Click here for Shawn Hubler’s story.
Mirthala Salinas, the former TV reporter and Telemundo TV/KVEA anchorwoman in Los Angeles has finally broken her long silence. In a feature interview in Los Angeles Magazine, the once rising star sat down with Shawn Huber, a former Los Angeles Times Reporter. This is her first interview since her affair with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became front page news last summer.
At the time the affair was revealed publically, Salinas and three KVEA executives were suspended and reprimanded for violating ethical and conflict of interest provisions while working for the station in relation to Salinas’ affair with the Mayor. Mirthala left the station in October, 2007 under cloudy terms both Salinas and the station still refuse to disclose.
Although Salinas claims otherwise in the just published Los Angeles Magazine interview, ERS News reported exclusively in 2007 that her penchant for dating high powered Latino politicians was nothing new. In an exclusive report on July 3, the day the scandal and affair with the Mayor picked up widespread mainstream media attention, ERS reported that Salinas had a previous romantic relationship with Fabian Nunez, California’s Assembly Speaker. That relationship, prompted complaints from inside Telemundo about conflicts of interest at the time. Salina’s claims in the new Los Angeles Magazine interview that "it was never a big deal."
On July 3rd, 2007 Mayor Villaraigosa publicly confirmed the affair reports for the first time. Before this time the Mayor had denied the reports of the demise of his marriage, even doing so in an interview with the LA Times.
In the interview published yesterday, Salinas claims her relationship didn’t get past the "friends" stage with the Mayor until after November 2006, but the LA Times reported that a neighbor in November, 2005 had spotted the Mayor going to see her at her condo and used the instance to imply the relationship between the Mayor and Salinas was far more than "just friends." Salinas says at the time of this sighting at the condo the Mayor was just one of many invited friends to a "potluck dinner" she was throwing at her place. The Mayor left later that evening on a charter flight to Detroit to attend the funeral of Rosa Parks the next morning (11/2/2005).
In the LA Magazine story, Salinas goes to great pains to try and distance herself from the claim that her "personal relationship" with the Mayor, either intimate or just friends, was not getting her any special access or special treatment. The facts say otherwise as ERSNews reported back in 2007. Salinas told Los Angeles Magazine that the "romance" stage with the Mayor began in April of 2006. Before that they were just "friends." The Mayor announced his separation from his wife Corina on June 8th 2007 and confirmed his relationship with Salinas on July 3rd 2007. The affair, according to Salinas, continued on until October of 2007, when the media spotlight and relentless press coverage proved too much for the couple and they "broke-up.”
The interview which is scant of new reporting about the scandal makes some errors on the reporting of the story as it unfolded. It shows a penchant for blaming the ills of the media on those dreaded "bloggers." Most of the reporting on the scandal and the things claimed to have been reported only by "bloggers" where in fact reported by mainstream media outlets like the LA Times, Daily News and others.
The most serious error in the LA Magazine story is the claim that ERS News.com posted a picture (seen above) of the Lexus SUV Mirthala Salinas was driving at the time outside the Mayor’s Getty House mansion in August of 2007. Not so, the picture was not posted or reported on until two months later in October 2007, when ERS broke the story that Salinas had used the oldest trick in the book; she fled Los Angeles under the media spotlight only to return in a new car purchased in Arizona during her time hiding out there with her family. with Arizona plates, we knew what she was doing but we didn’t publish the information until we felt it was confirmed that she was driving this new car to help avoid the media who were trying to catch up with her. We published our story (including the picture of her "new" car for the first time) on October 5th, 2007.
Whether or not Salinas can rekindle her career is anybody’s guess, but we think she should try learning before she attempts a comeback in journalism — "that the facts always get in the way of a good story." It was reported today by the website CurbedLA that Salinas is engaged and headed off to get married in Mexico in May to Yanni Raz, who she dated before and after the affair with the Mayor of LA.