HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — There is controversy surrounding Tito Ortiz after he filed an unemployment claim against Huntington Beach while currently employed by the city as an elected council member.
The former MMA fighter, and current mayor pro-tem of Huntington Beach, claims he was underemployed during the pandemic, which the city manager disputes.
“That was the basis for his claim and that’s just simply not true,” said Huntington Beach city manager Oliver Chi.
The city could end up having to pay if Ortiz gets a check from the Employment Development Department.
“Ultimately if this claim was approved EDD will send us a bill to reimburse them for any costs. In that instance we’d certainly file an appeal,” Chi said.
Chi told KCAL9/CBS2 that under EDD rules, as an elected official receiving pay and health insurance as Ortiz does, he does not qualify for unemployment through the city.
Additionally, Chi says all of the city council members maintained full employment throughout the pandemic, despite Ortiz’s EDD form saying that he stopped working for the city on Feb. 9.
“And that’s where I think the confusion is,” Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said. “We haven’t changed his hours, he’s still a council member. He put on the form that his last day was Feb 9th. Again, that’s news to us.”
EDD does not comment on claims, citing privacy rules.
Attempts to reach Tito Ortiz were also unsuccessful.
According to the Huntington Beach website, the mayor pro-tem collects more than $1,500 each month.
Ortiz dodged the possibility of losing his seat as mayor pro-tem of the city back in February after the city council decided to table the issue and return to it at a later date.
Ortiz had been a source of controversy in several situations after refusing to wear a mask in public and at city council meetings.