LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had been aware for years of the allegations of inappropriate behavior against his former deputy chief of staff, Rick Jacobs, according to a new report Wednesday in New York Magazine.
Jacobs served as Garcetti’s deputy chief of staff from 2013 to 2016.
In July of 2020, an LAPD officer who had worked as part of Garcetti’s security detail from 2014-19 filed a lawsuit making allegations against Jacobs, from sexually explicit comments to unwanted physical contact.
Then in October of 2020, journalist and former political fixer Yashar Ali alleged that Jacobs had harassed him at various political functions over the course of 10 years, ending in 2015.
Immediately following that revelation, Jacobs announced he was stepping down from his nonprofit work and volunteer activities with the mayor.
In December of 2020, a judge ordered Garcetti to submit to a deposition in the LAPD officer’s lawsuit. In his sworn testimony in February, Garcetti denied witnessing or having any knowledge of Jacobs’ behavior, according to the Los Angeles Times.
However, four people who worked with both Garcetti and Jacobs told New York Magazine that the mayor was aware of Jacobs’ behavior.
“I saw the harassment and inappropriate touching,” Naomi Seligman, Garcetti’s former director of communications, told New York Magazine. “I experienced it, I reported it, and nothing was done. So on top of the toxic environment that Rick created in and around city hall, people were forced to tolerate his harassment, to the point of pretending it wasn’t happening at all.”
Garcetti’s office denied the allegations made in the New York Magazine report, saying in a statement that: “The mayor has said repeatedly and under oath, he absolutely did not witness any sexual harassment by Mr. Jacobs, and if he had, he would have put a stop to it. These claims were false the first time they were alleged more than a year ago, and they’re just as false today.”
Back in July, Garcetti was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the ambassador to India.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would be the first L.A. mayor to voluntarily leave office before the end of his term in more than a century. Garcetti’s term ends in December of 2022. If confirmed, there will be a special election to fill his seat.