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Ticketgate Expands Scope: 4 LA City Councilmen to Pay $13K in Fines for Taking Free Tickets

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Photo by Rex Roof via Flickr
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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is not the only elected official in the City of Los Angeles who will be ponying up some after-the-fact cash in the form of fines for accepting free tickets to events over the last few years. Now four City Council reps have agreed to pay a combined $13,000 in such fines for accepting free passes to events like awards shows and dinners, according to LA Now.The agreement comes up for a vote on Tuesday, when Councilmen Tony Cardenas, Eric Garcetti, Jose Huizar and Herb Wesson are expected to acknowledge they "violated a city law that prohibits them from accepting gifts of more than $100 a year from 'restricted sources' -- individuals and groups that have business pending before the city."

Separate deals were struck for each councilmember. Of the four, Garcetti's fine is the largest at $4,800, which includes his formerly-free admission to events like the balls that happened after the Oscars and the Emmys in 2007. His fine represents a reduced negotiated amount after he initially faced a penalty of $15,000. Garcetti explains that he had misunderstood the ticketing and payment structure for those and subsequent similar events, and admits his mistake and intention to pay in order to clear the cost.

Wesson's fine is $3,900, while Cardenas has agreed to pay $2,500 and Huizar $2,100. All of the fines stem from admission to awards shows between 2007 and 2009. Additionally, the donors of the tickets face fines. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have agreed to pay a penalty of $13,250.