For the first time that I remember, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talks about hiding under the bed with his sister while his mother was beaten by a drunken father. “It’s probably the only time in my life that I’ve ever felt helpless,” he tells CBS 2's Stephanie Abrams. The abusive father who named a second son Antonio has been part of the Villaraigosa story line forever — including in my profile for Los Angeles magazine in 2006 — but Channel 2 bills last night's report as the first time he has spoken in depth about it.
But there's also this. Later in 2006, Tony Castro of the Daily News detailed some of the "reality distortion" in Villaraigosa's accounts of his childhood. For one thing, the father denies all charges and his new family backs him up:
"God knows that I was never an alcoholic and that I never hurt his mother or abused my family," Antonio Ramon Villar Sr. said in an interview, denying the mayor's long-accepted account of his difficult childhood.
"I know the public has been poisoned against me, but this is the truth, so help me God."
Villaraigosa's claim that his father later gave another son the exact same name he had given him also is inaccurate.
That other son was christened Anthony Gustavo Villar, and today he is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Anthony Villar, 45, has gone so far as to personally contact Villaraigosa to challenge him on why he has publicly vilified their father, said Estela Villar, Anthony Gustavo's mother and the wife of Antonio Ramon Villar Sr.
The second family of Villar Sr. portrays a husband and father who has been gentle, loving, kind and deeply religious - and who in 47 years of marriage to Estela has never abused either his wife or their four children, nor shown any hints of alcoholism.
An Antonio Villar, born in 1926 and living in Montebello, is listed on the state's Megan Law database of registered sex offenders for a charge of sexual penetration with a foreign object by force. There are no dates listed in the online item.
* Updated post