Los Angeles City Councilman José Huízar has been quietly removed from his position on several City Council committees, multiple news outlets reported, following FBI raids on his home and offices last week as well as lawsuits from several former staffers.
City Council President Herb Wesson sent a letter to the City Clerk on Thursday taking Huízar’s name off of four committees he had served on, according to LAist. These included the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which he had chaired, and which oversees large-scale development efforts in the city.
“We’re optimistic Angelenos will be best served by these changes as the Los Angeles City Council continues the people’s work without interruption,” a spokeswoman for Wesson’s office told LAist.
Last week, FBI agents searched Huízar’s Boyle Heights home as well as both of his offices, though no arrests were made. LAist reported that the searches had been executed based off of a federal search warrant and that agents were looking for evidence of potential criminal activity.
Huízar was absent from City Council meetings on Tuesday, City News Service reported, and his social media accounts have been silent since the raids.
“Councilmember Huízar respects Council President Wesson’s decision, and will use the time away from committee assignments to tend to personal matters,” his lawyer, Stephen Kaufman, said in a statement.
Two of Huízar’s former staffers are currently suing Huízar for harassment, and have accused him of multiple potential legal violations, including directing staffers to work on his wife’s campaign to replace him on the City Council as well as funneling city money toward his high school alma mater.
Pauline Medina and Mayra Álvarez both allege they were forced out of Huízar’s office for speaking out about their concerns with Huízar’s practices, as well as for complaining about an alleged extramarital affair he was having with another one of his staffers.
Huízar, who reaches his term limit in 2020, has been working to get his wife Richelle Huízar elected to his City Council seat. He has represented the 14th district, which includes Boyle Heights, since 2005.