Los Angeles City Councilmen Curren Price, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Marqueece Harris-Dawson alleged in a letter obtained Monday that a land use attorney and registered lobbyist has subjected women of color working in council offices to abusive and unprofessional behavior.
But the attorney, Jerold Neuman, told City News Service he reached out to the council members after learning about the letter, and he insisted his work at City Hall has been professional and above-board.
“The work that I have done with council members Harris-Dawson and Price and their hardworking staffs has always been positive and productive,” Neuman said. “I have also looked forward to working with council member Ridley-Thomas and his team since he re-joined the City Council last year.
“I am, of course, concerned and upset by the council members’ letter to the City Attorney’s Office and have reached out to all of the council members,” he said. “I am eager to engage in dialogue that will help me better understand the issues they have raised.”
The councilmen wrote in their Friday letter to the City Attorney’s Office that they will not “subject our staff to any further interactions” with Neuman — who is a partner at DLA Piper Global Law Firm– until he improves his decorum and treats women with respect.
The councilmen noted in their letter that “professionalism is an expectation and an integral part of the daily functioning and social interactions with our colleagues in the public arena and with constituents,” but added, “this expectation is lost on Jerold Neuman.”
“Mr. Neuman’s speech is described as domineering and aggressive. His pattern is to bait with stereotypical assumptions and antagonize, and when that doesn’t create a response, his tone becomes condescending and demeaning,” the councilmen contend in the letter. “In interactions with staff, his style of speech lands squarely on abusive and happens most often to women of color. We cannot continue to abide by this conduct.”
The City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the letter. More information about the capacity in which Neuman worked with the council offices was not immediately available.
According to DLA Piper’s website, Neuman represents people and companies that seek to obtain local government licenses, permits, rights or contracts. It notes that he has obtained government approvals for “many of the largest development projects in the state of California.”