Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz is under fire after the city confirmed that he filed a claim with the state’s Employment Development Department seeing unemployment benefits, while still getting paid by the city.
Ortiz, a former UFC fighter, still serves on the Huntington Beach City Council, but according to documents provided by the city to NBC4, Ortiz states that his last day of work with the city was Feb. 9 due to lack of work or being laid off.
“That’s not true. He’s been receiving the same amount of wages and hours,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr.
Carr says that city council members receive $1,500 a month, plus a stipend and expense allowance on top of that. She says that she’s concerned Ortiz may have committed fraud.
“It’s my understanding that city council members are not eligible for unemployment, particularly when they are receiving their full salary,” explained Carr.
This is just the latest in a string of incidents landing Ortiz in hot water. The city council considered striping him of his mayor pro tem title earlier in the year after his refusal to wear a mask at city council meetings, and at a local burger restaurant.
Ortiz has yet to comment on the issue. City leaders say they don’t know if Ortiz’s claim has been approved. They are in touch with EDD and may have more answers soon.