The Los Angeles Ethics Commission on Tuesday considered recommendations that would tighten the kind of loophole that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has used to accept valuable tickets to sporting and entertainment events.
Under rules proposed by the commission's director of policy and legislation, Heather Holt, the mayor would not be able to attend such events under the guise of having to conduct official city business at the venues. Instead, any case where the mayor has such business would mean that he would have to undertake his task and then leave immediately. In the real world that would mean …
that if Villaraigosa had to preside over a halftime ceremony at a Lakers game — with donated tickets — he would have to leave immediately after the ceremony and could not stay and watch the rest of the game. Such tickets could only be used to conduct business, not to see a game or show.
Additionally, under the proposals the mayor would have to list the value of the tickets and the source of the donations under his ethics filings. State and city rules prohibit the mayor from taking gifts worth more than $50 from entities that have business before the city.
The mayor has acknowledged taking more than 80 tickets, some worth four figures, from the owner of Staples Center, the motion picture academy and the Dodgers organization, all of which have had business before City Hall.
Holt said, “We believe that one of these types of admission tickets can affect the public's perception of the integrity of the city's decision-making processes.”
It's not clear if the rule changes, which would have to be approved by the commission, would let the mayor off the hook for accepting tickets in the past. He has argued that he has had to conduct official city business at all of the events he attended.
The mayor's ticket-taking is under review or investigation by the commission, the District Attorney's office and the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.