LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The wife of longtime Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar announced she will not run for his council seat when his current term expires following revelations earlier this month that he is being investigated by the FBI.
In a statement Wednesday, Richelle Huizar said she is withdrawing her candidacy "in order to focus on my family."
On Nov. 7, FBI agents raided Huizar's Boyle Heights home and his office at City Hall, just one day after the midterm elections. The FBI would not elaborate on the nature of its investigation, citing that the warrant had been sealed. No arrests have yet resulted from the raids.
Last week, Jose Huizar was stripped of all of his committee assignments by City Council President Herb Wesson.
Huizar has represented District 14 since 2005, which is mostly made up by the Boyle Heights area. He is prevented from running again due to term limits when his current term expires in 2020.
He has faced several legal issues since taking office. In 2012, he was involved in a traffic accident in which he rear-ended another vehicle. The city was forced to pay up to $185,000 as part of a settlement.
In 2014, the city settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former staff member.
Huizar was named in two new lawsuits filed in October by two former employees, both of whom accused him of ethics violations and other misdeeds, although it is unknown if the FBI searches are related to the lawsuits.
One of the complaints was filed in October by Mayra Alvarez, who was Huizar's executive assistant and scheduler for about three years. In her suit, Alvarez, who contends that she left in July because she was demoted after returning from maternity leave, accuses Huizar of doctoring his schedule to hide certain meetings from the media, along with other ethics violations, including that his staff was pressured to plan Richelle Huizar's campaign on city time.
A second lawsuit was filed about a week after the first by Pauline Medina, a former staffer for Huizar. Medina alleges that Huizar launched a campaign to push her out in 2017 after she told the councilman's chief of staff that her boss was in a relationship with someone else in the office. Medina also alleges that Huizar secretly used city funds to pay for his personal expenses.
The councilman has denied the claims in both lawsuits.
Richelle Huizar had served on the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women since 2017, but resigned on Oct. 30, and previously served as both a policy director and later as the assistant executive director of the Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families.
On Tuesday, Jose Huizar returned to his first City Council meeting since the searches, but he declined to answer any inquiries from reporters, only repeating variations of "I'm here to work" in response to a number of questions.
Huizar entered the council chambers for the start of the meeting before ducking into a back room after about 10 minutes.
He was not present at Wednesday's meeting.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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