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Former Huizar Staffer Sues, Alleges Councilman Wanted Cannabis Kickbacks

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Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar leads a press conference about the Operation Healthy Streets initiative at the Volunteers of America building near Skid Row in this 2014 file photo. (Photo by Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC)
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A former staffer for Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging wrongful termination, retaliation, and harassment along with corruption. The complaint names Huizar and the City of L.A. and asks for unspecified damages.

This comes nearly four months after Jesse Leon first filed a complaint against his former boss and Huizar’s chief of staff, Paul Habib.

Last year, Huizar told the L.A. Times the accusations were the result of Leon being confronted with his own unethical behavior -- Leon had tried to secure a license to sell cannabis in Los Angeles while serving as Huizar’s policy advisor on cannabis regulations, which the city attorney’s office concluded was a conflict of interest.

Leon says he was fired after sharing his concerns about corruption and pay-to-play schemes in Huizar’s office with the FBI.

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Among the allegations in the lawsuit: Huizar was expecting political donations, kickbacks to his friends and even cash bribes in exchange for helping businesses secure cannabis licenses to operate in Council District 14.

Two other former staffers have filed retaliation complaints against Huizar.

JESSE LEON'S LAWSUIT

This is the latest development in an ongoing saga, so...

HERE'S SOME CONTEXT:

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