He had met Orlando Merced in 2004 when the mariachi group Los Reyes Jalisco played at his wedding. Three months later, after Merced was shot and severely wounded, Zeyas successfully ran for the office of mayor of Los Angeles. He offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Merced's shooter, leading to a flood of calls to his office. The case was never cleared and the reward was never paid. Zeyas and Merced became friends, and Merced appeared at many fund-raisers and political rallies for the mayoral candidate.
As City Councilman and Mayor, Zeyas was not a friend of the Police Department. He was a budget cutter in this area, opposing pay raises and limiting overtime. However, when he was looking for a good photo op or press conference, he didn't hesitate to call on the department.
For ten years Zeyas successfully hid the fact that his office had received a valid tip from Alicia Navarro who worked as a maid for the Broussard family. She had overheard Mr. Broussard and another man discussing the shooting in an incriminating manner. Spivak talked with Navarro, but instead of forwarding the information to the police he conspired with Zeyas to extort money from Broussard. Thus, Broussard became one of the biggest financial backers of Zeyas.
By 2014 Zeyas was considering a run for Governor of California and again counting on support from Broussard. After Merced's death, Zeyas appeared at a press conference with the Chief of Police and Detectives Harry Bosch and Lucia Soto in which Zeyas highjacked Bosch's statement that "everybody counts or nobody counts." It was an appropriate statement for this case, but Zeyas' use of it was pure political grandstanding. He again offered a reward ($50,000) for information leading to arrest of the shooter, who had never been captured. This led to a flood of spurious calls to the Police Department, but it also prompted Navarro to call again. When Bosch and Soto followed up with her, it led them to Spivak who led them to Zeyas.
Zeyas could have been charged with a number of felonies, including conspiracy, extortion, and obstruction of justice. However, the District Attorney declined to file charges against him.