LOS ANGELES — Former CBS President and CEO Les Moonves paid a $15,000 fine for violating the city's ethics code by using a now-retired LAPD official to cover up a sexual assault investigation against him, a Los Angeles city commission announced Wednesday.

During Wednesday's Ethics Commission meeting, three members approved the settlement with Moonves, which had been rejected in February because commissioners decided the initial fine of $11,250 was too low before ultimately assessing the maximum amount possible.

"We're sending a message to the public that even if an individual is not an official, a non-city official, that aids, abets or induces a city official to violate city ethics law can themselves be held liable," Kenneth Hardy, director of enforcement for the Ethics Department, said during the meeting.

Commissioners thanked Angelenos who called in at the last meeting and urged the maximum penalty in the settlement. The commissioners said they take public comments very seriously.

Actor Lynda Carter, left, poses with former Los Angeles Police Department Captain Cory Palka during a ceremony to award her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

"I wanted to thank the commission for the work they did in the last meeting and not accepting a reduced fine because here we are accepting the full fine. That's important and it matters," Jamie York, president of the Reseda Neighborhood Council and a proponent for ethics reforms at City Hall, told the commissioners.

York added that the Moonves case is a "predictable example" of why the city needs to update and empower its ethics enforcement. She said the fine "doesn't get anywhere near the damage that was done," but the commissioners sent a message that this level of ethics violation should be punished to the full extent.

On Feb. 5, Moonves agreed to a settlement after the commission found that he tried to influence now-retired LAPD Capt. Cory Palka amid the 2017 investigation, according to city documents. The commission order said Moonves admitted 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 himself.

The interactions with Palka came to light in November 2022 when the New York Attorney General's Office included the details in a report about how CBS officials intervened to prevent allegations of misconduct against Moonves from becoming public, getting to stock holders or affecting pending business transactions. 


Palka, who was commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division at the time and had worked as a security guard for Moonves, personally gave the former executive confidential information about the LAPD investigation into a complaint filed by a former employee in late 2017, the commission found.

The exchange came during a meeting at a restaurant in Westlake Village, the commission report said.

The complaint was filed by former TV executive Phyllis Golden- Gottlieb, alleging Moonves sexually assaulted her in 1986 when the two worked together at Lorimar Television. Golden-Gottlieb died in 2022 at age 86.

This and other allegations came amid the #MeToo movement, which called attention to the sexual harassment and abuse of women in the workplace and led to the resignations of several high-profile people in media and entertainment, including Moonves.

Once considered the most powerful TV executive in the industry after heading CBS for more than two decades, Moonves was forced to step down in 2018 after at least a dozen women accused him of sexually harassing or assaulting them. Moonves has repeatedly denied these allegations.

Palka retired in 2021 after 34 years with the LAPD. Department officials announced an internal investigation into his conduct in the Moonves probe, but the status is unclear.