Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar has been accused of harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and a special committee has been convened to look into the accusations, it was reported Thursday.
The complaint was made in June on MyVoiceLA, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s new website for staffers, city commissioners and others to report workplace bias, and was forwarded to City Council President Herb Wesson on Sept. 13, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The identity of Huizar’s accuser is not known, as the website is designed for accusers’ identities to be protected.
According to The Times, Wesson has called for the Special Committee on Investigative Oversight to look into the accusations. The committee is assembled when an elected city official is the focus of a complaint involving harassment or discrimination.
“I am not aware of any details of a complaint so I cannot comment on it,” Huizar told City News Service on Thursday. “I can say that I take great pains to ensure that my staff and I conduct city business in a professional environment and treat all employees and visitors with the utmost dignity and respect. Given that, I am quite frankly confounded under what basis anyone would have to file a legitimate complaint. Obviously, I take this matter seriously and look forward to a full, transparent and expeditious resolution.”
Personnel Department spokesman Bruce Whidden did not immediately respond to a request to comment, but told The Times that the accuser’s identity must remain confidential and that the allegations against Huizar include harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
Huizar was previously investigated by the Special Committee on Investigative Oversight over similar accusations when Francine Godoy, his former deputy chief of staff, sued him and the city in 2013.
Godoy alleged — among other things — that her former boss offered to support her in an election campaign in exchange for sex. She claimed she declined to provide sexual favors, leading to a pattern of discrimination and retaliation that included Huizar withdrawing his support for Godoy’s bid for a seat on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.
The committee’s report on Godoy’s accusations concluded there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Huizar.
Huizar also denied any wrongdoing, although the married councilman admitted that he and Godoy had a “consensual” relationship that he “deeply regrets.”
Huizar privately settled the lawsuit in 2014, although the terms were not disclosed.
Huizar has served on the City Council since 2005 but is prevented from running again due to term limits when his current term expires in 2020. Richelle Huizar, his wife, announced on Sept. 13 that she plans to run for his seat.