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DA probes LA mayor for accepting free tickets

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is being investigated by the district attorney's office for accepting free tickets to events.

June 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has opened an investigation into whether Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa violated the law by accepting free tickets to popular events.Villaraigosa has walked the red carpet at the Oscars and attended concerts and sporting events, like courtside seats at a Lakers game in May, but he said he was simply doing his job by representing and promoting the city at those events.

Villaraigosa has only confirmed paying for tickets to a U2 concert at the Rose Bowl.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley is investigating whether the mayor accepted tickets that should have been reported to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.

Villaraigosa said he has done nothing wrong.

"I voluntarily gave the city Ethics Commission information regarding those tickets, and we stand by our position that we were acting in an official capacity," the mayor said.

City and state laws require the mayor and all politicians to report gifts they receive and from who.

Under the law, the value of tickets cannot exceed $420 from any one source each year, but if elected officials conduct official business or have a role at the event, then they are exempt.

The mayor's office said Villaraigosa has attended more than 80 events for free in the past five years, but would not say what the value is of those tickets.

Officials said all of the events were part of his official duty to represent the city.

Last week, he was seen cheering on the Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Officials said they are waiting for the Ethics Commission probe to end to see if he has broken any laws.


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