We all know Antonio Villaraigosa is kind of a ham, but after a KTTV 11 news report, it seems his position in the spotlight has gotten to his head and lent him an inflated sense of entitlement to certain perks -- perks which may have landed him in hot water. The benefits in question are free tickets to various events and concerts in L.A. you've seen him pictured hobnobbing with celebs at. Over the course of his time in office since 2005, the Mayor has been seen courtside at Lakers games, enjoying the view of his home team in action from the owner's box at Dodger Stadium, been a fixture at award shows -- "anywhere there was a red carpet in Los Angeles, odds were [he] was photographed standing on it."
The problem is, any time an elected official accepts a gift, they must disclose them, as well as from whom the the gift came. Such gifts include tickets, and officials must limit the value of gifted tickets to $420 from a single giver in a year. The only time elected officials can attend an event gratis and do not have to abide by these rules is if they conduct official business or have some sort of ceremonial role in the event.
But last week, the mayor admitted to attending events free of charge, saying his attendance is part of his official duty to promote L.A. and its culture. You know, because Lakers games, the Oscars and BET Awards would get very little support and recognition otherwise... An investigation of his schedule and records, as well as a photo search of him at events shows many dubious holes and discrepancies that are in need of some explaining. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out and the spin campaign his clever staffers will come up with. In the meantime, enjoy these photos of our Mayor having the ride of his life hard at work...
Ludacris, Antonio Villaraigosa, Tommy Lee plant a tree during the Planet Green premiere event, May 2008 [via]
Anotonio Villaraigosa with Will.i.am and a Black Eyed Peas Benefit concert in February 2009 [via]
Antonio Villaraigosa with Rita Wilson at the L.A. Philharmonic Opening Night Gala, August 2009 [via]
Antonio Villaraigosa,Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt greet singer Billy Ray Cyrus after he sang the national anthem prior to the start of Game 1 of the playoff series in October, 2009 [via]