx Fbn

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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