Mayor of Huntington Beach, Tito Ortiz, collected unemployment while cashing in on city checks

Jan. 29, 2016, Titio Ortiz and Jeremey Mahone Media day, Houston, TX, by Gilbert Bernal

Tito Ortiz and Jeremy Mahone training at Punishment Training Center in Huntington Beach, California, by Gilbert Bernal

In his Employment Development Department claim, he states his last day on city council was Feb. 9 though he is the current Mayor for the time being.

Ortiz was elected to the Huntington Beach city council last November and was sworn in on December 7, 2020. Two months later, he filed an unemployment insurance claim through the Employment Development Department claim. In his unemployment application, he stated that he is still working part-time or on-call – because of COVID-19.

Ortiz owns two Huntington Beach businesses – Punishment Athletics clothing store and Punishment Training Center gym. Punishment Training Center would have been affected by California’s COVID-19 restrictions as Orange County gyms were scheduled to reopen on March 14 at 25% capacity, but this was not grounds for filing for EDD.

“The American Rescue Plan of 2021 adds $300 in federal funds to each week of benefits through September 4, 2021,” an EDD spokesperson stated in an email. “Outside of that, a claimant who qualifies for unemployment insurance can expect their weekly benefit amount to range from $40-$450.”

Ortiz has been receiving, as a council member who works part-time for the city, stipends and expense allowances. The COVID-19 pandemic has not hindered city council member’s regular payments. Stipends of $81 and expense allowance of $698 for a total of $779.

He has been banned from city council meetings for not wearing a mask while attending. Ortiz stated that he will not be wearing a mask, which caused five of the seven council members to vote to continue holding the council’s bi-monthly meetings remotely.