4:30 p.m. update: Councilman Jose Huizar admits "an occasional and consensual relationship" with young ex-staffer, but calls her allegations in her suit "absolutely false and malicious."
Francine Godoy, the former deputy chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar who filed a sexual harassment complaint this summer, has now sued Huizar, alleging that he retaliated professionally and politically after she rejected his requests for sex. As recently as last October, Godoy's lawsuit claims, Huizar said she would have to provide him with sexual favors in order for him to continue supporting her candidacy for the community college board of trustees. After she refused, her job responsibilities as deputy chief of staff were greatly diminished, Godoy alleges. She moved this April from Huizar's staff to a lower-paying (but still nearly $119,000 a year) job in the city's Bureau of Sanitation. Huizar's office had previously denied Godoy's accusations but has not responded to today's news.
From the LA Times' David Zahniser:
Godoy, who was Huizar's deputy chief of staff until April, said in her lawsuit the councilman "explicitly conditioned" her employment benefits on sexual favors. At one point last November, Huizar contacted her on his cellphone and told her he was "parked down the street from her home," the lawsuit states.
After she went to the car, Huizar said she would need to be "closer" to him for her to retain his support for community college board, the lawsuit states. Godoy said that after she refused his sexual advances, Huizar told her he planned to "cancel" an endorsement meeting scheduled for the next day.
Huizar, 45, was elected to the council in 2005, representing a district that includes neighborhoods stretching 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.
Godoy, now 34, worked for Huizar for seven years.
Update by Zahniser:
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."
File photo: La Opiñion