A well-known writer has become the second person to publicly accuse one of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s closest advisors of sexual misconduct and harassment.
Yashar Ali, a former political consultant to a number of Democratic party figures and now a freelance reporter and writer, said in a post on his “Substack” website Tuesday that Garcetti aide Rick Jacobs “used to forcibly kiss me on the lips when I encountered him through my previous work in politics,” and said at least two other individuals had confided in him that they had experienced similar unwanted encounters with Jacobs.
Garcetti’s office did not respond to multiple inquiries Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. Jacobs could not be reached.
Ali confirmed to NBC4’s I-Team that the Substack narrative and related Twitter messages posted under his handle, “@Yashar,” were, in fact, his account and he wanted the story to be shared in public.
He said he posted the information because he was frustrated that Jacobs has remained in Garcetti’s close orbit even after an LAPD officer filed a lawsuit that accused Jacobs of inappropriate sexual conduct.
That officer, Matthew Garza, claimed in a complaint filed in LA Superior Court in July, that Garcetti had personally witnessed several instances of Jacobs’ alleged unwanted touching and hugging and had allegedly heard Jacobs make crude sexual remarks.
The LA City Attorney’s Office issued general denials to Garza’s allegations in a court filing in late September. Garcetti’s office said at the time the suit was filed, “the mayor has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and unequivocally did not witness the behavior that Officer Garza alleges.”
Garza was assigned to the mayor's personal protective detail and was in close contact with Garcetti and Jacobs, the lawsuit said.
Ali said in his account he had considered Jacobs a friend and the two encountered one another when Ali worked on political campaigns and for candidates and officials between 2005 and 2015.
“The incidents where Jacobs would forcibly kiss me always happened in front of others and at political and social functions,” Ali wrote. “Jacobs would grab my face and kiss me on the lips—always twice—and he would turn to other people who witnessed it and say, “He has the softest lips.””
Jacobs has occupied a key position in Garcetti’s political operation, working as a campaign advisor and fundraiser, a deputy mayor during the Garcetti’s first term, and as an advisor on Garcetti’s exploration of a run for president in 2017 and 2018. Although Jacobs no longer holds an official title and is not a City employee, he is still listed as treasurer of the Mayor’s Fund, an allied non-profit, and is said to have the mayor's ear on most major issues.
Ali said in his account that sources he contacted said Jacobs, “still maintains his influence over the mayor’s life.” NBC4’s City Hall contacts declined to confirm Ali’s exact wording but said Jacobs remains very close to Garcetti.
After Garza’s lawsuit became public Garcetti told the LA Times that the claim shouldn’t interfere with Jacobs’ work with the Mayor’s fund.
“This is something that should take a process forward, but shouldn’t keep somebody who has been a committed public servant from being able to continue to serve our community and our world,” Garcetti told the Times in September.
Jacobs was quoted in the same article as saying the Garza allegations were, “pure fiction.