Tentative Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Over Garcetti Aide’s Alleged Sexual Harassment

A Los Angeles Police Department officer who accused ex-Mayor Eric Garcetti’s former senior advisor Rick Jacobs of sexual harassment has tentatively agreed to settle his lawsuit with the city, according to court documents.

Attorneys for Matthew Garza, a Metropolitan Division officer assigned to Garcetti’s security detail for a decade, filed documents Thursday saying a tentative settlement has been reached in the case that endangered the former mayor’s political future and revealed widespread allegations of misconduct against Jacobs, a powerful political fixer and key aide to Garcetti.

On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin, informed of a “conditional’’ resolution of the case, canceled the Sept. 5 start of the trial.

A source familiar with the lawsuit said the payout is in the range of $1.5 million to $2 million. Any settlement involving a significant amount of money would need City Council approval.

Attorney Greg Smith, who represents Garza, declined to comment. Typically such settlements are reached between the city lawyers and the plaintiff’s lawyers and then approved by the council.

Representatives for Jacobs didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for City Atty. Hydee Feldstein Soto declined to comment.

The veteran police officer sued in July 2020, alleging sex and gender harassment, alleging that Jacobs subjected him to tight hugs, shoulder rubs and a plethora of unwanted and unwelcome sexual comments from 2014 to 2019.

Garcetti witnessed some of the behavior but didn’t intervene, Garza’s lawsuit alleges.

Jacobs denied harassing anyone.

Garcetti, now U.S. ambassador to India, denied he condoned any misconduct, saying that he would have acted promptly if he had been informed of a problem. In a deposition, he insisted he never witnessed any of the conduct.

The questions over what Garcetti might have known led Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) to launch an investigation. The investigation found that Garcetti “likely knew or should have known that Rick Jacobs was sexually harassing multiple individuals and making racist comments towards others.”

Meanwhile, a report ordered by the city attorney’s office to help in its defense of the Garza case concluded that Garza was not sexually harassed by Jacobs and that Garcetti did nothing wrong.

A sworn LAPD officer since 1997, Garza began working on Garcetti’s security detail in October 2013. He alleged Jacobs would extend his hand for a purported handshake, but then pull Garza toward him to give a “long, tight hug,” while simultaneously saying, “I love me my strong LAPD officers” or some other “inappropriate comment,” according to the suit.

Jacobs, in his deposition, acknowledged that he may have hugged Garza and made sexual jokes in front of the mayor’s security detail team.

Two other men who worked in Garcetti’s office also gave deposition testimony in which they said they were subjected to unwanted touching from Jacobs.

One of the mayor’s former communications directors, Naomi Seligman, testified that she complained about Jacobs’ alleged misconduct to Garcetti’s onetime chief of staff, Ana Guerrero. She said nothing was ever done about it. Guerrero denies that she was ever told.

Garcetti, in his own deposition, denied that he witnessed Jacobs inappropriately touch Garza and denied that he heard Jacobs talk explicitly about sex, saying such behavior would be “completely out of character” for Jacobs.

Garcetti was also shown a photo that appeared in The Times of Jacobs placing his hand near the crotch of a manas the two posed for a group photo at a convention in Miami in 2017. Garcetti stands next to the two men and others, smiling and giving a double thumbs-up gesture.

Asked to explain why his former aide made the gesture, the mayor replied: “No. You’d have to ask Mr. Jacobs.”

Garcetti added he “absolutely” did not see the gesture at the time.

Jacobs has called the lawsuit “a work of pure fiction.” Jacobs raised millions of dollars in support of Garcetti’s 2013 mayoral campaign and was a top City Hall deputy before stepping down in 2016. He continued to work as a political consultant for Garcetti and helped run two nonprofits associated with the mayor until Garza filed his lawsuit.

The allegations concerned some senators, which led Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to delay a vote on Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India.

The former mayor’s parents — onetime L.A. County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti and Sukey Garcetti — hired lobbyists to help win his confirmation, and the former mayor leaned on the few Washington friends he had. In March, the Senate confirmed his nomination.

A spokesperson for City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the city’s budget committee that deals with legal settlements, declined to comment Friday on the proposed settlement.

Click here to read the whole article in the LA Times

Mayor Garcetti’s Former Top Spokeswoman Wants Him Charged With Perjury

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s onetime chief spokeswoman has filed a complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors, demanding that he be prosecuted for perjury for repeatedly denying that he knew about another former aide’s alleged sexual misconduct.

A nonprofit law firm sent a 31-page letter on behalf of Naomi Seligman to the U.S. Department of Justice, the California attorney general’s office and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón last week, accusing Garcetti of lying and conspiring with top staffers to cover up multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Rick Jacobs, the mayor’s former deputy chief of staff.

Seligman said she hopes felony charges will be filed against the mayor for allegedly lying under oath, in a legal deposition and in testimony to a U.S. Senate committee. She said she hopes that the letter also will have a political impact — causing the U.S. Senate to block Garcetti’s confirmation as U.S. ambassador to India.

The allegations were forwarded to more than half the members of the Senate, said Seligman’s lawyers, who also filed the complaints with the California State Personnel Board, the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and the California State Auditor’s Office, under provisions of the state’s whistleblower protection law.

“Senators should be outraged that someone nominated to represent our country in a key diplomatic post would lie to their faces so brazenly,” Seligman said in a statement. “It’s time for them to take a serious look at the evidence that I and others have presented and live up to the commitment that many of them have made to protect victims of predatory behavior in the workplace.”

Jacobs has repeatedly denied that he sexually harassed anyone when he worked as one of Garcetti’s top aides and political advisors, claims that became public in 2020 in a lawsuit filed by a former member of the mayor’s LAPD security detail.

Garcetti has said he knew nothing of the accusations by Officer Matthew Garza, and later others, until Garza’s lawsuit became public in July of 2020.

“There is nothing new here — and these false claims about the mayor are just as ridiculous now as they were when they were first made,” a statement from Garcetti’s office said. “The mayor stands by his testimony unequivocally, and more than a dozen witnesses have testified under oath that he was never made aware of any improper behavior.”

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

‘MaskGate’ and the Unserious Politicians Mocking the People of California

California is in a State of Emergency and is hosting the Super Bowl

Was it another French Laundry moment, or the latest installment of “MaskGate” at Sunday’s NFC Championship game in Los Angeles? Photos on social media brought us images of unmasked California Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, posing for pics with Magic Johnson, despite the Los Angeles County mask mandate and SoFi Stadium requirements.

Who can blame them? Wearing a mask everywhere you go, or all day is nauseating. Why can’t they admit this?

While California teens, children and even toddlers are still cruelly being forced to wear masks all day long in government schools throughout the state, and businesses are required to enforce indoor masking, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayors and celebrities were seen and photographed at the NFC Championship game looking normal without masks on, among 80,000 screaming fans. In fact, masks were not evident on anyone in the stands. 

The moment should have turned the tide; the mandates should have been lifted. But that’s not what happened.

Instead, our unserious politicians doubled down on stupid.

Rather than apologizing for violating his own statewide mask orders as well as the LA mask orders, Gov. Newsom claimed he’d been wearing it the whole time and only shed his mask for the photo op with Johnson. But there are other photos and video of him maskless.

Claiming to be thoughtful, “You’re correct,” Newsom said when asked about going maskless at SoFi stadium, Deadline reported. “I was very judicious yesterday. Very judicious. You’ll see the photo that I did take, Magic was kind enough, generous enough, to ask me for a photograph and in my left hand’s the mask and I took the photo. The rest of the time I wore it as we all should, um — not when I had a glass of water — and I encourage everybody else to do so. And, uh, that’s it.”

Asked if he should he have reconsidered taking off his mask, given his 2020 incident at the French Laundry, the governor responded, “Yes, of course. I was trying to be gracious. I made a mis — I was trying to be gracious,” Deadline reported. “I took the mask off for a brief second but, no, I encourage people to continue to wear them.”

My BS Meter exploded. He couldn’t even choke out the word “mistake.” Does Gov. Newsom have any humility? Does he think or even care that California residents are not so stupid as to believe his schtick?

Not to be outdone by the governor, Mayor Garcetti was even more of a clown when confronted. Garcetti said he held his breath to take the photo with Magic Johnson and Mayor Breed. Apparently Garcetti believes COVID germs don’t travel when you hold your breath.

“I’ll take personal responsibility,” Garcetti said when asked about the photos, “and if it makes you and everyone else happy — or even the photographs with people where literally I’m holding my breath for two seconds — I won’t even do that.”

It’s a shame Assemblyman James Gallagher wasn’t there. He’s the only one who made sense: “Gavin was judicious, Garcetti held his breath… C’mon man. Stop. They don’t really believe masking is necessary. Nor did any one else around them or anyone in that stadium for that matter. End of story.”

Click here to read the full article at California Globe