Say It Ain’t So Joe
Yesterday, our Council District 14 Councilmember, José Huizar admitted to having an affair with his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Francine Godoy. This after Godoy, 34, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him on Thursday morning. Huizar, 45, released a brief statement saying that he and Godoy had a “consensual relationship” and that her sexual harassment claim is “absolutely false and malicious.” The statement further goes on to say “Ms. Godoy is someone seeking to damage the Councilmember’s reputation because he would not help advance her career as she expected.”
Godoy’s claim states that she was “subjected to regular physical and verbal sexual harassment, including propositions for sexual favors” and “Huizar’s sexual harassment was severe and pervasive” and that Huizar “explicitly conditioned [her] employment benefits on sexual favors and when [she] refused Huizar’s sexual harassment, Huizar began a campaign of retaliation.” The lawsuit claim centers around Huizar’s encouragement for Godoy to run for the Community College Board of Trustees. According to the claim, on Columbus Day last year, Huizar demanded Godoy come to his City Hall office that night. When she arrived after 8pm, Huizar allegedly demanded to have sex with Godoy or she would lose his support for her campaign. When she refused, Huizar allegedly threw a fit. Later on November 1, after 10pm, Huizar allegedly went to Godoy’s home to give her one last ultimatum to be “closer” to him before his scheduled CCBT endorsement the next morning. According to Godoy, she refused him and was subsequently not endorsed the next day, and a month later banned from the office and told to “work from home” with reduced assignments. Godoy then, after nearly seven years in the Huizar office, left her $132,000 salary position as Deputy Chief of Staff for a $118,000 position with LA City Sanitation in April of this year. (Yes, our civil servants are paid ridiculously for the amount of service they provide. Mayor Sam has a revealing list of CD14 staff salaries from 2011, including Francine Godoy’s.)
Last month, a Special Committee on Investigative Oversight formed by Council President, Herb Wesson began to investigate the sexual harassment claim that Francine Godoy filed against José Huizar state department of Fair Employment and Housing. Meanwhile, The City Maven reminds us that we, the lucky taxpayer, may be on the hook for paying for Huizar’s defense.
This is a sad day for CD14. As if this district doesn’t have enough problems already. And while the only corruption known at this point is matrimonially, it says a lot about someone’s character, especially when they regard themselves as a devoutly religious family man. Much like Villaraigosa, the rest of Huizar’s term will be tarnished, and his future plans to run for his third term will depend on his personal problems instead of his accomplishments as a City Councilmember.
Anyone who reads this blog will know that José is held in high esteem here. Professionally, he gets the job done. His side of 90042 is noticeably the better-maintained side. York Blvd as well as Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock are currently experiencing the most significant street design changes since the streetcars were removed decades ago. York Blvd will have a new park by this time next year. Thanks in large part to the leadership from Huizar’s office. He is well-regarded with his preservation efforts and is currently the only member of the City Council with a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. To lose him would be a setback for those of us that want to see Los Angeles protect its history and catch up with other world-class cities in urban infrastructure.
The rumors of Huizar’s infidellity and harsh management style have dogged him for years. Much like the kid asking Shoeless Joe Jackson if the rumors were true about being involved in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, “Yes, kid, I’m afraid it is.”