Mayor Tom Bradley gave a brief admission of guilt before a hastily gathered City Council session, saying he had erred in judgment by taking money from companies doing business with the city.
But council members said Wednesday's admission would not lower the heat for Bradley, facing the crisis of his political career for accepting fees from Far East National Bank and Valley Federal Savings & Loan."I've been very proud of the high level of unquestioned integrity and character, which have been a part of my 47 years of public service in this city," Bradley said.
"So let me state, frankly, that I made an error in judgment by engaging in outside employment, which, although not legally wrong, has created the perception that I fell short of my own high standards in government."
Bradley made the remarks in a two-minute address to the council, then left without taking questions from either council members or reporters.
Not all of the council's members were satisfied.
"I don't think it was clear enough; I don't think it was convincing enough," said Councilwoman Gloria Molina.
Bradley "didn't address the issue of lying, the inconsistencies in his statements," said Councilman Michael Woo, who heads a council panel overseeing the city attorney's investigation of Bradley.
Council members Robert Farrell, Joel Wachs and Ernani Bernardi, however, stood to applaud the mayor.
City Attorney James Hahn is investigating whether there was a conflict of interest in Bradley receiving payment to serve on the boards of the two financial institutions while they did business with the city.
In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into stock investments handled for Bradley by Drexel Burnham Lambert.
"I was insensitive not to realize that accepting outside employment could create the perceptions we see today," Bradley said. "I will always regret it."
Bradley has returned $18,000 paid him by Far East National Bank to serve as an adviser. He has announced he will resign from Valley Federal's board of directors, a position that paid him at least $71,800 over the last 11 years.