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Sheriffs Search Kuehl's Santa Monica Home
 

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By Jorge Casuso

September 14, 2022 -- Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators searched County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's Santa Monica home Wednesday morning in connection with ongoing public corruption investigation, Sheriffs officials said.

Investigators for the Sheriff's Public Corruption Unit also served warrants to search the home of Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia “Patti” Giggans, who has close personal and political ties to Kuehl.

They also searched offices at the County Hall of Administration, Peace Over Violence Headquarters and LA Metro Headquarters, officials said.

Peace Over Violence, an LA-based charity, has been given a series of no-bid contracts by Metro, on whose Board Keuhl serves, to run a sexual harassment hotline, according to news reports.

Kuehl and Giggans have been staunch critics of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and have called for his removal.

"The investigation has been shared with a federal agency and they continue to monitor," the Sheriff's Department said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Kuehl issued a statement Wednesday night denouncing what she called Villanueva's "thuggish attempt to intimidate and silence not just me, but many other public servants."

"This morning’s storming of my home by deputies with bulletproof vests and tactical gear was an effort to harass, intimidate and retaliate against a public figure who has been an outspoken critic of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva," Keuhl said.

"The basis of this search was questionable and will be investigated."

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, "The investigation stems from allegations by an employee at the county's Metropolitan Transportation Authority who is embroiled in a retaliation lawsuit against Metro.

"The employee has claimed among other things that Kuehl improperly helped the nonprofit win a contract with Metro to operate a hotline for reporting sexual harassment on public transit," according to the Times.

Two years ago, a month-long investigation by Fox 11 News found the hotline was currently costing taxpayers more than $8,000 per call.

According to Fox, "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."

Fox identified the Metro whistleblower as Jennifer Loew, who was serving as the agency's transit security special project manager and was in charge of the ‘Off Limits” hotline.

A picture accompanying Wednesday's LA Times article shows Kuehl being escorted barefoot from her Santa Monica home on the 3200 block of Pearl Street.

During an interview with the Times as the search was taking place, Kuehl denied any wrongdoing, calling the corruption allegations "totally bogus."

Keuhl said she "didn't know anything about the contract" and that the Board of Supervisors did not vote on whether to approve it.

According to the Fox investigation, it was the Metro board that awarded the no-bid contract.

Kuehl told Fox News Wednesday morning that the warrant to search her home "has no information on it" and was "signed by the judge who is a friend of the sheriff."

The warrant authorized investigators to search for and seize any documents or electronic files "related to the Peace Over Violence contract acquisition," the LA Times reported.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 11:50 a.m. Thursday to include quotes from a statement issued by Supervisor Kuehl Wednesday night.


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