The Los Angeles Fire Department has opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct at a city fire station made by the recently hired son of a high-ranking fire official, according to documents and interviews.
The charges come from Nicholas Rose, who alleged he was the victim of a hostile work environment after being assigned in June as a probationary firefighter at Fire Station 26 on Western Avenue, north of the 10 Freeway.
Rose was hired earlier this year as part of a controversial recruitment process, later halted by Mayor Eric Garcetti amid allegations of nepotism and mismanagement. Rose's father, LAFD Battalion Chief Corey Rose, was reassigned from a position he held overseeing the process.
The allegations present an early challenge for newly appointed Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas, who inherits a department with a long history of charges and countercharges of discrimination, hazing and retaliation at city firehouses. Payouts in related lawsuits have cost taxpayers nearly $20 million over the last decade.
Two veteran fire captains responsible for supervising the recruit, Freddy Escobar and Joseph Lopez, say they were reassigned several weeks ago and told they are the targets of an investigation. In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, they denied wrongdoing. They both allege that they are being retaliated against for giving an underperforming rookie negative performance reviews that jeopardized his chances of earning a coveted full-time firefighting job.
"This is nepotism at its best," said Escobar, a leader in the powerful union that represents rank-and-file city firefighters. "He was performing below standards. This is not a hostile environment."
Peter Sanders, a spokesman for the LAFD, said it was department policy not to comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation.
Nicholas Rose and Corey Rose did not respond to requests for comment.
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