LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the president of the City Council called Thursday for the resignation of Councilman Jose Huizar, who is the focus of a federal corruption investigation.
Council President Nury Martinez said Huizar should immediately step down, one day after his former special assistant agreed to plead guilty in a $1 million bribery scheme involving real estate developers.
Huizar hasn’t been arrested or charged in the sweeping corruption probe but information court filings indicate he is the “Councilmember A” whom George Esparza alleged took part in the scheme.
In his plea agreement, Esparza acknowledged that from 2013 to 2018, he and a council member were involved in a scheme to sell influence to several developers, including the billionaire head of a Chinese company who wanted to build a 77-story skyscraper on downtown land.
Martinez said Huizar should step down because of “his illegal, offensive and absolute abuse-of-power dealings.”
Garcetti said he supported the council president’s demand.
“I’m sickened by the bribery and corruption described in federal indictments,” Garcetti said in a statement.
“Elected officials have a special responsibility to the people who entrust them with power,” Garcetti said. “Mr. Huizar has lost that trust, and I hope and expect that any wrongdoing will be exposed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Huizar didn’t immediately comment on the remarks. In the past, he has refused to make any statements on the corruption probe.
Huizar has stopped attending council meetings at the request of Martinez. He was stripped of his committee assignments in 2018 following FBI raids on his home and offices.