County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s home was searched by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, furthering an investigation that she claims is politically motivated.
Around 7 a.m., department detectives raided Kuehl’s Santa Monica house, and it appeared that local media were present, as were news helicopters. As shown on the news, detectives took the county official’s phone and conducted a room-by-room search.
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Who Is Sheila James?
Born on February 9, 1941, Sheila James Kuehl is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing the 3rd District and the board’s current chair pro tem. Kuehl served in the California State Senate and the California State Assembly, where she was the first female speaker pro tem. She was also the first openly gay state politician in the United States.
Sheila Ann Kuehl is Kuehl’s given name; she was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Arthur, her father, worked on airplanes for Douglas Aircraft. Her mother, Lillian, was Jewish, while her dad was a devout Catholic. Kuehl used the name Sheila James when she was a kid star.
Kuehl (billed as Sheila James), then eight years old, co-starred on the family radio show The Penny Williamson Show with seasoned performers including Penny Singleton, Gale Gordon, Bea Benaderet, and Jim Backus on broadcast from Studio B at the NBC studios in Hollywood.
The Cisco Kid, a famous drama, and The Bob Hope Show, with Doris Day, were filmed in adjacent studios and aired simultaneously (whom Kuehl admired). Kuehl would later say that her time spent interacting with the other NBC radio talent helped shape her sense of professionalism and sense of humor.
Kuehl Has Denied that She Was Aware
Kuehl has denied that she was aware of the transaction because its value was below the level at which the Board of Supervisors was required to provide its consent. On Wednesday, she told reporters that the search was part of a “bogus, non-investigation” and that the warrant was granted by a judge who is buddies with the sheriff. The judge who signed off on the warrant, Craig Richman, has known Mark Lillienfeld, the department’s top anti-corruption investigator, for decades.
County authorities have criticized that squad for going after Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s opponents like Kuehl, Goggans, and LA County Inspector General Max Huntsman. Goggans is a part of the Civilian Oversight Commission for the Sheriff’s Department in Los Angeles County. In Los Angeles County, District Attorney George Gascón turned down a request to organize a combined public corruption task force with the department, citing concerns that the sheriff might utilize the task force to investigate his political opponents.
The Sheriff and Kuehl and Other Board Members
Villanueva has consistently denied any connection to the Kuehl inquiry, claiming instead that he has been recused from all operations involving the unit. On Wednesday, though, Kuehl linked him to the search by claiming that a competent sheriff would not “let a bogus search of anybody’s home, much less a supervisor’s based on nothing.”
The sheriff and Kuehl and other board members have frequent disagreements because they believe the sheriff is obstructing their ability to monitor his department. Since November, when the five-member body that controls a $38 billion budget put an amendment on the ballot that would give it the right to remove a sheriff from office for wrongdoing, tensions have only risen more. Former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, who is challenging Villanueva for reelection, is campaigning on a platform of eradicating corruption in the sheriff’s office.
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