It has been a while since we've had a full-scale sex scandal at L.A. City Hall. (Miss ya, Mayor Villaraigosa).
Thanks to Jose Huizar, now we do. The married Eastside city councilman this week admitted to “an occasional and consensual relationship” with his former deputy chief of staff, Francine Godoy, after she filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment. Her allegations, a statement from Huizar's team argues, are “false and malicious.”
If you were hoping for steamy details from the lawsuit, however, you might have to wait:
The Thursday filing doesn't really get too bow-chicka-bow-wow. It's more smooth jazz than Marvin Gaye. But you can fill in some of the action with your imagination, if you so desire.
The pointy end of the lawsuit claims that on the night of November 1, Huizar “parked down the street from her home” so she would meet him.
While in the car, the filing says, Godoy had to reject Huizar's “sexual advances,” and as a result he allegedly said he would pull his endorsement of her run for the L.A. Community College Board of Trustees.
That's about as hot as it gets.
There are other claims of steamy situations thwarted, including an after-hours encounter at Huizar's City Hall office, but the parked-car scenario represents the crux of the suit's accusations — that Huizar didn't get the action he desired and retaliated by thwarting Godoy's professional advancement.
The suit alleges:
HUIZAR explicitly conditioned Plaintiffs employment benefits on sexual favors and when Plaintiff refused HUIZAR's sexual advances and opposed HUIZAR's sexual harassment, HUIZAR began a campaign of retaliation against Plaintiff.
Godoy claims that she was “forced to quit” as a result of his alleged retaliation. Here's what Huizar's folks said in a statement:
The Councilmember is shocked and surprised by the claims in the lawsuit. The claims of illegal sexual behavior and other alleged allegations against him are absolutely false and malicious. More importantly, Francine Godoy's behavior towards him both before and after these fabricated events will prove that they are not credible.
The lawsuit fails to mention that Ms. Godoy and the Councilmember had an occasional and consensual relationship, which the Councilmember deeply regrets. He has apologized to his wife and family and he and his wife are currently working on repairing their marriage.
When the true facts come out it will reveal that Ms. Godoy is someone seeking to damage the Councilmember's reputation because he would not help advance her career as she expected.”
Interestingly, when Godoy filed a sexual harassment complaint in August as a prelude to the suit, Huizar's folks were in full-denial mode, stating this:
The Councilmember is surprised by the claim. He strongly and emphatically denies the assertions made in the claim sent to the City and intends to fully cooperate with the City in any investigation of this matter.
Given that he's now admitting an affair, he couldn't have been 100 percent surprised. As we noted previously, an anonymous comment on the Mayor Sam's Sister City Blog in 2007 alleged just what Huizar finally said in his response yesterday — that the councilman was getting it on with Godoy.
Thirty-four-year-old Godoy worked for Huizar from 2006 until April, when she took a job with the city Department of Transportation. During her tenure at City Hall her salary nearly tripled, and she was promoted to the No. 2 management position on his staff.
If the councilman pushed her to do things she didn't want to do as the pair enjoyed the cozy comfort of his (city provided?) vehicle, and while holding everyone's dream of a community college board position over her head, that would certainly be bad enough.
But it would also alarm us if Huizar wasn't using the full capacity of a brain well-fertilized with circulating blood to make crucial staffing decisions for his constituents.
This is the second largest city in the nation, not Hazzard, Georgia. Huizar represents about 257,000 people, more than a third of the number of constituents served by U.S. congressional districts.
The suit, by the way, seeks attorney's fees and “further relief.”