There have been numerous allegations in the past year that a high-level official in Mayor Garcetti's office sexually harassed some staff members. Though many of those allegations have been denied by Mayor Garcetti's spokesman, recent depositions of staffers say contrary.
In the past, Alex Comisar, the deputy communications director for the mayor has told reporters that Garcetti has "zero tolerance" for harassment. Last fall, Comisar would double down on this statement by saying that neither the city nor the mayor were told of any allegations of harassment by a staffer, Rick Jacobs, an advisor to Garcetti.
Recently, two former staffers of Garcetti have gone through sworn depositions and the findings are rather surprising due to the denial of allegations in the past. In the depositions, it was said that Alex Comisar, the same person that denied any wrongdoing of any staffers in Garcetti's office, was a victim of Rick Jacobs. Comisar himself complained about Jacobs' behavior. To back this up, one of the former staff members that testified produced text messages from Comisar discussing the misconduct from Jacobs.
Last month during a deposition, former Garcetti aide Suzi Emmerling discussed being informed by Comisar that he was touched by Jacobs. The LA Times obtained the testimony and released this information.
During the deposition, Emmerling would say,
“He told me that Rick — I want to say touched him, his leg under the table or something like that,”
Emmerling served as Comisar's supervisor and said that the misconduct took place sometime between 2017 and 2019. She did not recall the location of where this took place.
Emmerling made these claims as part of a case filed against the city by LAPD officer Matthew Garza, who also worked for Garcetti and served as a member of his security team. Garza would also accuse Jacobs of touching him inappropriately as well as, making crude comments.
It is also worth mentioning, Emmerling, did not see Jacobs behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner herself and did not file an anonymous complaint at City Hall about the allegations she received.
“Since this lawsuit came up, I have really struggled with the fact that I did nothing,”
Emmerling would say
She would provide a copy of text messages, as part of her testimony. These text messages were between Emmerling and a current and former staff member of the mayor's office discussing Garza's case.
One of the text messages from a Garcetti aide would call the allegations, "common knowledge" , while another would respond, "I mean... he's not wrong,"
Another former staff member, Naomi Seligman, said in her own deposition that she also heard from Comisar of Jacobs' inappropriate behavior. In a text message from Comisar to Seligman (who also at one point served as Comisar's boss), Comisar would write,
"Got hit on by Rick again"
The LA Times would also obtain a copy of this for review
Seligman would respond to the text message from Comisar with
When the deposition of Seligman became public two weeks ago, Comisar's name would be redacted. Two sources would confirm with the LA Times that Comisar is indeed the unnamed employee of the mayor that would send the text message.
Rick Jacobs would deny sexually harassing anyone and in his own deposition would say he potentially hugged Garza and made some inappropriate sexual jokes in the presence of Garcetti's security detail.
During Comisar's own deposition, he would say
he had “no firsthand understanding” of the plausibilty of Garza's claims.
Comisar also mentioned that he did not find Jacobs difficult to work with.
Answering a question on if he had ever complained to any staff member about Jacobs, Comisar would say
“Not that I can recall.”
The mayor would say that he never read any of the text messages exchanged between his staff.
The LA Times article goes into further detail about the allegations and depositions of the staff members.