Tito Ortiz is under fire for the move he made while serving as mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach, California. As mentioned by Yahoo Sports, the UFC Hall of Famer filed for unemployment while serving as a city council member and mayor pro tem, a position he has held and been paid for since December.
Ortiz filed for unemployment on Feb. 20, according to public records. He stated his last day of work was on Feb. 9. However, under "reason for separation," Ortiz wrote, Still working part-time or on-call – related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).” The problem is city positions are only part-time work, and mayor pro tem is essentially a ceremonial position.
Kim Carr, the mayor of Huntington Beach, told NBC Los Angeles that Ortiz was still getting paid."He's been receiving the same amount of wages and hours," Carr said. "It's my understanding that city council members are not eligible for unemployment, particularly when they are receiving their full salary." Carr also said that Oritz may have committed fraud with his claim. Along with being part of the city council, Oritz also owns two Huntington Beach businesses - a gym and an athletic clothing store - along with a $4 million home.
Ortiz won the city council seat in November. He received 34,901 votes, which is 14.3% of the votes, the highest of the 15 candidates. During the campaign, Otiz ran on a campaign slogan "Make Huntington Beach Safe Again." It was reported that Ortiz had plans of running for mayor. But the only way that happens if the city council members select Ortiz to become Mayor.
"I'm not a politician at all. I'm an American that was born and raised here in Huntington Beach and I'm gonna fight for my community," Ortiz said to ABC7 in mid-September. "This is my life. They've given so much to me in my career of mixed martial arts of 23 years. Now it's time to give back for them."
Ortiz, 46, was born and raised in Huntington Beach. He made his UFC debut in 1997 and went on to win 10 of his first 12 matches. In 2000, Ortiz won the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and held onto the title for three years. Some of the notable fighters Ortiz has defeated in his career are Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, and Alberto El Patron, who is also known as former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio.