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Villaraigosa Ticketgate: Mayor Paid for 1 out of Over 80 Ticketed Events On His Schedule
Photo by GarySe7en via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
Remember last year when the Mayor got caught up in the joy that is seeing Bono perform live and Tweeted out his love for Los Angeles? Turns out that U2 concert at the Rose Bowl was one of the only ticketed events Villaraigosa paid for himself to attend, according to the LA Times.
An ongoing probe into the Mayor's use of gifts of tickets to sporting and live entertainment events since he took office in 2005 reveals that he had 81 such events on his schedule, though it is not clear if he actually attended all of them.
What's also not clear, according to the scant records kept by his office, are the source of each of the gifted tickets, or the "official duty" he was performing at each event in order to justify accepting the freebies. Many are shocked that better documentation doesn't exist.
Robert M. Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies and coauthor of the 1974 Political Reform Act of California, is quoted by the Times:
"It doesn't make much sense to me. The mayor keeps track of many things. I'm almost speechless...Clearly, if you're going to justify the tickets because you are doing official duties, you need to keep track of what those official duties are and who provided the tickets...I think basically what happened was that he didn't realize what the rules were."
An ethics committee is investigating the 81 events on Villaraigosa's schedule, for which the Mayor asserts he attended in order to present "a decorative city proclamation" to someone involved with the event, thereby making it an official duty. Many of the tickets are estimated to have cost thousands of dollars; at issue as well are the possibly violations of the "State and city laws [that] require politicians to report gifts they receive, say who gave them and limit the value of tickets they can accept to $420 from any one source in a year," provided they were not there in their official capacity.