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Investigation finds L.A. city commissioner made unwanted and inappropriate remarks

Investigation finds L.A. city commissioner made unwanted and inappropriate remarks
Visitors to El Pueblo de Los Angeles in downtown Los Angeles in 2015. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles city commissioner violated city standards of conduct when he called staffers “gorgeous,” or said they “look good” in a suggestive tone, an investigation has found.

A Personnel Department report found that city commissioner Scott Crawford “repeatedly engaged in inappropriate behavior” toward city employees.

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Crawford, 68, was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority commission, an unpaid position helping to oversee one of the city’s smallest departments.

In December, four women and one man from the department filed complaints against Crawford.

Crawford remains a commissioner and completed sexual harassment training earlier this year, said Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar. The mayor ordered training for all city commissioners in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations made last fall against filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

Crawford has defended himself, saying that he frequently compliments people. He accused an El Pueblo staffer, whom he has declined to name, of organizing the complaints as part of an effort to drive him from the commission.

Crawford said in an interview last week that he has retained an attorney “to protect me,” but declined to elaborate. He said he received a letter earlier this month outlining the results of the investigation of the allegations against him, but hadn’t seen the full report.

He called the complaints “ludicrous” and said that, as a gay man, he is used to censoring himself. He became comfortable only recently with the “realization that I can be me,” Crawford said.

“And now, with this, I have to go back to censoring myself,” he said. “It’s like going back into the closet.”

The 13-page report, obtained by The Times through a public records request, found that Crawford “demonstrated insensitivity to others by making unwanted comments, jokes, teasing, remarks or questions of a sexual nature. … [That behavior] fails to meet the standards expected of a city representative.”

The report includes a complaint that Crawford looked up and down at a female staffer who attended a work-related event with her boyfriend and was “off duty.” When her boyfriend stepped away, Crawford told the woman, “You look good” in a suggestive tone of voice, according to the report.

Another female staffer complained that Crawford began a phone conversation by saying, “Hi, beautiful.”

The report also details a statement from a male staffer who said Crawford called and asked him to email some commission-related information. Crawford gave his hotmail address, then added, “I am the hot male. Do you get it? I’m a hot male.”

Crawford told the Personnel Department investigator that he frequently makes the “hot male” comment so people can remember his email address, according to the report.

Personnel Department spokesman Bruce Whidden said the investigation into Crawford has concluded. “Should additional information related to this come to our attention, we will of course look into it,” Whidden said.

Separately, Whidden said a complaint alleging that Crawford treated a staffer with brusque behavior was filed in March. Whidden said a report on that complaint is expected next month.

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Crawford said the complaint was lodged after he raised his voice at a staffer during a commission hearing. Crawford said he is hearing impaired and that he couldn’t understand what the employee said.

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