Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, left, and his former deputy chief… (Left: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)
Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar said Thursday that he had a "consensual relationship" with the female former staffer who has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, an affair he said he now "deeply regrets."
Huizar, in a prepared statement released by a spokesman, described the allegations made by his former Deputy Chief of Staff Francine Godoy as "absolutely false and malicious."
"More importantly, Francine Godoy’s behavior towards him both before and after these fabricated events will prove that they are not credible," Huizar spokesman Robert Alaniz said. "The lawsuit fails to mention that Ms. Godoy and the council member had an occasional and consensual relationship, which the council member deeply regrets. He has apologized to his wife and family, and he and his wife are currently working on repairing their marriage."
PHOTOS: Political sex scandals
The statement was released hours after Godoy filed an eight-page lawsuit alleging that Huizar waged a "campaign of retaliation" against her after she turned down specific requests for "sexual favors."
Godoy, 34, said in her lawsuit that Huizar cut back her duties "significantly" and ordered her to work from home after she refused his advances. "Plaintiff would sit at home much of her time with no work to perform since she was being retaliated against by Huizar due to her refusal to have sex with him," the lawsuit says.
Godoy said she ultimately was forced to quit her job and took a position at the city's Bureau of Sanitation.
Huizar, 45, was elected to the council in 2005, representing a district that includes neighborhoods from Boyle Heights to Eagle Rock. Godoy joined his staff a year later, earning about $47,000 annually.
By January of this year, Godoy's salary had jumped to more than $132,000, according to Personnel Department officials. She left Huizar's office in April, taking a job as principal project coordinator in the city's Bureau of Sanitation, with annual pay of nearly $119,000.
In her lawsuit, Godoy also said Huizar suggested last year that she run for a seat on the Los Angeles Community College District board. After she agreed to do so, Huizar tied his support for her campaign to sexual activities, the lawsuit says.
"On or about October, 8, 2012, after [Godoy] arrived at Huizar's office at City Hall, Huizar told [her] that if she wanted his continued support in her campaign ... she would have to have sex with him." Godoy said in her lawsuit that she refused his advances.
Huizar filed paperwork last month to run for a third four-year term. In his statement, he said he remains focused on delivering "top notch services" to his district.
"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 advance her career as she expected," he said in the statement.
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