LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar has admitted to having an affair with his former deputy chief of staff, but has denied the woman’s accusations of sexual harassment and retaliation.
Francine Godoy, 34, who worked in Huizar’s office for seven years, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, claiming the councilman encouraged her to run for a seat on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees and then withdrew his support when she refused his sexual advances.
“…Huizar explicitly conditioned the plaintiff’s employment benefits on sexual favors and when the plaintiff refused Huizar’s sexual advances and opposed Huizar’s sexual harassment, Huizar began a campaign of retaliation against the plaintiff,” the lawsuit stated.
Godoy said Huizar began to cut back her duties in his office, which eventually forced her to get another job.
KCAL9′s Dave Bryan reported that Godoy was repeatedly promoted when she worked for Huizar. Her salary, he said, nearly tripled from around $47,000 a year when she started to more than $132,000 a year before she left the job and went to work for the sanitation department.
Back in August, Godoy also filed a complaint with the state about the alleged harassment. Since then, the president of the Los Angeles City Council has appointed a panel to investigate the charges.
In a statement, Robert Alaniz, a spokesman for Huizar’s attorney Dennis Walsh, said Huizar denies Godoy’s claims, but admits to having a consensual relationship with her.
“The claims of illegal sexual behavior and other alleged allegations against him are absolutely false and malicious,” said Alaniz. “More importantly, Francine Godoy’s behavior towards him both before and after these fabricated events will prove that they are not credible. The lawsuit fails to mention that Ms. Godoy and the councilmember had an occasional and consensual relationship, which the councilmember deeply regrets. He has apologized to his wife and family, and he and his wife are currently working on repairing their marriage.”
Alaniz also said that “Godoy is someone seeking to damage the councilmember’s reputation because he would not help advance her career as she expected.”