Mayor Sepi Shyne accused of political retaliation, abuse of power by former chair of WeHo Chamber

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Former chairman of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Keith Kaplan accused Mayor Sepi Shyne of trying to have him removed from the organization’s Board of Directors in retaliation for a letter to the editor he submitted to WEHOville in December. Kaplan phoned in to City Council’s meeting Monday night during the public comment period to discuss the incident, later calling for her removal from office.

When Genevieve Morrill, President and CEO of the West Hollywood Chamber rebuked Shyne, telling the Council member that Kaplan is a resident and property owner in West Hollywood and was speaking on his own. Shyne continued to press for Kaplan’s removal from the Board of Directors at one point exclaiming to Morrill, ‘do you know how much power I have’. Kaplan has kept the conversation private since December but decided to speak out after the latest revelation of Shyne’s retaliation against Keely Field for also sharing her story in WEHOville.

Morrill later spoke during public comment on agenda item pre-facing her comments that ‘she has been trying to work Shyne’ and was disappointed that Kaplan decided to speak out.

“I want staff and the public to know that while the Chamber has had many challenges in the past couple years, Mayor Shyne, as well as Mayor Pro Tem Erickson, have been working to mend our relationships for the betterment of the community. And we hope to work together on important (issues) facing the business community. And I want that on the public record. Thank you.”

A formal complaint of violation of Kaplan’s rights is in the process of being filed with the City Attorney.

Kaplan’s allegations come on the heels of reports that some residents have begun gathering signatures in order to initiate a recall effort against Shyne, who began a campaign for Congress only weeks after taking office as mayor.

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Kaplan’s complete comments are reprinted below:

“On Dec. 26, 2022, after you all received my letter about Sepi Shyne’s disrespectful comments to Myra Friedman, a letter that was then published in WEHOville, Genevieve Morrill’s phone rang at home. When she picked up the receiver, per Gen, Sepi Shyne was shouting on the other end asking if she had seen the letter I had written and less-than-mildly suggesting that I must be removed from the Chamber Board of Directors. Gen tried to calmly explain that as a property owner and taxpayer in West Hollywood, I was indeed entitled to my own opinion and was further entitled to voice that opinion in whatever way I felt appropriate…and that opinion was not necessarily representative of the Chamber. Ms. Shyne persisted in pushing for my removal and with no softening on Gen’s part she asked if Gen understood the kind of power she (Ms. Shyne) had, implying that she had the power to do what? This was not the first time Ms. Shyne had a conversation like this about me with one of the leaders in our city.

Given Ms. Shyne’s track record, Gen has every reason to be concerned about acts of retaliation from Ms. Shyne. But I believe there is no better course than to make you, the City Council, the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the voters of West Hollywood fully aware of Ms. Shyne’s pattern of retaliatory behavior now. Putting you all on notice is absolutely what needs to be done to prevent any more of these incidences. And I have confidence that your integrity, your understanding of the law, and your respect for our city and the constituency you represent will lead you to do the right thing here.

The First Amendment prohibits government officials from retaliating against persons for exercising First Amendment freedoms. Legislators, public employees, and other public servants can face severe consequences for violating this public trust, from censure to removal from public office, to prison time and fines. I have confirmed this with my attorneys. Ms. Shyne has violated my First Amendment rights. She has clearly threatened retaliation. She has broken the law. She is in violation of sections 1.5, 5.2, and 6.1 of your own Code of Conduct. And we have seen her do this repeatedly from this very council dais. Alann Strasberg has even filed a formal complaint on a similar matter with no resolution.

It is time for Ms. Shyne to be removed from office.”

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[…] including Mikie Friedman, who was forced to resign from the Disability Advisory Board, and Keith Kaplan, a former Chair of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Kaplan filed a grievance with the Los […]

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[…] including Mikie Friedman, who was forced to resign from the Disability Advisory Board, and Keith Kaplan, a former Chair of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Kaplan filed a grievance with the Los […]

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
11 months ago

Sepi Shyne is not a good person. Period. She seems to be EVIL. NOT a great quality for anyone, but especially a “politician”. She needs to go! Ideally back to Tehran.  

Londa
Londa
11 months ago

I’ll sign it. Where is the petition?

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
11 months ago

Sepi Shyne is toxic. Septic! she needs to be relieved from her position on Council and run out of town forever. We do not need people of her ilk in WeHo. CONGRESS!!!!! now THAT is a joke!!! She is as bad as that creep from NY.

santos drag.jpg
Outraged
Outraged
11 months ago
Reply to  JR Birdsong
Jake Lee
Jake Lee
11 months ago

She’s using Iranian style totalitarian tactics of retaliation while hiding under the guise of “liberal tolerance”….a total fraud.

More Confusion
More Confusion
11 months ago
Reply to  Jake Lee

She apparently has retracted the statement that she is not a “person of color”. Does anyone have any intel or when and where Shyne did this?

voter
voter
11 months ago

West Hollywood can deal with this crude and monstrous woman for another 10 months as mayor. It’s sickening to think she aspires to higher office.

Outraged
Outraged
11 months ago
Reply to  voter

That can be stopped. Email [email protected]

Intolerable Behavior
Intolerable Behavior
11 months ago

It appears that Sepi Shyne not only uses her City Council position to retaliate against those she wrongly perceives as a threat to her “causes” or her very presence, she apparently diligently utilizes the City Staff as personal serfs much in the manner the council members legitimately had assistance from deputies. This insidious behavior is intolerable.

Karma
Karma
11 months ago

Didn’t Keith try to get Genevieve fired a few years ago? Not that what SS is doing is okay…

Keith Kaplan
Keith Kaplan
11 months ago
Reply to  Karma

Karma, I don’t know who you are and where you get your information but you are absolutely misinformed here. During my tenure as Chairman of the Chamber allegations of employment discrimination were made by one of our staff and I followed the course of action prescribed by our HR team and our attorneys. Employment law is a very serious matter here in CA. Six years later Gen is still at the helm, and deservedly so. I have never wavered in my support of and advocacy for Genevieve Morrill. Her commitment and dedication to our business community is unparalleled. Driven by… Read more »

Rodrigo
Rodrigo
11 months ago

Lemme guess, she’ll say he’s a misogynist, racist or both.

Woke Up
Woke Up
11 months ago
Reply to  Rodrigo

Ms Shyne is the number one man hater or Mysongist in Boys Town!!!

Outraged
Outraged
11 months ago
Reply to  Rodrigo

Yep! It’s not misogynistic to criticize her and hold her accountable. It’s a civic duty. She is a misandrist self-serving egomaniac. Email [email protected]

Ham
Ham
11 months ago

They both have a strange look about them.

Michael G Labarbera
Michael G Labarbera
11 months ago

Whoever is working on that petition needs to make it readily available to the citizens. Isn’t there a process to create a link from WeHo Ville?

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
11 months ago

that’s a good question Michael and I’m sorry I don’t know how to do that. But here is the link…
https://chng.it/5cFr24NFr2

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
11 months ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

Oops! you were talking about the recall petition, not the scooter petition! lol! my mistake! (but if you haven’t signed the Ban Scooter petition, I’d love it if you would consider it)

Outraged
Outraged
11 months ago
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