For Immediate Release: January 20, 2022
Contact: Nancy Jackson (213) 978-1960
The Ethics Commission has determined that probable cause exists to believe that Mitchell Englander (Englander) violated governmental ethics laws by misusing his position as a member of the Los Angeles City Council, accepting gifts in excess of the gift limit, and failing to properly report gifts.
Englander was a City Council staff member from 2003 to 2011 and, from 2011 until his resignation in 2018, an elected City Councilmember representing Council District 12. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office investigated political corruption in the City related to multiple “pay-to-play” schemes, and a federal grand jury indictment was returned against Englander. In March 2020, Englander entered a guilty plea and admitted to participating in a scheme to falsify material facts.
The facts that Englander admitted to in his guilty plea constitute violations of the City’s governmental ethics laws, and the Director of Enforcement determined that an enforcement action should be initiated. A probable cause conference was conducted on November 10, 2021, and the hearing officer determined that probable cause exists to believe that the alleged violations occurred.
After a finding of probable cause, City law requires the Ethics Commission to draft and publicly announce an accusation. The attached accusation was served on Englander on December 27. It details the laws that were allegedly violated and sets forth the acts with which Englander is charged: two counts of accepting excess gifts, one count of misusing a City position, and two counts of failing to disclose gifts.
The members of the Ethics Commission board must now select a hearing officer for an administrative hearing. Englander is presumed innocent of any violation, unless he stipulates to entry of an order or a violation is proved through the hearing process. Following an administrative hearing, the commissioners must determine whether the alleged violations occurred and, if so, what penalty should apply. The maximum penalty that the commissioners may levy is the greater of $5,000 per violation or three times the amount of money that was improperly received or reported.
A determination regarding whether a violation occurred may only be made by the commissioners. The commissioners and staff may not comment on a pending enforcement matter.
To download a PDF copy and attachments, click here.
The Ethics Commission was created by Los Angeles voters in 1990 to impartially administer and enforce the City’s governmental ethics, campaign financing, and lobbying laws.