Shockwaves reverberated throughout Washington DC and across the nation, when it was leaked by a source within the White House that Phillip Washington was withdrawing his nomination to become head of the FAA.
Last July, President Biden chose Washington to head the Federal Aviation Administration, all the while knowing he did not possess the knowledge or experience in aviation, had been involved in and/or the subject of multiple federal investigations and was currently under criminal investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The story begins in 2017, sexual harassment allegations against Alex Wiggans, Chief of Systems Security and Law Enforcement were brought by LA Metro employee Sandra Solis, a nepotism hire by Washington. During the investigation into the sexual harassment by Wiggans, investigators asked Jennifer Loew, then Special Projects Manager, about Solis and nepotism at LA Metro.
Sandra Solis, LA Metro employee.Photo byThe Current Report
Loew provided investigators with the names of Jon Gordon, Harold Martin, Patricia Martin and Ashely Martin, all nepotism hires who received direct appointments by Washington along with special compensation (at the objection of metro’s HR) in amounts that could lead to indictments of Washington for Grand Theft.
Unbeknownst to Loew, her testimony related to Washington’s nepotism hiring were not kept confidential and OIG Karen Gorman provided Washington with the details of Loew’s testimony.
Subsequent to receiving Loew’s testimony, Washington met with nepotism-hire Gordon and manufactured allegations of misconduct against Loew. Following that meeting, Washington took decisive action to protect his acts of nepotism and launched an HR investigation of Loew. Additionally, Washington took further adverse actions removing Loew’s staff without any evidence of misconduct and placing her office on the first floor parking garage.
In retrospect, the meeting Washington took with Gordon led to a four years of on-going retaliation against Loew. The irony is that Washington, chose the one employee at LA Metro whose husband ran a public corruption firm and had the resources and contacts to expose Washington's misconduct. One of the most interesting aspects of this case is that Jennifer Loew represented herself for most of the case with the help of her husband.
As a result of the well-documented harassment, Loew sued L.A. Metro and was awarded $620,000 in restitution, after facing off against Sheppard Mullin, an International Law Firm at which former DA Robert Philibosian is a partner. “It was a losing battle from the start for the Phil Washington, LA Metro, and the LA Metro Board in the courtroom. The court ruled 100% of the time in Jennifer's favor after Sheppard Mullin unleashed a barrage of Law And Motion filings" said Adam Loew. “ I believe the problem was that the mainstream media are so intrenched and dependent on the access to the Sheila Kuehl and the rest of the Metro Board, that they were unwilling to jeopardize those relationships to report the truth about corruption in Los Angeles" he continued.
As a result of the well-documented harassment, Loew sued L.A. Metro and was awarded $620,000 in restitution.
The Power of the Pursuit
I was contacted by Jennifer Loew's husband Adam Loew, the CEO of the highly reputable A-Team Advocacy Group, a Political Strategy, Advocacy and Political Corruption firm, in September of 2020, after he was sent a link to a story I wrote about corruption between the District Attorney's office and Malibu City Council.
Loew presented me with multiple stories of fraud, waste and abuse, discrimination, sexual misconduct, public corruption, negligence and more.
Loew explained to me that he relentlessly pursued press and other than the Pay-to-Play contract with Peace Over Violence story released by Bill Melugin (when we was still at FOX LA), none of the mainstream media he approached was willing to take on the important stories detailing the public corruption and other alleged criminal activity at L.A.Metro. In fact, one journalist was threatened by Kuehl if he continued to pursue the alleged illegal conduct at L.A. Metro - especially involving Kuehl or her close friends and colleagues.
One story regarding Jennifer Loew's harassment by Washington made Spectrum News, but the more important stories involving nepotism, fraud, waste and abuse, discrimination, neglect etc. was turned down, disregarded or blatantly misreported by local news outlets. Mainstream national media couldn't be bothered on any level, at any time, over the three years of covering this story until *after* the warrants were served on September 14th, 2022 (more on that later).
At that time Loew first approached me, the most urgent story that needed to be published was exposing the counterfeit masks at LA Metro as we were only a few months into the COVID lockdown. Washington made a conscious decision to distribute the counterfeit masks completely disregarding personnel and public safety. And not one mainstream media outlet wanted to pick up the story.
Within 48 hours of publishing, not one, but two, federal investigations were opened with the help of a local journalist (who I prefer not name for obvious reasons as they are employed by a major news organization), who forwarded my article to one of his contacts at the FDA. The agent contacted me and introduced me to his colleague at Homeland Security.
Just 6 weeks later, after the 2020 Presidential election, we learned that, knowingly or unknowingly, then President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris chosen embattled LA Metro CEO Phillip Washington to lead the new administration’s transition team for Transportation. A rather controversial choice as Washington was involved in multiple federal, state, local and internal L.A. Metro investigations involving allegations of criminal conduct at the time pursued diligently by Adam Loew, who was bounced back and forth multiple times between the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, until he finally got through to an investigator at the LASD that was willing to take a serious look at the case(s).
At the time of Washington's appointment as the head of the Biden-Harris Transportation Transition Team and concerned Washington would be appointed Transportation Secretary under the new administration, Adam Loew spoke with the lead investigator at the LASD Public Corruption Unit working on the case, who in turn who spoke with the FBI.
Thankfully, given Washington's legal entanglements, pursued by Loew, he was unable to pass the vetting process to become transportation secretary which has a more thorough vetting process given the close proximity the position has to the President.
That was the first win.
On February 19, 2021, after a two-year investigation, the Los County Sheriff’s Department, served criminal warrants to LA Metro, the LA Metro Office of Inspector General and Peace Over Violence over allegations of Fraud, Waste and Abuse, Public Corruption and Pay to Play between Peace Over Violence CEO Patti Giggans, LA Metro CEO Phillip Washington, Washington’s Chief of Staff Nadine Lee, former New Orleans RTA CEO Alex Wiggins and LA Metro Executive Officer Aston Greene III.
That was the second, hard-fought, win. However, given the craftiness of L.A. Metro, Kuehl and Giggans, the warrants stayed in court for close to a year.
The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword
I continued to work with exclusively with Loew on multiple stories , indexing more content on the internet showcasing Washington's alleged criminal conduct while we were waiting for the warrants to finally be free of the court process and executed.
On July 18th, I received an email from an investigator at the American Accountability Foundation, a watchdog organization who works closely with officials on Capitol Hill requesting my help providing additional documents related to my articles.
The investigator told me in a follow-up phone conversation that as soon as Washington's nomination was announced, he started his research on Washington and told me that I was the only reporter documenting Washington's on-going criminal conduct and asked me for my help.
From there, I provided him with all the documents and evidence I had accumulated and connected him with Adam Loew to provide any additional information he needed. Simultaneously, Loew was contacting members of Congress and the Senate to make them aware of Washington's criminal investigations and forwarded them links to my articles.
During this time, Adam Loew also forwarded me a glowing article about Washington's nomination published by the Washington Post. I was floored given the conversation I had recently had with the investigator at the American Accountability Foundation, who found all of my articles exposing Washington's alleged illegal activities, with ease, as there wasn't much being published about Washington (pre-executed warrants).
It was obvious the reporter a.) did not do any research about Washington's past and b.) was assigned to do nothing more than a fluff piece. Loew then contacted the reporter to set her straight on Washington's activities. She did not update her article.
I cannot stress enough, that not one major news organization inquired with the whistleblowers or myself or reported on the criminal activity involving the Biden nominee to head the FAA. NOT ONE - until *after* the warrants were executed.
The Downward Spiral
On September 13th, 2022, I received word the warrants were going to be executed the next morning. I was told to arrive at L.A. Metro Headquarters shortly before dawn.
A few minutes after 7:00 a.m., deputies arrived at LA Metro to seize documents and evidence related to the criminal investigation, specifically the Pay-to-Play no-bid contracts involving Peace Over Violence and then-Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
By now, Phil Washington's nomination to become head of the FAA had become a national story, yet, while local news stations and publications were posted outside the homes of Kuehl and Patti Giggans, the CEO of Peace Over Violence, I was the only reporter outside of L.A. Metro capturing footage of the warrants being executed that named Washington.
My footage and my tweets were used by multiple news organizations around the country and then, and only then, did the media start acknowledging Washington's potential criminal involvement.
The criminal warrants naming Washington lead to a statement released by Senator Robert Wicker, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, whose office was familiar with and watching my reporting. A member of his staff tracked me down to notify me a statement was being released:
“When Mr. Washington was nominated in July, I expressed my skepticism surrounding his lack of experience in aviation. Now I am deeply troubled to learn the nominee was named in a search warrant that ties him to allegations of corruption at LA Metro,” Wicker said. “The committee’s vetting process will require additional scrutiny and review into his leadership at LA Metro. I anticipate that this nominee’s credibility will also be a key focus of the committee.”
National news couldn't avoid the elephant in the room any longer and stories started to trickle out into mainstream media, however, they still lacked the in-depth reporting needed to truly tell the story of years of alleged misconduct and illegal activities Washington was involved in.
A week later, Loew held a press conference detailing more corruption, fraud, abuse and waste regarding multiple LA politicians and this time the press showed up, but no follow-through. Nothing.
I continued to work with Loew on stories about Washington that were needed to be released added to the catalogue of work we had created to support the criminal case (now in the hands of the Attorney General) and document Washington's incompetence and negligence in hopes of impacting his nomination.
Simultaneously, Loew was being interviewed by members of the Senate on Commerce, Science and Transportation. His first meeting Senator Cantwell's staff did not go over so well as her staff was completely unconcerned about Washington's criminal investigation or his well-documented negligent and egregious acts.
While Cantwell was pushing for a January confirmation hearing for Washington, Senator Wicker, who was the ranking member on the Senate to confirm Washington, had switched roles. Senator Ted Cruz was now the Ranking Member and his office reached out to Adam Loew at the end of January.
I was included in the emails.
The due diligence by Senator Wicker's team and Ted Cruz's teams working behind the scenes with the Adam Loew to further expose Washington's involvement in multiple criminal investigations and virtually no knowledge of aviation safety (the last year at Denver International Airport his only experience in the aviation) and confirming the status of the criminal investigation with the California Attorney General's office, was critical.
Cruz's well publicized grilling of Washington, due to the effective research and outreach by his staff, was essentially key to turning the opinions around of the Senate, which included Democrats.
Ted Cruz went on the record to inform President Biden that the "votes were not there" to push Washington nomination through and the President needs to look for another nominee.
Finally, Washington was forced to withdraw his nomination, confirmed via Senator Cantwell and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sore-loser-style.
The "Republican attacks" narrative the sore-loser-brigade is selling on mainstream media is far from the reality of what took the Biden nominee down.
This was a three-year, roll-your-up-your-sleeves and never-give-up grass roots effort by those of us dedicated to the pursuit of truth and justice, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department under former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose Public Corruption team worked diligently on the case and secured the warrants critical to Washington's downfall, along with the on-going, thorough investigative reporting, follow-up and personal outreach to Washington DC leaders.
That my friends, is the anatomy of the Phil Washington takedown.