By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — City Councilman Eloy Morales Jr. continues to flout annual income reporting guidelines.
Morales’ 2022 form 700 was released under a California Public Records Act request, which details he continues to not report outside income received from consulting with an outside agency with strong ties to projects in Inglewood.
Elected officials are required to report annual statements of economic interests in accordance with guidelines established by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
In 2019, it was reported that Morales received outside income from consulting contracts from Pacific Waste & Recycling, a subsidiary of the city’s trash hauler Republic Services, and Lee Andrews Group. Morales voted in favor of a $100 million contract with Republic Services in 2012, and has voted annually in favor of trash rate increases since its approval. Most recently, the city voted to increase trash rates again last month.
Once it came to light that many of his clients did business with Inglewood, Morales stopped reporting the income.
While Morales might avoid working in Inglewood because of inherent conflicts, his clients do not.
Four of his clients have ties to City Hall and at least two were supported by Morales’ vote on the City Council, according to public records and interviews.
In one instance, Morales made the motion to award a $200,000 contract to a client he was working with in another city.
But because those companies employed his firm for jobs outside of Inglewood, Morales said his votes did not constitute a conflict of interest.
“I have made no motions or votes where I had a conflict, something I take very seriously,” said Morales at the time.
Calls were made to the Lee Andrews Group on April 4 about Morales’ employment status with the firm considering his photo is listed on their website as a senior strategic advisor.
“Yes, Eloy Morales still works here but not from the office,” said the person who answered the call and gave his name as Scott.
The Lee Andrews Group is a national communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations.
Clients include BYD, a bus manufacturer that was featured during the recent Inglewood State of the City address as seeking a contract related to the Inglewood Transit Connector project. Other clients include Walsh-Shea Corridors, which is a vendor for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority where Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. is the former chair of its board of director and still a member.
West Basin Municipal Water District, which sells water to Inglewood, is also a client.
On previous statements of economic interest forms, Morales reported receiving in excess of $100,000 from the Andrews Group despite receiving an annual salary from Inglewood taxpayers in excess of $60,000 for “full-time” work.
Since 2015, Morales has reportedly made between $60,000 to $600,000 in outside income. The exact figure is unknown considering the form 700s don’t require elected officials to report all income.
Under California law and Inglewood’s charter, a City Council member cannot directly or indirectly benefit financially from his or her votes.
Calls to Morales’ council office were not answered.
He is up for re-election in 2024.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.