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Leslie Moonves Fined $11K by L.A. City Ethics Commission for His Role in LAPD Scandal

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Leslie Moonves, the ousted former leader of CBS Corp. whose storied career came to an abrupt end in 2018 amid the disclosure of past sexual assault allegations, has been ordered to pay an $11,250 fine by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission for his role in a 2017 LAPD scandal connected to his downfall at CBS.

In 2017, as CBS’ leader was increasingly consumed with dodging accusations of past sexual misconduct from multiple women, he was tipped off to a police report filed in November 2017 by one of those accusers. Former TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb alleged that Moonves sexually assaulted her in 1986 when the two worked together at Lorimar Television. Moonves’ informant was Cory Palka, then a captain in the Los Angeles Police Department. Palka had previously worked as a private security guard for Moonves at the Grammy Awards from 2008 to 2014. Palka then further violated confidentiality laws and law enforcement ethics by sending Moonves a copy of Gottlieb’s report, according to the Ethics Commission settlement report made public on Feb. 16. Golden-Gottlieb died at age 86 in 2022.

Moonves admits that he “violated City law by aiding and abetting the disclosure and misuse of confidential information and by inducing a City official to misuse his position to attempt to create a private advantage for Moonves,” according to the commission’s order. A spokesman for Moonves declined to comment late Friday.

The commission’s settlement order notes that the fine for such activity is usually $5,000 per count but the higher levy was reached because of “aggravating circumstance: (1) the violations in this case are extremely serious; and (2) the violations were deliberate.” At the same time, Moonves “cooperated with staff and saved Ethics Commission resources by entering into a stipulated settlement before the preparation of a probable cause report; and (2) Moonves has no prior enforcement history with the Ethics Commission.”

Palka’s shocking tipoff to Moonves was disclosed in 2022 as part of the New York state Attorney General’s probe into the cascading allegations around Moonves and whether CBS Corp. violated Securities and Exchange Commission rules by not disclosing the damaging information to shareholders sooner. Moonves and CBS reached a $30 million settlement in the New York case.

Palka, who once ran the department’s busy Hollywood station, retired from the LAPD in early 2021 after 34 years at the rank of commander. After his activity came to light, the LAPD launched an internal investigation into his conduct. The status of that probe is unclear. In February 2023, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mack Jenkins, head of the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, was assisting the LAPD in its investigation.