Democrat Sheila Kuehl, a member of Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors, is blasting what she calls the “out of control” corruption division of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department after her home was raided and searched Wednesday.
Kuehl is reportedly being investigated over allegations of a “pay-to-play” contract for a sexual harassment hotline on the L.A. Metro public transportation system. The contract was awarded to a Kuehl donor, Patti Giggans, under a no-bid process.
As Fox 11 KTTV reported in 2020, citing a whistleblower:
A months-long FOX 11 investigation has revealed that an L.A. Metro sexual harassment hotline operated by a local charity is currently costing taxpayers more than $8,000 per call after a series of no-bid contracts to operate the hotline were awarded to the best friend and campaign donor of L.A. County Supervisor & Metro board member Sheila Kuehl after her office privately pushed for Metro to hire the charity.
The “Off Limits” hotline was created in 2017 and sold to the public as a game-changer, a 24/7 hotline to fight sexual harassment on L.A. Metro’s systems, while behind closed doors, a series of lucrative no-bid contracts were awarded to L.A. based charity Peace Over Violence to run the hotline for more than $800,000.
Peace Over Violence’s executive director is a woman named Patti Giggans.
Giggans is one of Sheila Kuehl’s best friends, and Kuehl officiated her wedding.
Kuehl also reportedly sat on the board of the organization.
Giggans’s home and office were also reportedly searched on Wednesday, along with several county administrative offices, including the Metro head office, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Times noted that a barefoot Kuehl’s phone was seized, as she complained about the search and alleged that she was the victim of political bias inside the Sheriff’s office.
County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly clashed with the Board of Supervisors, opposing its efforts to “defund the police” and accusing it of failing to address the crisis of homelessness on the country’s streets. He also resisted efforts by the county to impose vaccine mandates on the police force. An angry Board of Supervisors has proposed a ballot initiative this November that would allow them to dismiss the elected sheriff at will. Villanueva faces a tough reelection fight this fall.
The Times noted:
Both Kuehl and Giggans have clashed fiercely with Sheriff Alex Villanueva and have called for his resignation.
The warrants marked a dramatic escalation of the sheriff’s long-running investigation into the nonprofit‘s contracts and reignited angry claims from critics that Villanueva is using a secretive public corruption unit to target political enemies and others who have crossed him. Villanueva has denied the claims, saying he has recused himself from the unit’s work in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
“Alex, I am told, recused himself from this, but that means of course that he knows about it and … all of the blame resides with him anyways,” Kuehl said of Villanueva. “If he doesn’t know about it, that means there’s a rogue element within the Sheriff’s Department. And either way, it’s totally out of control.”
Kuehl has also faced public criticism for dining outdoors at a restaurant immediately after voting to ban outdoor dining in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Villanueva vowed not to enforce closures on local small businesses.
Kuehl is eligible for reelection but announced she was not running, leaving the District 3 race an open contest in 2022. State Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and West Hollywood City Council member Lindsey Horvath (D) are the candidates.
The L.A. Metro runs constant public service announcements on its trains advertising its sexual harassment policy to riders.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.