A Los Angeles city employee who was caught by a local TV news station parking his cars for free at a downtown lot was fined more than $16,000 Tuesday by the city’s Ethics Commission.

The commission voted 3-1 to impose the fine on Jose Flores, a manager at a Pershing Square city-owned parking structure who admitted keeping three of his personal vehicles there without paying for their storage.

“Today’s vote underscores that it is essential for city employees to be good stewards of the public’s resources and that employees who are not must be held accountable,” said Kirsten Pickenpaugh, the commission’s acting director of enforcement.

Beginning at least as early as August 2014 and continuing through September 2017, Flores housed one of his personal vehicles continuously at Pershing Square for about 38 months and housed two other personal vehicles at the lot on an intermittent basis, one for around nine months and another for about three months, according to an Ethics Commission report.

Flores’ use of the parking lot was the focus of an investigative report by KCBS-TV last year.

Ethics commission staff determined that Flores should have paid the city around $10,040 to park his personal vehicles at Pershing Square during the applicable time periods.

Flores could have been charged $33,410, but Ethics Commission staff recommended a penalty of $16,705 due to his cooperation with Ethics Commission staff and other factors.

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