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Investment firm TCW, top executive deny sexual harassment allegations by former fund manager

Traders work at TCW in downtown Los Angeles.
(Katie Falkenberg / For The Times)

Los Angeles-based investment firm TCW and one of its top executives have denied allegations of sexual harassment and coercion made in a recent lawsuit filed by a former fund manager.

Last month, Sara Tirschwell sued TCW and managing director Jess Ravich, accusing Ravich of using his position to coerce her into sex during a series of “breakfast meetings” in New York.

When she started to refuse, according to her suit, he sabotaged her business plans and pushed her out of the firm late last year. She’s suing for damages of $30 million.

In court documents filed Tuesday in a New York state court, Ravich said there was no sexual relationship between himself and Tirschwell during her time as a consultant to, and later an employee of, TCW. Both parties acknowledge they dated several years ago.

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Ravich also denied the allegation that he wore only a bathrobe during the meetings with Tirschwell at his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan — or that the meetings even took place.

Instead, he alleges that despite his help, Tirschwell failed to find enough investors to launch a new TCW fund and, once she discovered she would be let go, “concocted a story that is false and, as to Ravich, defamatory.”

TCW, one of L.A.’s largest investment firms, manages more than $200 billion in assets, largely for institutions.

In a separate legal filing, TCW said Tirschwell failed to raise $100 million for her fund and was fired for cause related to repeated violations of the company’s compliance policies.

The firm did not detail those alleged violations, but said Tirschwell went through more than one training session related to compliance policies and was warned that continued violations could lead to her termination.

In a statement Wednesday, a strategic communications firm representing Tirschwell said TCW and Ravich’s responses amount to a “smear campaign” intended to silence her.

“This is certainly not the first time that men in bathrobes have issued such initial denials,” the statement said. “The TCW defendants’ allegations speak to why women in this industry are afraid to come forward.”

james.koren@latimes.com

Follow me: @jrkoren


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