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Jose Huizar, Boyle Heights Rep on City Council, Sued by Two Former Staffers

10:41 AM PDT on November 2, 2018

    Jose Huizar, right, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, left. Courtesy of Jose Huizar.

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] former staffer of Los Angeles City Council representative Jose Huizar Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging she faced retaliation after complaining that Huizar had an affair with one of his other staffers. She also accused the Boyle Heights-based councilman of making his staff “secretly use money from the city’s general-purpose fund to pay for Huizar’s personal expenses and funnel funds to certain recipients for prohibited purposes.”

    Pauline Medina worked as Huizar’s office manager and lead administrator since 2012, and in other capacities for nearly a decade. In her suit Wednesday, Medina said the retaliation and harassment against her began last year in October after she told the council representative’s chief of staff, Paul Habib, that her boss was having an affair with another staffer in the office.  

    'This is nothing more than a coordinated political attack.'

    She is the second former staffer to file a lawsuit against the city. Mayra Alvarez, who was Huizar’s executive assistant and scheduler, filed a lawsuit last week. Both allege Huizar engaged in an extramarital affair, mistreated his office staff, and directed legal violations. And both share the same attorney, Terrence Jones.

    “This lawsuit is full of misrepresentations and I deny all these crazy allegations,” Huizar said in a statement. “This is nothing more than a coordinated political attack by individuals who share the same attorney and have a vested interest in denigrating my name and supporting certain political opportunists.”

    Huizar declined to say who he believes the “political opportunists” are or whether he believes they are trying to thwart the election of his wife, Richelle Huizar. In September, she announced her bid to take on her husband’s district after he leaves office. L.A.'s District 14 includes downtown L.A., Boyle Heights, Highland Park, and Eagle Rock. Huizar has been representing the district since 2005 and is termed out in 2020.

    Alvarez in her lawsuit also accused Huizar of unethical and illegal activities, including falsifying his official calendar to hide meetings with developers ahead of a public records request by the L.A. Times, and using staff to work during city time on the upcoming council campaign of his wife.

    Huizar called the allegations in that lawsuit “nonsense.”

    Medina also alleges that Huizar forced her and other staffers to engage in fundraising for his high school alma mater.

    Medina was married to Huizar’s brother, with whom she had a child. They were separated in 2012. Medina, 45, said in the lawsuit that her relationship with his brother helped her get the job in 2008.

    Medina also alleges that Huizar forced her and other staffers to engage in such illegal activities as fundraising for his high school alma mater, Salesian High School, "while on city time” and “given her direct responsibility for processing monies allocated to the office from the city’s general purpose fund, to find ways to funnel money to the school.”

    Medina also states in the lawsuit she was punished for complaining about Huizar for making her and other staffers help him with his personal life during work hours, including refilling his contact lenses, picking up his dry cleaning, and even washing his car.

    She resigned from her job in June. The timing of her resignation coincided with an anonymous complaint filed on MyVoiceLA, a website created at the direction of Mayor Eric Garcetti to report discrimination and harassment at City Hall.

    RELATED: Families of Charly ‘Africa’ Keunang and Alex Jimenez — Killed by LAPD in 2015 — To Get Million-Dollar City Council Settlements

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