Sacramento City Council member Sean Loloee resigned on Thursday, citing reasons including Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s political pressure and what he called false allegations.
Loloee’s resignation comes about three weeks after he pleaded not guilty to a 25-count federal indictment related to his Viva Supermarket grocery store businesses.
The indictment alleges he and a business partner falsified immigration documents, withheld overtime pay and fraudulently obtained COVID-19 relief funds.
“I’m stepping down because of the recent politically-motivated circus that Mayor Steinberg has created in an attempt to cover up his many shortcomings as the mayor of Sacramento,” Loloee said in a video:
“I love this city and my district too much to let the mayor use my situation as a distraction. It is not fair to Sacramento and its constituents.”
Steinberg publicly called on Loloee to resign last week after privately requesting the council member step down from his seat.
During a press conference held Thursday afternoon, Steinberg said Loloee did the right thing by resigning and added that he doesn’t know if the council has to do anything to restore public trust in city government.
“This is one member, one member; it’s not the entire City Council,” Steinberg said. “He is responsible for his own actions and he’s responsible for the decision he made today.”
Now that Loloee has resigned, the council must appoint someone to fill his City Council seat for the remainder of his term, which was set to end in December 2024. He represented council District 2, which includes Old North Sacramento, Hagginwood, Woodlake and Del Paso Heights.
But the council has yet to decide when it will make that appointment, Steinberg said.
The mayor plans to meet with the remaining council members and recommend they consider the upcoming primary election on March 5. Nine candidates have filed to succeed Loloee and are running for a term that begins in December 2024.
“If any one of those candidates wins a majority of the vote — and thereby avoiding a runoff — they would not be sworn in for a new term until December of 2024,” Steinberg said.
“If that were the case, and if a candidate were to win outright, I would recommend strongly to my colleagues that we appoint that individual the following week. If no candidate wins the majority in March and there is a runoff, I would recommend appointing a caretaker to the seat.”
Steinberg added that he believes the council should not fill the vacancy until after the primary election. Wendy Klock-Johnson, a spokesperson for the City Clerk’s Office, told CapRadio in December that city code doesn’t say how long the council needs to accept applications for an appointment to fill a vacant seat.
She also said the city wouldn’t hold a special election because the November general election for the District 2 seat is less than a year away.
Loloee had already announced he would not run for reelection before a federal grand jury handed down the indictment on Dec. 14.
Until the council makes an appointment, the roughly 68,000 residents of District 2 will be represented by Steinberg, whose position on council covers the entire city.
Steinberg’s office already provides constituent services that council members typically provide to 58,000 people living in so-called deferred areas. Residents in deferred voting areas, such as East Sacramento and the community of Deerfield/Mesa Grande, don’t currently have a council member representing them due to redistricting in 2021.