Since taking office in 2005, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has sat courtside next to movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg at three Lakers games at Staples Center. He has cheered alongside Tommy Lasorda and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in the owner’s box at Dodger Stadium. Rarely has he missed an awards show: the Academy Awards, the Grammys, the Emmys and the BET Awards —anywhere there was a red carpet in Los Angeles, odds were Villaraigosa was photographed standing on it.
It’s no surprise that the mayor attends many of the city’s premier sporting and cultural events. But Villaraigosa acknowledged this week that he goes to some of them free of charge. He said he considers those appearances to be part of his official duty to promote and represent Los Angeles.
State and city laws require politicians to report gifts they receive — and say who gave them — and limit the value of tickets they can accept to $420 from any one source in a year. Elected officials are exempt from those requirements, however, if they conduct official business or have a “ceremonial” role at an event.