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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's $21K ethics fine doubles

California's political watchdog agency has approved a $21,000 ethics fine against Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for failing to report free tickets to dozens of entertainment events.

April 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission approved fines Tuesday for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and four councilmen for accepting gifts in violation of city law.

The commission fined Villaraigosa $20,849 for failing to report free tickets to more than two dozen sports and entertainment events.

The fine for Villaraigosa comes a day after California's political watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, approved a $21,000 fine against the mayor.

A joint investigation found that the mayor's failure to report the gifts was unintentional.

Villaraigosa said he attended more 3,000 events from his election in 2005 to 2010, the timeframe scrutinized by the state and city commissions in the joint investigation.

Free tickets are not considered gifts that must be disclosed when the public official plays a ceremonial role or function, such as tossing out the first ball at a baseball game. In the 21 state violations, the mayor was not able to document a ceremonial role.

City Council President Eric Garcetti was fined $4,800 for accepting tickets to Emmy and Oscar ceremonies.

Councilman Herb Wesson was fined $3,900 for accepting BET Awards tickets.

Councilman Tony Cardenas' fine was $2,500 for accepting Emmy tickets.

Councilman Jose Huizar was fined $2,100 for accepting Emmy tickets.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.