Government Law

San Diego sues its mayor for costs of legal defense against sexual-harassment suit

The San Diego City Council doesn’t want taxpayers footing the bill for a lawsuit claiming that Mayor Bob Filner tried to kiss a staffer and put her in a headlock.

The city council voted Tuesday to deny funds for Filner’s legal defense and to sue him for defense costs and any damages incurred by San Diego, which is also named as a defendant in the staffer’s sexual-harassment suit. The Associated Press, USA Today and U-T San Diego have stories.

The July 22 suit filed by the mayor’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, alleges Filner asked her to work without panties, demanded kisses, said he wanted to see her naked, and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear. Since the suit was filed, seven other women have said they were also subjected to unwanted advances from Filner. At a press conference, Jackson said Filner viewed women as “as sexual objects or stupid idiots,” Reuters reported.

The city will file a cross complaint against Filner in the harassment suit that seeks indemnification for damages and legal costs stemming from the suit. “This is part of due process,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “If Bob Filner engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees.”

Filner, a Democrat, is facing calls to resign from his own party as well as two recall efforts. The 70-year-old mayor and former 10-term congressman plans to enter “intensive therapy” beginning on Aug. 5. He previously said he did not believe the claims are valid.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.