Retiring County CEO to Receive $1.5 million over Sheriff's “Harassment''

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - After facing months of alleged “unrelenting and brutal'' harassment from Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the chief executive of Los Angeles County will receive $1.5 million and full-time private security to address concerns for her personal safety after she retires Monday, it was reported today.

Sachi Hamai has been the target of Villanueva's anger over the last several months, ire that seemed to intensify in March when the board removed Villanueva as the head of the county*s emergency operations center just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to intensify in L.A., according to a letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Villanueva took this 'as a personal affront and castigated Ms. Hamai over it,'' the letter said. The three-page missive was sent to the board July 30 by attorney Skip Miller, litigation counsel for L.A. County.

“He lied to the press saying she denied first responders their salaries while quarantined,'' Miller wrote. “Incited by the Sheriff, individuals threatened to post her home address and suggested she be harmed.''

County Counsel Mary Wickham signed off on the settlement for Hamai.Aug. 10. Hamai will not receive severance or any other payments and agreed not to sue the county, according to the agreement cited by The Times. The board authorized Wickham to settle on its behalf, Miller said.

The settlement and allegations are the latest in a lengthy series of clashes and tense relations between the sheriff and other county leaders since his surprise 2018 election victory over predecessor Jim McDonnell.

Most recently, Villanueva suggested Hamai had committed a felony because she served on the board of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which is supporting a November ballot measure that could lead to millions being redirected from the Sheriff's Department to mental health and jail diversion services. Hamai stepped down from the United Way board before the board's vote and has said she hadn't previously known about the United Way's efforts to pass the initiative, The Times reported.

In July, Villanueva referred to Hilda Solis, the only Latina on the Board of Supervisors, with what many considered to be a racist, misogynistic term after she made comments publicly about systemic brutality and racism by police toward people of color.

Earlier in the year, the Board of Supervisors sent a scathing letter to Villanueva, imploring him to correct the record after supervisors said he had spread false information about deputies' sick leave pay during the coronavirus outbreak.

This led to threats against Hamai, the letter said.

“I frankly think that if we litigated her case, a jury could have hit the county for a lot more than $1.5 million, a lot more,'' Miller said.

Photo: Getty Images

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