Lots of people in California Democratic circles have buzzed for years about Rick Jacobs, a former aide and longtime ally of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, being a major league asshole.
But Yashar Ali has uncovered a mountain of fresh dirt on Jacobs that lays out all the various and sundry ways in which that may have been truer than anyone thought up until now.
In the fall of 2018, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was talking to an adviser about his top aide, Rick Jacobs. Garcetti told the adviser: “I can’t believe Rick worked at City Hall for three years and we didn’t get sued.”
according to sources, Jacobs regularly engaged in sexual harassment and assault; displayed abusive behavior toward colleagues and underlings; and had questionable ethics. Also stunning, the adviser said, was that despite Jacobs’ reckless and abusive behavior, Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland, kept him in a position of significant power and influence..
Garcetti, who is serving his second term as mayor of Los Angeles and considered running for U.S. president in 2020, is seen by some as a rising star in the Democratic Party. Now he is facing a growing scandal after accusations by multiple people that Jacobs engaged in sexual misconduct and Garcetti witnessed the abuse and didn’t take action.
In July, a lawsuit was filed against the city by LAPD Officer Matthew Garza alleging that Jacobs subjected him to years of sexual harassment and assault and that Garcetti had frequently witnessed it. On Monday, I revealed in this newsletter that Garza wasn’t the only one accusing Jacobs and the mayor of such action. Two sources told me that Jacobs grabbed them without consent and forcibly kissed them at fundraisers while the mayor watched and laughed. And a former Garcetti aide told me that Jacobs once grabbed them and forcibly kissed them on the lips. I also revealed that Jacobs had forcibly kissed me on a number of occasions over a 10-year period.
Garcetti has denied all claims that he witnessed any sexual harassment or assault. But Jacobs, in two separate statements this week, has not denied the allegations against him.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that two more men had accused Jacobs of misconduct. One told the Times that Jacobs sexually assaulted him at an event at Jacobs’ home in 2012. Another, a Democratic strategist, said Jacobs attempted to forcibly kiss him even though the man told the Times he was using both hands to push Jacobs away.
Jacobs, sources say, has reserved most of his animus for women—and often for women who disagree with him or challenge him. Ten women who worked for Garcetti either in government, philanthropic endeavors, or politics told me this week that Jacobs frequently bullied them, threatened them, harassed them and sent them inappropriate text messages and emails.
Jacobs “treats women horribly,” one source told me. “And he would often brag about how he enjoyed making women cry.”
Two women also told me they witnessed Jacobs grab other women without consent.
Regarding Jacobs’ ethics, another source described a situation where a major Los Angeles-based firm was seeking a meeting with Garcetti. Just 20 minutes after the meeting was scheduled, Jacobs called the firm to ask about donating to the Mayor’s Fund, the source said. The request made the person on the receiving end uncomfortable and smacked of quid pro quo, they told me.
Read the whole thing here.
Garcetti had considered running for President in 2020. Many people questioned why he chose not to do that, but in hindsight, one wonders whether Jacobs’ behavior was a deal-breaker. It will be tough for the Mayor of Los Angeles to withstand this level of scrutiny and criticism, but it would be even less tenable for an actual presidential contender.
If you read the full piece, it’s clear that Garcetti is still angling for some sort of role in an incoming Biden administration, positioning himself as host of virtual chats serving as fundraisers and someone “of value” to the Biden campaign.
This story should put an end to that.
It will also gratify education reform proponents who saw Garcetti as weak on charter schools and too friendly with teachers’ unions, and a disappointment on education reform compared to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If only this story had come out a few years ago, Steve Barr might have had an opening to really challenge Garcetti and not wound up withdrawing.