Tentative agreement reached in San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s sexual harassment case
A tentative agreement was reached late Wednesday, Aug. 21 following three days of mediation involving attorneys for embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and other city officials, but City Attorney Jan Goldsmith did not provide details.
The City Council, which has not heard the proposal, will review the proposed settlement in its closed session meeting at 1 p.m. Friday, but may report out the actions during an open session meeting immediately after, Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said the tentative agreement would be kept confidential until after Friday’s meeting, and “any rumors you hear about the proposal you may deem to by untrue.”
The mediation took place in a downtown high-rise. The participants included Filner, Goldsmith, City Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
While sessions Monday and Tuesday began in the morning, Wednesday’s meeting didn’t begin until mid-afternoon.
Filner today made his first appearance at the City Administration Building in more than three weeks, prior to the resumption of mediation.
While the mayor’s office declined comment over whether Filner was present at City Hall, his departure to go to the negotiating session was captured by television news crews.
Filner’s last public appearance was a July 26 news conference in which he announced he would enter an inpatient behavioral therapy program. Some witnesses reported seeing him at City Hall four days later.
On Wednesday, a former La Jolla businesswoman became the 18th woman to publicly accuse Filner of sexual harassment.
Dianne York, who owned the now-closed The Spa of La Jolla and now runs DYG Cosmetics, said that during a meeting with Filner three months ago, he put his hands on her buttocks while a photo was being taken and others were present in the room.
“I was shocked,” York said during an Aug. 21 news conference. “It was inappropriate, and I was startled at the time.”
York said she went to Filner to discuss some civic issues and asked for a photo at the end of the meeting. It was the first time they had met, she said.
York said she has filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Department. Otherwise, she refused to discuss details of the incident.
According to the San Diego court records, she has been a defendant in 10 lawsuits filed since 2010. NBC7/39 reported she has twice filed for bankruptcy in the past 13 years.
The first woman to accuse Filner of unwanted advances, groping or, in some instances, forced kissing, was his former communications director, Irene Jackson McCormack. She has sued Filner and the city for unspecified damages.
McCormack Jackson came forward with her allegations in mid-July. She is one of three city employees among Filner’s alleged victims.
Filner has apologized publicly for what he called a failure to respect women and for ”intimidating conduct,” but denied his actions amounted to sexual harassment.
Earlier this month, Filner voluntarily underwent behavioral therapy at an inpatient facility. His lawyer said the mayor was continuing therapy on an outpatient basis.
Filner, who is also mired in investigations over alleged misuse of city- issued credit cards and shakedowns of developers, has rebuffed calls from all nine City Council members, other officeholders and business leaders to resign.
Organizers of an effort to recall Filner continue to circulate petitions around the city. They need to turn in nearly 102,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s Office by Sept. 26 to put the recall bid before voters.
In another development Wednesday, interim Chief Operating Officer Walt Ekard released a video to employees congratulating them for their hard work in the midst of all the turmoil that’s happening here.”
He pointed out that city departments have won awards for good governance.
“There’s a lot of really cool stuff going on around here” that are improving the lives of San Diegans, Ekard said.
Ekard — who retired last year as the county of San Diego’s chief administrative officer — consulted with Filner’s management team earlier this year to help them navigate local government procedures. He signed on to his current position to guide the city while Filner dealt with the accusations against him.
— City News Service
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