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LA City Councilmember Imelda Padilla’s District Director Mark Lomeli Ousted After Knock LA Investigation Into DUI

Lomeli, who we previously reported for being hired after the State Assembly substantiated sexual misconduct allegations, also received a DUI this year. After we inquired about it, he was ousted from the Council District 6 office. 

Imelda Padilla, wearing a floral blouse speaks into a microphone at City Council. There is a light purple orchid in the bottom righthand corner.
Councilmember Imelda Padilla speaking at an August 2 LA City Council meeting. (Photo: Youtube)

LA City Councilmember Imelda Padilla’s office has ousted her just-recently hired district director, Mark Lomeli, following a Knock LA inquiry about him being arrested for a DUI earlier this year. Padilla was officially sworn in this month after winning the special election for the Council District 6 seat in June. 

Mark Lomeli was arrested by California Highway Patrol for a DUI in March 2023, according to LA County court records. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol as well as driving with more than 0.08% blood alcohol content. He is set to be arraigned in August. 

“As of today, Mark Lomeli is no longer a member of the District 6 staff. We continue to remain focused on building our team and addressing the needs of the constituents of District 6,” Padilla’s office said in a statement provided to Knock LA.

Lomeli did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He is being represented on the case by former Carson mayor Albert Robles, who himself was accused of sexual assault in 2015 (though Robles denied the claim). 

Lomeli entered into an 18-month alcohol program in June, and was placed on a SCRAM CAM electronic monitoring program — which stipulates that he must comply with alcohol testing. The court filing noted that he had previously been convicted of a DUI. San Bernardino Superior Court records show that Lomeli pleaded guilty in 2013 to driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while having a license suspended or revoked. 

Knock LA previously reported on Lomeli’s being hired despite sexual misconduct allegations having been substantiated by a state Assembly report on his tenure as chief of staff for Assemblymember Mike Gipson. 

Padilla said Lomeli deserved a second chance, and that her “understanding is that as a father of 2 daughters, Mr. Lomeli has spent the years following these serious allegations, focused on redemption through his church, family and professional therapy.”

The Assembly released a 2018 report that said Lomeli “more likely than not” had grabbed another staffer’s buttocks and inappropriately touched her body. The report also supported a claim from another female staffer that Lomeli had sent inappropriate text messages to her in 2016.

LAist reported that Lomeli had appealed the findings, and that the Assembly sent Lomeli back a letter in 2019 saying that he had received a “fair evaluation.”

“It just doesn’t seem like the councilmember’s office did their due diligence to make sure that this is somebody who is most appropriate and qualified for this position. That’s concerning,” said Ruth Ferguson, co-founder of SHIP — a coalition of former political staffers advocating for ending sexual harassment and discrimination in politics. “This is not a responsible way of providing a second chance, especially for someone whose role is in serving the community.”