L.A. council candidate pays two workers about half the amount owed in wage theft cases
City Council candidate John Duran said he is paying approximately $8,000 in the form of legal fees in two wage theft cases against employees at his L.A. construction company.
In a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, Duran said he is paying the legal fees out of an endowment fund established by his mother for the benefit of City Council members, but he did not specify if he or his mother contributed to the funds.
Duran said in the letter the payments are not tax deductible as charitable contributions.
The City Council on Tuesday voted to establish a special committee to review the city’s wage theft laws and to make recommendations to City Council on how to best police the laws.
Duran, who is running against Councilman Gil Cedillo for the 11th district seat, said he has agreed to pay the legal fees for the two employees. But he is paying the legal fees out of his own pocket that will benefit the City Council members.
Duran said the law firm who brought the lawsuits is not listed as a creditor on his bank statement.
In the letter to the City Council, Duran said he paid the legal fees in March after discovering a $30,000 legal bill in August. “I feel the need to help the City Council because this is more important than anything else,” he said.
Cedillo, a Republican, called for Duran to release the funds and said he would not be involved.
Duran said his campaign will not reveal the amounts of his personal legal fees.
City Councilman Mike Bonin, who is running against Cedillo for the 14th district seat, said the legal bills are part of the campaign.
“He is using the funds like he wants to use them for personal reasons,” Bonin said.
But Cedillo defended his campaign and said it is not unusual to incur legal expenses in election campaigns.