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LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl served with search warrant in public corruption investigation

A search warrant was served Wednesday morning on the Santa Monica residence of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl amid what the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division is asking “an ongoing public corruption investigation.”

The raid was executed round 7 am by the LASD and federal legislation enforcement. The LASD confirmed it was additionally serving search warrants at different places together with the house of LA County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia Giggans, in addition to the LA County Corridor of Administration, Peace Over Violence Headquarters, and LA Metro Headquarters.

In an unique reside interview with FOX 11, Kuehl mentioned the warrant to go looking her residence “has no info on it” and was “signed by the decide who’s a good friend of the sheriff.” She denied any wrongdoing.

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“This can be a bogus non-investigation,” Kuehl mentioned. “There is no investigation occurring that might assist this warrant.”

Video exhibits Kuehl being led from the entrance door of her residence exterior and talking with legislation enforcement.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl was served with a search warrant at her Santa Monica home on Wednesday morning.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl was served with a search warrant at her Santa Monica residence on Wednesday morning. (FOX 11)

Kuehl mentioned this might probably be associated to a disgruntled Metro worker with contracts, including that “Metro can also be being searched.”

Kuehl mentioned the investigation relies “on an outdated obsession by a Metro worker.”

In line with Kuehl, the Metro worker in query labored with the division “years in the past” and when she was let go, grew to become invested in a contract over the LA Metro hotline and claimed Kuehl was concerned.

“Between the years of 2014-2020, a collection of `sole supply’ contracts have been awarded by the MTA to the Los Angeles-based nonprofit group Peace Over Violence totaling over $890,000,” based on the affidavit. “A sole supply contract is a non-competitive procurement that permits a single provider to meet the contractual obligations and necessities from, on this case, a public entity/authorities contractor (MTA).”

Though the sheriff’s division declined to touch upon the investigation, it launched a redacted copy of the affidavit that led to the warrants. That doc states the case is a probe into “an allegation of felony conduct” by Kuehl and three “sole supply contracts awarded to a nonprofit group working underneath the identify Peace Over Violence” to function a sexual harassment tip line for workers and riders on the Metro transit system.

The affidavit paperwork the lengthy historical past of friendship between Kuehl and Giggans, noting that Kuehl officiated Giggans’ wedding ceremony in 2004 when she was a state senator. It additionally famous that Kuehl — who serves on the Metro Board of Administrators — is a member of the advisory board of Peace Over Violence and that Kuehl appointed Giggans to the Civilian Oversight Fee.

A earlier FOX 11 investigation revealed that Peace Over Violence’s operation of the sex-harassment hotline was costing taxpayers greater than $8,000 per cellphone name. Though the road was presupposed to have obtained 1,300 calls between 2017 and 2020, only a few of them turned out to be reliable, with the overwhelming majority being hang-ups, assessments or not relevant to the road’s objective.

In October 2019, solely eight of 29 calls reported by Metro turned out to be reliable harassment experiences. Of the 349 calls to the road in 2019, 260 have been flawed numbers or hang-ups.

By way of August of 2017, solely 13 reliable sexual-harassment-related calls have been obtained on the road, equating to a per-call price of $8,450.

The investigation was based mostly on allegations made by Jennifer Loew, a former Metro mission supervisor who additionally alleged that Kuehl had steered the no-bid contracts to Giggans and Peace Over Violence. Loew was not formally recognized within the search warrant affidavit, which solely cites an unnamed “witness” who raised the allegations. Loew sued Metro for retaliation.

Kuehl mentioned she was notified by an lawyer for the county Tuesday evening that the sheriff’s division was planning to indicate up at her residence Wednesday morning.

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“I’ve by no means dedicated a felony,” she mentioned.

Kuehl maintains she had no data of the no-bid contract, which was value $494,000, just below the $500,000 threshold that might have mandated a vote from Metro.

The Board of Supervisors has had a turbulent relationship with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

“I feel the sheriff’s division going together with this Metro worker signifies the sheriff’s division is complicit on this,” she mentioned. Alex [Villanueva] I am instructed to recuse himself from this… if he does not find out about it, which means there is a rogue factor inside the sheriff’s division and both means it’s very uncontrolled.”

Villanueva has not commented on the search warrants. The search warrant affidavit notes that Villanueva has actually recused himself from any involvement within the investigation to keep away from any look of battle.

The sheriff is within the midst of a contentious re-election marketing campaign, squaring off in November towards former Lengthy Seaside Police Chief Robert Luna.

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Mike Bonin, Councilmember for the eleventh District of Los Angeles, launched a statement in assist of Kuehl following the LASD raid. He mentioned partly, “A corrupt sheriff with a monitor report of abusing his energy from him and making an attempt to silence and intimidate his critics from him is conducting a bogus, vindictive, politically motivated witch hunt towards @SheilaKuehla public official of the very best integrity.”

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this report.


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