By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Less than a day after news broke that the secretive general manager of L.A.’s Department of Building and Safety was under investigation for an alleged rape, someone quietly removed his official city portrait from the lobby of his 10th-floor executive suite at the department’s headquarters on Figueroa Street downtown.
The photo of Andrew Adelman, smirking into the camera, may as well have been yanked down years ago, if you ask angry residents who’ve repeatedly charged that Adelman has been essentially absent as a public servant, ignoring piles of complaints, as L.A. has become mired in overdevelopment and unchecked installations of giant illegal billboards.
Now, Adelman faces a whole new kind of trouble, as detectives from the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division Special Assault Section have been building a case stemming from an alleged July 10 attack on a woman who, according to a lurid court document, says she passed out, then woke up midrape next to a nude, aroused Adelman wielding a trio of invasive sex toys. If prosecutors believe there’s enough evidence, Adelman could face a laundry list of felonies, including kidnapping and a variety of rape counts, some carrying a possible life sentence.
Information about sensitive investigations like this, let alone a case naming a top city official as the suspect, is usually closely guarded by investigators and their supervisors at Robbery-Homicide Division.
While Adelman was not arrested or charged with a crime last week and still had not been arrested as of press time this week, the shocking allegations came to light because they were left in an unsealed file in a clerk’s office at the Criminal Courts Building on Temple Street, available for any bored reporter to discover.
That’s exactly what happened.
Several pages from a search warrant in the case were first posted on the news Web site TheEnterpriseReport.com (a site to which I occasionally contribute photos and video), run by freelance network-news producer Eric Longabardi, who chose to redact the names on his Web site until police were ready to go public.
Adelman was identified in broadcast reports, and within minutes, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had sent Adelman instructions not to report to work.
“It has recently come to my attention that you are the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. You are being placed on administrative leave effective immediately,” a letter from the Mayor’s Office said.
Villaraigosa was personally briefed by LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck on August 7, after the Mayor’s Office had been alerted.
According to the search-warrant affidavit written by LAPD Detective Javier Vargas, the detective began investigating on July 14, three days after the woman reported the alleged incident to authorities. The case is being handled by the elite Robbery-Homicide Division downtown.
Vargas sought to obtain video surveillance footage from security cameras at Adelman’s building on Wilshire Boulevard, plus computer records showing when Adelman’s key card was used. Both could be critical evidence that either strengthens the victim’s account or bolsters the probable denials by Adelman’s celebrity attorney, Mark Geragos, that drugging, rape or kidnapping were involved.
The accuser says she met friends for a “pub crawl” around 6:30 p.m. on July 10 at Kendall’s, an upscale bar and restaurant adjacent to the Music Center on Grand Avenue. Their plan, she says, was to have a few drinks and walk to other bars or restaurants.
She drank two Jack Daniel’s–and-Coke cocktails, the affidavit says, then outside met her friends, who’d brought along “Andrew” and three other men. She told police she knew of Adelman from news reports, and from her own professional career, but had never met him. Detective Vargas said the woman later identified Adelman from his driver’s-license photo, an unflattering double-chin mug shot stapled to the search warrant.
She drank a third Jack-and-Coke before the entire group walked to the Noe Restaurant at California Plaza around 7:45 p.m. She told police she stood in the popular outdoor plaza with others watching a concert by Tunisian “fusion-rock and hip-hop” artist MC Rai. Andrew joined her, and they each had a beer and spent 30 to 45 minutes watching. Then, she remembers nothing.
By the accuser’s timeline, everything went blank at about 9 p.m. She says she awoke to the horrific violation of her body by Adelman, lying next to her in bed in a strange apartment. “It was predawn, and light was starting to come through the windows,” Detective Vargas writes in the affidavit, and a hardcore porno movie was playing on a big-screen TV.
In details so disturbing they couldn’t be broadcast in radio and TV reports, the woman told police she felt robotic and had trouble controlling her motor skills. “[The victim] felt a hard object in her anus she believed to be a dildo or vibrator. There was also a vibrator in her vagina,” the report stated. “Andrew was naked beside her and was putting a large rubbery flesh-colored dildo into her mouth ... he was also inserting a second smaller vibrator into her vagina,” the affidavit says.