Borrowing a page, if not probable cause, from high-profile moves by the FBI, investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant on L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl Wednesday morning, raiding her Santa Monica home at approximately 7 a.m., citing only “an ongoing public corruption investigation,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
As LASD investigators entered her home, a barefoot Kuehl stood outside, her phone impounded, and told a reporter from FOX 11 that the warrant she’d been handed “has no information on it,” though she noted that it bore the signature of a judge “who is a friend of the sheriff.”
Kuehl continued, “This is a bogus non-investigation. There’s no investigation going on that would support this warrant.”
View this post on Instagram
The search warrant, signed by Superior Court Judge Craig Richman, showed that the search was tied to an ongoing probe into Peace Over Violence. As the Times reports, Peace Over Violence is a nonprofit run by Patti Giggans, a member of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission and a close friend to Kuehl. Kuehl and Giggans are more than particularly vocal opponents of Sheriff Alex Villanueva—they have both called for his resignation.
Kuehl acknowledged that there was an investigation into a no-bid contract that had been given to a charity for a hotline to report sexual harassment on public transportation, but said the complaint was spurious and suggested it fit a pattern of vindictive investigations Villanueva has launched against other enemies.
LASD confirmed it was also serving search warrants at the homes of Giggans, the L.A. County Hall of Administration, Peace Over Violence Headquarters, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which awarded the contract to Giggans’ organization.
Breaking: Sheriff’s deputies are taking boxes from Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patty Giggin’s Los Angeles home, part of a sprawling investigation that includes Metro and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. The COC has held a series of investigative hearings into alleged gangs in LASD. pic.twitter.com/XD16NYDgeO
— Kate Cagle (@KateCagle) September 14, 2022
The investigation follows complaints by Metro employee Jennifer Loew, who says supervisors retaliated against her after she made claims of misconduct against the agency. Loew has accused Kuehl of improperly helping Giggans’ nonprofit win the contract to operate the Metro hotline.
“I think the sheriff’s department going along with this Metro employee indicates the sheriff’s department is complicit in this,” Kuehl said. “Alex [Villanueva] I’m told he recused himself from this… 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.”
Others expressed similar sentiments. Councilman Mike Bonin tweeted his support of Kuehl stating, “A corrupt sheriff with a track record of abusing his power and trying to silence and intimidate his critics is conducting a bogus, vindictive, politically motivated witch hunt against @SheilaKuehl, a public official of the highest integrity.”
Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, who has covered many investigations by Villanueva—and was the subject of at least one—remarked: “Unclear what the warrant says or why they are here. In the past, sheriff’s investigators were probing a nonprofit that is run by a member of the Civilian Oversight Commission & is associated with Kuehl.”
Tchekmedyian later reported from the home of Patti Giggans as the sheriff’s deputies hit there, too. She quoted one of Giggans’ neighbors, who asked, “What’re they going to find in there, oven mitts?”
A corrupt sheriff with a track record of abusing his power and trying to silence and intimidate his critics is conducting a bogus, vindictive, politically motivated witch hunt against @SheilaKuehl, a public official of the highest integrity
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) September 14, 2022
“This whole thing is drummed up I think by a very disaffected ex-employee,” Kuehl told the Times.
— Alene Tchekmedyian (@AleneTchek) September 14, 2022
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign for our newsletters today