Huntington Beach, CA

Tito Ortiz: does a multi-millionaire really need unemployment benefits?

Eugene Adams
Mingle Media TV, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Huntington Beach could soon be home to one of the wealthiest people receiving unemployment benefits. 

Who is Tito Ortiz?

For anyone who doesn’t know, Tito Ortiz is an MMA fighter turned politician/businessman. 

He was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. His fighting nickname was the Huntington Beach Bad Boy. 

To this day, he is still extremely popular in the city. He is so popular that he was elected to the Huntington Beach City Council with a record 42,000 votes. 

What Happened 

Even though the city still employs him, Tito Ortiz filed an unemployment claim

Under “reason for separation,” he listed “still working part-time or on-call related to the coronavirus.”

The problem is that there doesn’t seem to have been any change in his employment status. 

Still Working

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr confirmed that Mr. Ortiz is still receiving the same pay and hours as before the pandemic started

She went on to state:

“It’s my understanding that city council members are not eligible for unemployment, particularly when they are receiving their full salary.”-Mayor Carr

According to the mayor, his part-time hours are the same as before. He also receives the same pay, almost $800 every two weeks. 

“We have a lot of questions but have not received an explanation. I’m confused about why he would file for unemployment from the city when his pay and responsibilities have not been cut. On the surface, it’s very concerning.”-Mayor Carr

Penalty For Fraud

If this turns out to be a case of fraud, things don’t look good for Mr. Ortiz. 

A similar case happened recently in Victorville. Councilwoman Blanca Gomez collected almost $5,000 after filing for unemployment benefits in May of 2020. All while still receiving a monthly stipend. 

In that case, the judge agreed that fraud occurred. 

“Benefits were received as a result of this misrepresentation.” -Stephen H. Tyler 

That decision is currently being appealed. 

How Rich is Tito Ortiz?

In addition to the roughly $1,500 a month Ortiz receives from the city, he has many valuable assets. He owns a 4 million dollar home as well as two businesses. 

His estimated net worth is around $20 million

My Thoughts

As far as the legal issue of fraud, I have no opinion. I am not a lawyer. 

But, the moral question is an interesting one. 

How rich is too rich to receive government help? 

Is there even such a thing as too rich?

It’s worth noting that unemployment benefits would not be the only help he has received from the government. Ortiz has received $32,600 in forgivable loans for those businesses via the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Is a multi-millionaire who owns multiple businesses and has a job really in need of unemployment assistance? If so, how much should the Huntington Beach taxpayers pay to support him?

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Certified Personal Trainer | Certified ESL Teacher |I mostly write about all things Southern California, but I also cover national topics.

Los Angeles, CA

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