A staffer for 14th District City Councilman José Huizar filed a $10 million legal claim with the city, saying that he received a letter of termination after he spoke with the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Huizar’s former employee, Jesse Leon, alleges in the claim that Huizar and his Chief of Staff Paul Habib violated whistleblower protection and anti-discrimination laws after he was put on administrative leave in August and told a month later that his last day would be Oct. 31.
Leon said in the claim that he spoke with the FBI over concerns that Huizar was attempting to “extort money or solicit bribes from operators of cannabis businesses,” per the Times. The councilman denied the charges, calling them “absolutely false” in an emailed statement, and said that the staffer had faced ethical concerns, stemming from trying to obtain a cannabis license after advising Huizar on marijuana policy.
“This is an obvious attempt by Jesse to deflect from his unethical behavior,” the statement concluded.
The legal claim is the latest legal matter to hit the councilmember in just over a year. In October 2018, two former staffers filed lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming retaliation.
The councilman has since dismissed the cases as push back from disgruntled former employees. A month later, in one of the more shocking scenes to hit City Hall, the FBI raided Huizar’s offices and home. Since the raid, no charges have been filed.
©Los Angeles Downtown News 2019