Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Councilman Jose Huizar admits to affair but denies sexual harassment (Updated)

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The former deputy chief of staff to L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar (seen here in a file photo) filed a lawsuit Thursday for sexual harassment and retaliation.

A Los Angeles city councilman admitted to having had an affair with a former employee Thursday, just hours after she sued him for sexual harassment and retaliation.

Councilman Jose Huizar called the allegations from his former deputy chief of staff, Francine Godoy, “absolutely false and malicious,” in a statement from his attorney’s office.

Godoy worked for the 14th District councilman for six years, ending in 2012. In a statement issued by the councilman’s attorney, a spokesman said the two “had an occasional and consensual relationship, which the council member deeply regrets.”

However, in her lawsuit, Godoy said she was punished when she refused to have sex with Huizar. According to the lawsuit, Godoy faced "numerous" instances of sexual harassment and retaliation. Last October, the councilman allegedly told Godoy he would support her for the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees if she would have sex with him. When she refused, Huizar allegedly yelled, cursed and took belongings from Godoy's office. He later allegedly told the college district's Faculty Guild that he was withdrawing his support of Godoy's candidacy. 

Godoy now works for the city’s Bureau of Sanitation.

“As a result of Huizar’s sexual harassment and retaliation, ignoring, removing duties and assignments, and being banned from entry into the office, (Godoy) was forced to quit her position of deputy chef of staff,” according to the lawsuit.

In the statement from Huizar’s attorney, a spokesman responded: “When the true facts come out it will reveal that Ms. Godoy is someone seeking to damage the council member’s reputation because he would not help her advance her career as she expected.”

Godoy first filed a complaint with the state's Department of Fair Housing and Employment. That triggered a personnel investigation within City Hall. That investigation is still pending, according to Godoy’s attorney Michael Eisenberg.

The councilman, who is married, is being represented by outside counsel. It was not immediately clear whether the city will be paying for his defense. 

Complaint-Godoy vs. Huizar by scprweb

Statement 10-17-2013 Office of Dennis Walsh (1)

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