Scandal-plagued former LA mayor to join Harvard faculty
Former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, known for outlandish expenditures of taxpayer monies and a scandal-ridden personal life, will join Harvard University’s faculty as a visiting fellow this fall, according to a Monday announcement.
Villaraigosa, who served as the city’s mayor for eight-years, broke the record for the largest ethics fine levied in California state history in 2011 — $41,849 — for failing to disclose free tickets he gave away to dozens of sports and entertainment events. He wound up paying back the city $42k.
During his time as mayor, Villaraigosa was the subject of countless ethics investigations. In 2007, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission accused him of 31 ethics violations surrounding his 2003 run for City Council.
A March 2009, a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that his daughter had a $68k per year job with the state as a field representative for Democrats — a position for which she had no relevant qualifications or education.
As mayor, Villaraigosa regularly made headlines with a series of scandals including his use of $489k of federal taxpayer stimulus funds to refurbish a mayoral yacht in the Port of Los Angeles. He also added a "hydro-electric propulsion system.”
“It’s not a yacht, it’s a boat,” he told the news outlet at the time.
The mayor’s personal life was also the focus of headlines.
In December, troubled actor Charlie Sheen posted a picture of himself partying with Villaraigosa at a bar opening party in Mexico. Villaraigosa’s marriage ended in 2007 due to an affair with a Telemundo reporter who had been assigned to cover him.
Villaraigosa famously failed the law bar exam four times before settling on a career in politics.
According to the Harvard announcement, visiting fellows “traditionally meet with student groups; lead discussion groups on topical issues and their experiences in public and political service; and participate in public policy classes.”
A spokesperson for Harvard University declined to say how the school chooses its fellows or comment on Villaraigosa’s upcoming employment.
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