An employee of the city of Lynwood has filed a complaint against Mayor Pro Tem Edwin Hernandez, alleging that he made unwelcome sexual advances toward her from February 2016 to December 2017.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, alleges that Hernandez made repeated advances in those 22 months, some of which have been detailed in a letter of demand from her attorney, Lisa Bloom of the Bloom Law Firm, to the city of Lynwood. The demand is a precursor to a lawsuit.
His actions “intimidated and publicly mortified her,” the letter said. The woman also worried that she would be fired for filing the complaint, according to the letter.
Hernandez has been on the City Council since 2013. Before that he was elected city treasurer in 2011.
L.A. Weekly reached out several times to Hernandez and other city officials for comment but received no reply.
The woman filed a grievance with the city on Jan. 16 and 17, the letter said.
“Normally, people speak out when they are no longer working there, so this is very brave,” Bloom told L.A. Weekly.
A number of exchanges, including one from a budget meeting in council chambers, are laid out in the Feb. 9 letter, which L.A. Weekly obtained.
“Mayor Pro Tem Edwin Hernandez texted (the employee], ‘You look so good in that blue shirt. Hmmm.’ (The employee) was so shocked by the mayor pro tem’s sexually inappropriate comment that she left the meeting early so as to avoid further interaction with him,” according to the letter.
On other occasions, the letter said, Hernandez asked the woman to step out of her office and said, “'I want to kiss your pink lips.’' At other times, Hernandez insisted on taking the woman out for late-night dinners, according to the letter.
Bloom wrote that the woman “always politely declined such advances from Mayor Pro Tem Hernandez as she was not only married but also not remotely interested in engaging in a romantic relationship with him.”
The letter also states that Hernandez made insensitive remarks at a city Christmas party, while the woman was six months pregnant, Hernandez asked her if the baby was his while her husband was standing nearby, the letter states.
Hernandez’s actions violate not only the city of Lynwood’s sexual harassment policy but also California law, Bloom said.
It is unclear if the city has conducted a formal investigation into the complaints. But Bloom was critical of what she called the city’s “inadequate” investigation and is asking for further action, including a vote to remove Hernandez from office.