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Huizar cleared in U.S. probe of consulting fees

September 01, 2009|Howard Blume

Officials have closed a federal investigation into Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar's consulting work for a now-defunct nonprofit linked to organized labor. Huizar had received about $30,000 from the Voter Improvement Program for consulting services he performed in 2003 and 2004 while serving as an elected board member for the Los Angeles Unified School District, according to Huizar's public disclosure forms and sources close to the investigation.

Huizar announced Tuesday that investigators had cleared him of further review, and sources with knowledge of the probe confirmed it. In a brief statement, Huizar said, "I will continue to hold myself to the highest ethical standards." Through a spokesman, Huizar declined to answer questions about the nature of the consulting work or the exact amount he was paid.

Former labor leader Alejandro Stephens has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud and tax charges related to $50,000 in allegedly bogus consulting fees from the same nonprofit.

In another development, L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines confirmed that the district has agreed to pay legal fees related to the Huizar probe for school board President Monica Garcia, who was Huizar's chief of staff during the period in question.

Investigators also have been looking into a one-year consulting contract paid to then-board member David Tokofsky.

-- Howard Blume

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