Bradley Received $25,000 in Gifts, Report Shows
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley received more than $25,000 worth of free movie and sports passes, clothing, travel and other gifts last year--an $8,000 increase over 1989, a new public report showed Friday.
The gifts were received in a year in which a City Hall ethics scandal prompted major voter-approved political reforms, including restrictions that will prohibit many such perks beginning this year.
Bradley received a $450 suit, a $200 pair of shoes, a $350 video camera--all from Los Angeles firms--as well as a $200 wristwatch from a New Jersey watchmaker. He also received thousands of dollars worth of tickets to Dodgers, Kings and Lakers games. The largest single gift was an $8,500 trade trip to Saudi Arabia last March, paid for by that country’s government.
The mayor listed the gifts and his personal investments in new, detailed disclosure forms required by Proposition H, a reform measure approved last June in the wake of an ethics controversy surrounding Bradley’s personal finances.
Bradley’s office declined to comment on the increase in gifts, except to point out that much of the value was in the Saudi Arabia trip and Dodgers tickets valued at $6,561. Bradley’s wife, Ethel, is an avid Dodger fan and regular user of the donated seats behind the team’s dugout.
Dodger Stadium seats and many other such gifts are likely to stop this year. The new law prohibits acceptance of gifts from any business or individual that has dealings with the city.
The mayor also reported Friday receiving $225,000 in income last year from a firm formerly headed by Ira Distenfield, a city Harbor Commissioner who abruptly resigned in 1989 amid news media inquiries into his attempts to obtain a city contract for a firm that employed him.
The income was paid by BLSH Inc., in which Bradley invested at least $100,000 in 1989. Distenfield was formerly president of the firm, which invests in litigation settlements. Bradley’s office declined to provide further details on the investment Friday.
Distenfield’s relationship with Bradley has been of interest to federal investigators, who have been conducting a probe of the mayor’s investments and activities. A federal grand jury in 1989 subpoenaed Bradley’s records from an investment firm where Distenfield served as a broker. Bradley and Distenfield, through his lawyers, have denied any wrongdoing.
The new reports are designed to give more details on the value of public officials’ investments. But they shed little additional light on Bradley’s overall worth because most of the mayor’s holdings were placed in a blind trust in late 1989.
Bill Chandler, the mayor’s press secretary, said the mayor is advised when the investments originally placed in the trust are sold. But Chandler said the mayor cannot list all his current investments because he does not know what they are.