In July of 2020, our Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar wrote about Los Angeles Police Department Officer Matthew Garza, who was a part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s security detail, filing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles alleging long-time advisor to the mayor Rick Jacobs sexually harassed him over a lengthy period.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Officer Garza claims that between 2014 and 2019 he was “subjected to unwanted sexual harassment by Jacobs, who is openly gay,” that at least half of the incidents occurred in Garcetti’s presence, and that Garcetti did nothing to stop them and sometimes laughed at his friend, Jacobs.
Garcetti, along with Jacobs, were initially radio silent on the lawsuit, then Jacobs issued an email statement to the Los Angeles Times, which a Garcetti spokesman followed up:
In an emailed statement, Jacobs said, “This lawsuit is a work of pure fiction, and is out of left field. Officer Garza and I worked together for many years without incident. I will vigorously defend myself, my character and my reputation.”
Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said, “the mayor has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and unequivocally did not witness the behavior that Officer Garza alleges.”
Nothing more was said by Garcetti or Jacobs, or the fish wrap of record for that matter. The lawsuit received scant mention, and seemed to have disappeared from the radar.
That is, until October of 2020, when freelance journalist and Twitter personality Yashar Ali revealed his own harassment at the hands of Jacobs. According to Ali, Jacobs’ misconduct was an open secret among Garcetti’s staff, and Jacobs had sexually assaulted him on multiple occasions.
The fish wrap of record known as the L.A. Times didn’t want to be left out, so they issued a story about the “bombshell” revelations brought by Ali.
Jacobs resigned from his “advisor” position, and Garcetti made a half-hearted effort to distance himself from him. However, now that it looks like Mayor Gross Incompetency may be on his way to India to be Dementia Joe’s ambassador to the country, Garcetti has some cause to pay more attention to whether this lawsuit will affect him, as the Daily Mail UK purports:
An ambassadorial nomination normally follows an extensive FBI background check and screening by White House counsel.
Ambassadors report directly to the president on national security matters and rule over US embassy facilities that often include a Central Intelligence Agency station.
Section 28 of the SF86 form that nominees must fill out as a detailed roadmap for the background check, instructs them to disclose ‘involvement in non-criminal court actions’ and ‘provide details of the nature of the action.’
Garza’s lawyer Greg Smith said he has not heard from the FBI or the White House but believes the sealed deposition and other testimony in the case are salient to Garcetti‘s potential nomination because they contain information ‘that would be very relevant, that speak directly to the candor of the mayor.’
‘The FBI can take the steps that are required to get the depositions released,’ Smith told DailyMail.com.
‘If there’s something in the depositions that could shed light on Garcetti‘s fitness to act as ambassador it seems to be that that’s something that they should look into.’
If Garcetti does pass the background check, he will have dodged not only his misconduct in aiding and abetting Jacobs’ continued harassment, but his complicity in the rampant homelessness that exploded across Los Angeles under his watch.
But in terms of newsworthiness, the no-holds-barred release of the additional allegations means that the dam has broken. Outlets like the local fish wrap are now breathlessly covering the additional deposition testimony on Jacobs’ harassment, how it corroborates Yashar Ali’s allegations that Jacob’s behavior was an open secret, and a problematic pattern that was aided and abetted by the Mayor himself:
A former high-level aide to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti testified last month that former Garcetti advisor Rick Jacobs kissed both her and her husband on the mouth without their consent, and that a male Garcetti staffer separately complained to her that Jacobs made a pass at him.
Former Garcetti communications director Naomi Seligman said in deposition testimony that Jacobs grabbed her and kissed her on the lips in 2016 in front of several staffers, an incident she called humiliating. Seligman, who worked in the mayor’s office from 2015 to 2017, also testified that she complained about the incident to Garcetti chief of staff Ana Guerrero but that nothing was done.
The Times reports that the deposition testimony contains several more “explosive allegations” of harassment at the hands of Jacobs. According to their reports, Seligman said she encountered a “Mafia-like culture that rewarded silence” and was told that Jacobs “was protected by the mayor.”
And if this LAist story has any legs, apparently Garcetti’s cronies are still protecting Jacobs:
The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters is a staunch Garcetti supporter and has financially backed the mayor’s political efforts dating to his first city council campaign in 2001. All told, the union and related groups have made contributions to Garcetti-aligned campaigns and organizations that tally well over $1 million.
Garcetti and Jacobs stopped communicating last October, according to testimony by both men in an ongoing harassment lawsuit against the city that targets Jacobs. But while Garcetti cut ties with his former aide in the wake of the harassment allegations, the carpenters union has stood by him.
Last month, in a filing to the U.S. Department of Labor, the union disclosed that RDJ Strategic Advisors, a consulting group helmed by Jacobs, received $215,000 in fees between April 2020 and March of this year. It shows 14 separate consulting payments to Jacobs’ firm.
Guess someone has to pay for those legal fees.