A fully employed California city councilman -- who's also a vocal Donald Trump supporter and notorious coronavirus conspiracist -- got caught filing for unemployment.
Tito Ortiz, a UFC star and Huntington Beach councilman, filed an unemployment claim Feb. 22 with the California Employment Development Department stating that was "still working part-time or on-call – related to the coronavirus (COVID-19)," reported the Orange County Register.
"He's been receiving the same amount of wages and hours," Mayor Kim Carr told KNBC-TV.
City council members are paid $1,500 a month, according to the mayor, and city manager Oliver Chi told the Register they have continued to receive $81 stipends and $698 expense allowances every two weeks throughout the pandemic, for a total of $779 on top of their salaries.
Ortiz listed the city as his employer and gave his first day of work as Dec. 7, when he was sworn in after easily winning election using signs that resembled Trump's campaign materials, and claimed his last day of work was Feb. 9, although he still serves on council.
Carr said she's concerned that Ortiz -- who was nearly stripped of his mayor pro tem title for refusing to wear a mask during meetings -- 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," Carr said.
Ortiz was forced to apologize in January after posting an anti-mask rant about a popular local burger restaurant on his Instagram account, and fellow council members Mike Posey and Dan Kalmick introduced a proposal to have him removed as mayor pro tem because he showed "little commitment to serving in the role with honor and dignity."
The council ultimately did not vote on the matter.
Ortiz has not commented on the unemployment claim, and it's not clear whether it was approved.
The former mixed martial arts champion owns Punishment Athletics clothing store and Punishment Training Center gym in Huntington Beach, where he owns a home valued at $4 million.