By T. A. Hendrickson
The hot water that José Huizar has been in for months is getting hotter.
On June 24, a judge denied a request by Huizar to delay a lawsuit against him by a former staffer who says she was fired after speaking up about alleged unethical and illegal goings on in the office. The allegations include an affair between Huizar and a staffer and Huizar’s use of city staff to tend to personal tasks.
Huizar has said the allegations are “completely false.”
His lawyers sought to delay the lawsuit so that he would not have to deal with it at the same time he is dealing with a federal investigation that came to light in November, when the FBI searched his home and two of his offices.
The lawyers argued that if Huizar had to answer questions about the lawsuit at this time, the information might be damaging to him in the federal probe.
The judge said the lawsuit should proceed, but that it could be postponed at a later point if needed to protect Huizar’s right against self-incrimination.
These latest developments raise questions anew about Huizar’s ability to represent Eagle Rock and the rest of Council District 14 while in such deep trouble. His staff has continued to tend to day-to-day matters and constituent issues, but there’s no doubt that Huizar’s political influence is diminished.
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.