Convicted Ex-Los Angeles Councilman Will Continue Collecting Six-Figure Pension


Former Los Angeles Councilman

Richard Alarcón
Credit: SEIU International / photo on flickr

Richard Alarcón's was convicted of four felonies this week, including voter fraud and perjury. It turned out he lied about where he lived in 2007 and 2009 in order to represent the city's District 7. His wife was also convicted of three counts.

But he will keep his pension, which totals $116,000 a year for that short stint on the City Council.  From the Los Angeles Daily News:

Alarcón's conviction comes three months after City Councilman Mitchell Englander introduced a motion that would require city workers convicted of a felony involving the use of their city position to forfeit their pension. The proposed law was spurred by revelations over the $72,000 annual pension collected by a recently convicted city building inspector, Englander's motion states.

Englander's office didn't respond to a comment Thursday. But earlier in the week, an Englander spokeswoman said the councilman is still pushing to pass the ordinance. Amid growing scrutiny over workers' benefits, Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012 signed a law requiring public employees convicted of a felony to forfeit retirement benefits accrued after the date the felony occurred. However, Los Angeles has its own pension systems, and the state law doesn't apply to the city.

It may not actually be possible to strip him of his pension retroactively even if Los Angeles ultimately does pass a law. Unsurprisingly, some who serve office or have worked for the city don't seem particularly outraged:

City councilman and former Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks, whose own hefty annual pension has been criticized, didn't seem fazed by Alarcón's pension allocation, despite the convictions.

"He earned the pension — once you earned it, it's yours," Parks said Thursday. "By City Charter, there's nothing you can do retroactively to take it away. Just because he was found guilty does not terminate nor mitigate the contract he had with the City as an employee."

Having a plum contract with the city is not exactly the same as having "earned" anything. It reminds me of when contestants on Survivor argue over who more "deserves" to win $1 million.

NEXT: Russia Accuses U.S. of Smear Campaign

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “He earned the pension”…

    Someone is very confused regarding the definition of the word “earn”.

    1. Hey, vote fraud and perjury are hard work!

    2. Remember anything earned through voluntary exchange is stolen from exploited workers. And anything that is paid for by taxes is earned.

  2. Does he get another pension for putting in a few years at the state level too?

    1. You mean in the state slammer?

  3. “He earned lied and committed multiple felonies in order to earn the pension”…

    There you go, FTFY you f*cking leech.

  4. “Just because he was found guilty does not terminate nor mitigate the contract he had with the City as an employee.”

    But he was found guilty of defrauding the government in entering into that very contract- he lied about his eligibility to have that job. “There is no question of the general doctrine that fraud vitiates the most solemn contracts, documents, and even judgments.”

  5. Jerry Sandusky is fighting to keep his pension in Penna. too. Maybe the standard should be were the felonies committed in order to keep or secure one’s public position, or were they unrelated? Raping one’s senate page may be viewed differently than diddling the neighbor’s underage son.

    1. Raping one’s senate page

      When I first read these words I thought it was going to be about the congressional wikipedia thingy.

  6. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude I like it.

  7. Reading the article and the link, I remain confused about one point: which political party does he belong to?

    1. Imagine that – a Democrat!…..tml#page=1


      1. At least he wasn’t in the House. Then you’d have the inevitable (Rep.-CA) denotation.

  8. Oh sure, that’s what the plain language of the charter says, but that’s not what they intended.

  9. No reason not to start with the new employees.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.