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Villaraigosa’s Goumada Quits

LOS ANGELES — Newscaster Mirthala Salinas and Spanish-language network Telemundo have “mutually agreed to end” her employment with KVEA, according to a statement from the station.

Salinas did not arrive for her first day of work Monday after a two-month suspension. The suspension and a transfer to the Riverside bureau followed an announcement that she and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa were involved in a relationship.

Executives at the station’s parent company, Telemundo, suspended Salinas Aug. 2 for two months without pay after determining her relationship with the mayor had violated Channel 52’s ethical standards.

KVEA management said in a statement: “Telemundo-KVEA 52 and Mirthala Salinas have mutually agreed to end our employment relationship effective October 1, 2007. We are not in a position to make any further comment on our discussions with Ms. Salinas surrounding her departure.”

The mayor announced June 8 that he and his wife, Corina, were separating after more than 20 years of marriage. At that time, the mayor did not answer whether he was romantically involved with someone else, citing his family’s privacy.

Corina Villaraigosa filed for divorce June 12.

Salinas was a fill-in anchor on evening newscasts in June when she announced the news of Villaraigosa’s separation from his wife. Salinas led the story by saying, “The rumors were true.”

What she didn’t tell viewers was that she had been in a relationship with Villaraigosa.

The mayor acknowledged the long-rumored affair on July 3 after a newspaper story revealed details of the relationship.

“It is true that I have a relationship with Ms. Mirthala Salinas. As I’ve said, I take full responsibility for my actions, and I once again ask that people respect my family’s privacy. For my part, I intend to stay focused on my job, and to work as hard as I can every day to be the best mayor I can be,” Villaraigosa said in his July statement.

Salinas issued a statement of her own confirming the relationship.

“I first got to know the mayor at a professional level where we went on to become friends,” she said in the statement. “The current relationship grew out of our existing friendship. While we are both public figures, I hope that everyone can understand and respect my desire to maintain my privacy when it comes to personal relationships.”

After the two-month suspension, Salinas was reassigned to the Inland Empire as a reporter. She was scheduled to begin work Monday at the bureau, but did not arrive, according to the station.

Salinas had covered politics for KVEA, including stories on Villaraigosa’s effort to gain control over the Los Angeles Unified School District. She also covered Villaraigosa when he traveled to New York City in March 2006 and Sacramento three months later.

Salinas, 35, worked at the station for a decade. Her contract with Telemundo expires in December.

Three Telemundo employees also were disciplined after the review. They included KVEA news director Al Corral, who was suspended without pay for two months, and the station’s general manager, Manuel Abud, who was reassigned to another position. Ibra Morales, president of Telemundo stations, was reprimanded.

NBC Universal is the parent company of both KNBC and station KVEA.

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