MALIBU—Former Malibu Mayor Jefferson Wagner presented to Malibu City Councilmembers a 7-page affidavit during a city council zoom call on Monday, December 14. The affidavit alleges corruption on the Malibu City Council, including attempted bribery and apparent misuse and abuse of governmental authority, that Wagner alleges he experienced and heard throughout his nine years serving on the city council.

In the affidavit, Wagner details the attempted bribery as a one-time event where an unknown vendor attempted to bribe his approval for another unknown vendor/contractor in connection with the construction of the Malibu City Hall. He says that he was offered “incentives” in the form of lavish vacations and pay-offs, but after submitting this information to the former city attorney, Wagner states that nothing was done. He also adds that he is not aware of any other councilmember or employee receiving any form of bribe. 

The apparent misuse and abuse of government authority Wagner alleges transpired when he turned down Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposal, which Wagner claims as a consequence had his home raided on May 31, 2018. 

On Thursday, December 17, Malibu Mayor Mikke Pierson released a statement in response to the affidavit that read: 

 “At Monday night’s City Council meeting we were first made aware of an affidavit from outgoing council member Jefferson Wagner that contains allegations that a bidder tried to bribe him some years ago. The bidder is unnamed but there is no allegation that the company allegedly offering a bride was awarded any contract with the City. Wagner also alleges that certain phone calls he received have led him to suspect that the law enforcement raid on his house was politically motivated. Wagner indicated that he does not have personal knowledge of some other incidents but recites that he has heard rumors regarding City employees.  The City of Malibu is taking the allegations in the affidavit seriously and will convey the affidavit to the proper authorities. The City is committed to transparency, accountability and ethical conduct in everything it does, both at the staff and Council levels. There is absolutely no place for any corruption of any sort at Malibu City Hall. Should any corruption be discovered at City Hall, the City will take all appropriate legal actions in response. We welcome the scrutiny.” 

On Friday, December 18, Bruce Lee Silverstein, the newly elected Malibu City Attorney, responded on his Facebook page regarding Mayor Pierson’s statement saying: 

“I question the veracity of the first sentence, as I have not witnessed a commitment to transparency, accountability or ethical conduct in my dealings with the City. I have, however, witnessed multiple incidents of evasion and avoidance of transparency and accountability, and I have witnessed multiple instances of unethical conduct – at the highest levels of City government.” 

According to the affidavit, Wagner has entrusted Silverstein to help with the investigation of the matter as Wagner believes Silverstein holds  “community activism” and dedication to legally pursue and uncover these allegations. 

During the city council zoom call, recently sworn in City Attorney Silverstein remarked to initiate a proposal for sub-committee investigation on Wagner’s allegations for 2021. 

It is unclear exactly how the Malibu City Council will or plans to investigate these allegations.