By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
PUBLISHED: January 3, 2018 at 6:46 pm | UPDATED: January 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Adelanto City Manager Gabriel Elliott denies allegations by former city employees that he sexually harassed them, saying he believes they are trumped up, designed to embarrass him, and that Mayor Rich Kerr is likely behind it.

Elliott says the actions are the result of his repeated complaints about illegal and unethical practices by Kerr and other councilmembers that are in violation of the city charter, as well as his recent complaint about the alleged conduct to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. He said Kerr’s personal and professional ties to his accusers likely factor into what happened to him.

“It’s really extreme and desperate to have someone state an absolute lie. I mean, it is just unbelievable that there are people who would stoop so low to do that,” Elliott said during an interview at his home Tuesday. “When you start making things up, that is absolutely reprehensible.”

Elliott’s allegations underscore a history of dysfunction in the economically-strapped High Desert city long plagued by corruption, with the most recent example being the indictment of Councilman Jermaine Wright on federal bribery and attempted arson charges. Wright’s trial is scheduled for Aug. 14 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Abraham Labbad, the attorney representing the four former city employees, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the only connection between Kerr and the three women accusing Elliott of sexual harassment is that they all worked for the city of Adelanto. He said he is confident the allegations against Elliott will stick once all the evidence is presented, including text messages and possible surveillance video from locations where the alleged activity was said to have occurred.

“There’s a lot more that’s going to come out soon and will hopefully put an end to this,” Labbad said.

Following a special meeting of the Adelanto City Council on Dec. 20, Elliott said he was placed on administrative leave and told by attorney Ruben Duran, working under contract with the city, to gather his personal belongings and vacate the premises. Two days prior, the city received claims by the four former employees alleging workplace misconduct and harrassment.

Adelanto spokesman Michael Stevens said in an email that Elliott was just taking time off for the holidays, which Elliott denies. As of Wednesday, Elliott had not returned to work.

One of Elliott’s accusers alleges Elliott insisted, to her protest, that she go to his house to see his piano following a State of the City event in Rancho Cucamonga in September. He grabbed her by the arm and led her to his car, according to her claim. During a tour of Elliott’s house, it was learned his son was at home asleep. The woman told Elliott she needed to “get back,” so he took her back to her car, the claim states.

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