Last year, UFC star turned Huntington Beach city councilman Tito Ortiz narrowly avoided being removed as the city’s Mayor Pro Tem. Now he may wish the high-profile effort would have succeeded. A noted anti-masker and vocal Trump supporter, Ortiz has become the subject of scrutiny since the Orange County Register revealed that he filed for unemployment benefits while continuing to serve as a councilman.
In paperwork acquired by local media, Ortiz reported being “laid off” and/or having a “lack of work” beginning on February 9, despite that neither his compensation nor hours have changed.
On the application, Ortiz apparently selected “Still working part-time or on-call – related to the coronavirus (COVID-19)” as the supposed reason for separation from his employer.
“He’s been receiving the same amount of wages and hours,” Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr told NBC L.A., which reports that HB city council members receive $1,500 a month, plus a stipend and an expense allowance.
Ortiz has been a magnet for controversy since he was elected to the council last November. In January, he posted an anti-mask rant about a beloved local burger restaurant to his Instagram account; when the community reacted poorly, he issued an apology.
Shortly thereafter, Mayor Carr and fellow council members Mike Posey and Dan Kalmick introduced a proposal to have Ortiz removed as Mayor Pro Tem, accusing him of demonstrating “little commitment to serving in the role with honor and dignity.” Calling for a vote of no confidence in Ortiz, the proposal referred to his “unprofessional demeanor and poor judgement [sic]” which “raised concerns among residents, local business owners, and his fellow council members.” The council ultimately didn’t proceed with a vote.
Ortiz has yet to comment on the unemployment claim.