Report: LAX officials allegedly got gifts, trips from airline group


Los Angeles ethics commission investigators are recommending that civil charges be brought against six current and former managers at Los Angeles World Airports who allegedly took thousands of dollars worth of trips to China and Europe provided by an association that represents dozens of international airlines that use LAX.

According to records obtained by The Times, investigators found 22 alleged gift violations involving the six officials, including an airport engineer, planner and at least one assistant city attorney. Each official could be fined as much as $5,000 per violation or three times the value of the gifts.

eTN Chatroom: Discuss with readers from around the world:

The trips — which involved weeklong cruises along the New England and Canadian coast last year, as well as previous visits to Beijing and Shanghai with stays in five-star hotels — appear to violate state and municipal ordinances that limit the value of gifts government officials can receive to a few hundred dollars a year.

Several officials also failed to disclose the trips on their statements of economic interest, a public accounting required by state law and the city’s administrative code.

LAX Terminal Equity Corp. or LAXTEC, which represents about 40 international carriers at LAX, provided the trips at a substantial discount to LAX officials as a way to improve and maintain relationships with airport staff, records show. LAXTEC represents the interests of its member airlines before local, state and federal agencies and maintains facilities for its members that are tenants at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

A staff representative of the City Ethics Commission said agency policy is not to confirm or deny any investigation before it is submitted to the full ethics commission.

A spokesman for LAXTEC also declined to comment.