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Lawyer seeks private Facebook posts of Garcetti’s assistant


An attorney for the police officer who claimed he was sexually harassed by former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti called city attorneys on Thursday to retain posts from a private Facebook group involving the mayor’s staff.

After The Times reported that Garcetti’s chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, posted sexual innuendoes and derogatory messages about city employees to a private Facebook group, attorney Gregory W. Smith sent a letter requesting members of the mayor’s entourage to keep messages, photographs, emojis and “likes” from this group.

Smith represents Matthew Garza, who filed a lawsuit last year alleging he had been sexually harassed by Rick Jacobs, another Garcetti assistant, for several years. In his letter, Smith said he wanted to make sure that the content of the Facebook group, called Solid Gold, was not destroyed.

Smith said he wanted to know specifically what was said in the group about Jacobs behavior and what Garcetti knew about it.

Ana Guerrero, Chief of Staff to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

(Betsy Anna)

Spokesman for Garcetti and City Atty. Mike Feuer declined to comment. Jacobs, in a deposition, previously denied harassing anyone, but admitted he may have hugged Garza and told sex jokes in front of security guards.

The Times reported Thursday that Guerrero made a sexually suggestive comment in the Solid Gold Facebook group about a shirtless photo of Vince Bertoni, the city’s planning director. In an article referring to the hiring of Bertoni, Guerrero said that she and another staff member had searched “LONG and HARD for someone who might be fun to watch.”

Guerrero wrote an article that appeared to poke fun at the weight of a council staff member, according to posts reviewed by The Times. She posted a vomit emoji and an image of a vomiting creature, responding to a photo of City Comptroller Ron Galperin and other officials at a Super Bowl party.

When asked about these messages, Guerrero expressed remorse, saying the messages were jokes intended for a small group of friends. “I deeply regret having engaged in this type of humor, even with close friends,” she said in a statement.

Several Garcetti staff and appointees participated in the invitation-only messaging group. But Solid Gold was not the only forum on Facebook for Garcetti employees.

Henry Casas, who worked for Garcetti from 2013 to 2018, was questioned during a deposition in the Garza case on any private Facebook group involving Garcetti collaborators. He testified that one of them, known as Chase Buckingham, had around 30 attendees – junior and senior employees.

Solid Gold was more exclusive, he said, featuring Guerrero and a dozen people, including Heather Repenning – now nominated by Garcetti in the Metropolitan Water District – and Cecilia Cabello, a former assistant to Garcetti. Cabello was awarded a $ 24,000 contract with the mayor’s office last year to coordinate the response to COVID-19 by philanthropists and businesses.

“Solid Gold was the closest to the group,” Casas said.

Cabello declined to comment when reached by phone. Repenning did not respond to several messages.

The Solid Gold group occasionally exchanged suggestive messages, the Times found after reviewing selected messages.

When one of the group members uploaded the shirtless photo of Bertoni, Repenning first responded with the message “Hmmm”.

Joseph Arroyo, who belonged to the Facebook group but did not work for the mayor, followed with a one-word message that said “Wood.” He then replied, “I meant WOOF but both work.”

Guerrero then weighed in on herself, posting the post that Bertoni was “easy on the eye”.

Arroyo did not respond to calls from The Times for comment.

Guerrero, during her testimony in the Garza case, said she did not recall whether Jacobs was discussed in Solid Gold or in the Chase Buckingham Facebook group.

Casas, however, testified that Jacobs was mentioned in at least one of them.





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