Originally Published Here
Two weeks ago, the Assembly Rules Committee abruptly ended its investigation of sexual harassment and other complaints against Assembly-woman Cristina Garcia.
The investigation was conducted by outside counsel Vida Thomas of Stoel Rives, LLP, who was retained by the Assembly.
The Thomas investigation substantiated three lesser charges that were part of a larger set of extremely explicit accusations levelled by former Garcia staffers who were represented by San Diego based attorney Dan Gilleon.
Thomas substantiated the accusations without interviewing the accusers.
But the investigation did not substantiate the more explosive sexual harassment allegations levelled by Daniel Fierro.
Thomas chose not to substantiate the accusations even though she interviewed Fierro.
Fierro told HMG-CN, “They interviewed me but they failed to interview another witness who would have corroborated my story, makes me wonder what their methodology was, it certainly was not transparent.”
Fierro has since filed an appeal and listed out several categories of witnesses he did not believe had been interviewed.
They include his boss at the time, Assembly Member Ian Calderon, who was at the softball game, and several other potential witnesses who would have material information relating to Fierro‘s claim.
Many cried foul when Thomas ended her investigation, failing to interview the staffers who alleged, among other serious accusations, that Garcia drank alcohol and bragged about having sex in her Assembly office with other elected officials.
But a letter signed by Debra Gravert, Chief Administrative Officer for the Rules Committee “exonerated” the investigators and placed the blame of the abrupt ending of the investigation squarely on Gilleon’s shoulders and his request for a separate investigator.
“That’s not quite true, an angry Gilleon told HMG-CN, “I tried to negotiate and they kept saying no, I was protecting my clients from retaliation, we all saw what happened to David Kernick. They did not want to be interviewed by an investigator chosen by the Assembly. With the Assembly’s choice of an attorney as an investigator it created attorney-client privilege, and the fact the statute of limitations had run out, this was a charade from the beginning.”
Gilleon produced several emails that proved his case, the last email stating, “the record is clear that my clients were, and are, willing to cooperate as long as the Assembly is willing to take the most basic and simple steps to ensure the investigation is fair and no retaliation is permitted.”
At the time, sources told HMG-CN that the allegations of Garcia bragging about having sex in her office could implicate “five other married elected officials from Central California” and was the reason why the inquiry ended so abruptly.
Now, two other high level capitol sources have come forward and indicated that could indeed be the case, implicating a much larger scheme to “rig the investigation.”
The two sources come from opposite sides of the Sacramento political spectrum, but both had very similar stories about Garcia and both implicated the same Assembly Members as having sex with Garcia.
The sources told HMG-CN that during the meetings between Garcia and investigators, Garcia at one time “pushed her chair back and turned the tables” telling the group that she would expose the Assembly Members if they did not end the investigation.
Not wanting to risk a huge scandal, leaders put a plan into motion ensuring the investigation documents were protected from the public, and “failed to interview” Gilleon’s clients about the allegations of Garcia having sex in her office.
HMG-CN began emailing Garcia’s Communication Director Teala Schaff yesterday at 2 p.m. for comment, and to confirm or deny the source’s claims.
Several emails were sent both yesterday and today.
As of publication time, there has been no response.
HMG-CN emailed the Assembly Members, who represent districts north of San Francisco, north of Bakersfield, and in the Los Angeles area, all denied the allegations except for one who sent a cryptic text message.
The Los Angeles area Assembly Member took a page from the Bill Clinton playbook with his Communications Director texting, “the sex allegations are false…the Assembly Member keeps his personal and professional life entirely separate.”
Although the statute of limitations has run on the initial claims against the Assembly for harassment, a potential exists for future litigation based on the Assembly’s mishandling of the entire investigation; litigation that would bring subpoena power.
And Danny Fierro has hired a high-powered well-respected employment litigation firm to continue the fight.