Councilman José Huizar Removed From Committees After FBI Raids On His Offices, Home
Just over a week after federal agents swarmed two of José Huizar's district offices and his Los Angeles home, the embattled city councilman was stripped of several committee duties.
On Nov. 7, FBI investigators entered and began searching Huizar's office inside City Hall, while separate teams searched his district office in Boyle Heights, as well as his home in the neighborhood.
Agents executed the searches based on federal search warrants, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller previously told LAist, later adding that investigators were looking for evidence based on allegations of criminal activity. A total of seven search warrants were executed in the operation, Eimiller said.
The affidavit granting the warrant is sealed and FBI officials would not comment further on the record. An FBI source, however, said a dog trained in electronics surveillance was used to search for any hidden digital or electronic devices.
No arrests have been made, according to authorities.
In a letter sent Thursday to the City Clerk, Council President Herb Wesson listed "adjustments" to four City Council committees that Huizar served on or led, taking his name out of the rosters.
One of those was the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which Huizar had chaired. The committee oversees proposals for new housing, retail projects and other large-scale developments in the city.
"We're optimistic Angelenos will be best served by these changes as the Los Angeles City Council continues the people's work without interruption," said Vanessa Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Wesson's office.
Huizar has faced several accusations of unethical behavior in recent years. In September, city officials reported receiving a complaint about Huizar through a site set up to report discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
On Oct. 22, Mayra Alvarez, Huizar's former executive assistant and scheduler, filed a lawsuit against the councilman and the city. Alvarez alleges that Huizar retaliated against her after she announced her maternity leave.
She also believed Huizar and others in his office "violated local, state, and federal law" on multiple occasions, including for planning the city council campaign for Richelle Huizar, Jose Huizar's wife "on the City's time and dime," according to the lawsuit. Richelle Huizar announced her candidacy in September.
In 2014, Huizar settled a harassment suit brought by his former deputy chief of staff, who alleged he offered to support her election campaign in exchange for sex, then retaliated when she refused his advances.
Huizar has been dark on Twitter since the day before the FBI raid. "We are assessing the situation and have no further comment at this time," his attorney Stephen J. Kaufman, said last week.
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