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San Diego City Council To Consider Payments For Filner Lawyers, Arevalos Victim

Mayor Bob Filner tells reporters he will enter a behavioral counseling clinic, July 26, 2013.

The San Diego City Council Tuesday morning will consider authorizing payments to former Mayor Bob Filner's lawyers and to a victim of ex-police Officer Anthony Arevalos, who demanded sexual favors of women he pulled over while on the job.

As part of the arrangement that led Filner to leave office Aug. 30, the city agreed to pay up to $98,000 of his legal fees incurred up to that point.

Filner hired San Diego lawyer Harvey Berger after he was accused of sexual harassment in July. Later, when he and the city were sued by his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, he hired attorney James Payne of Irvine.

The McCormack Jackson lawsuit is still pending. She alleges Filner told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and that he could not wait to consummate their relationship.

Filner also allegedly demanded kisses from McCormack Jackson and put his arm around the former reporter and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks.

It's possible others among the 20 or so alleged sexual harassment victims could sue.

The agreement that resulted in Filner's resignation also called for the City Attorney's Office to defend him in civil litigation.

In a criminal case, the ex-mayor pleaded guilty in October to one felony count of false imprisonment by violence and two misdemeanor counts of battery. He was sentenced Monday to three years probation and 90 days home confinement.

A much larger sum — $795,000 — is set to go to a woman identified as "Jane Doe,'' who accused Arevalos of assaulting her in the back of a car while she was being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in February 2010.

Channel 10 News

A screen grab of video of ex-San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos.

Her lawsuit was one of 10 against the city involving the ex-cop, who was sentenced to almost nine years in prison for demanding sexual favors from women he pulled over for DUI violations in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The woman's settlement, approved in September by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo, is the largest of $2.3 million the city has agreed to pay out to victims.

A lawsuit from one Arevalos victim remains unresolved.

The council will also give final approval to a $535,000 settlement to Travelers Insurance. The company paid out a claim to the owners of an architectural firm damaged by a water main break in August 2010 in the 5000 block of Santa Fe Street.

In a fourth settlement, the council will authorize a $310,000 payment to a woman rear-ended by a San Diego police lieutenant who was found to have been traveling at an unsafe speed for the conditions in April 2012. The nature of the victim's injuries were not disclosed.

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Avatar for user 'SDforward'

SDforward | December 10, 2013 at 7:25 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

The city should only cover defense fees for Filner if he is found not guilty. If found guilty, why should taxpayers foot the bill? Hasn't Filner already done enough harm to the city and cost us millions of dollars (in special election costs, lost gov't productivity, etc.)?

It's frustrating how personal accountability is so absent in our society for people with power or money. Look at Wall Street -- executives and employees who exploited people and the economy got away with riches (sure, they may have lost their jobs, but they made loads of $ in the process), while their companies were often left with any penalties. In the end, not only is this unfair, but it creates a system in which people know they will get away with things as long as they are aligned with an organization, even if it doesn't condone their actions.

Ultimately, justice is about holding people accountable, not organizations that are not even linked to the individual anymore.

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Avatar for user 'edwardtlp'

edwardtlp | December 10, 2013 at 10:56 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree with SDforward who says the City should only cover defense fees for Filner if he is found not guilty.

I also note that, in related news, Filner pleaded guilty and has been sentenced...

So the bottom line is: No, the City certainly should NOT cover his defense fees.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | December 10, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

There isn't a byline to this story because it is meant to enthrall trolls. A more intrepid reporter would listen to the City Council's taped discussion where Mr. City Attorney quotes chapter and verse as to why a police officer has to be defended while a mayor doesn't. At that time the McCormack Jackson lawsuit was the only one pending (it still is), so it would certainly be covered by any subsequent agreement(s). Additional women and/or men may yet come forward in either case.

But linking a sentence of nine years in prison with a sentence of 90 days home arrest?

("The agreement that resulted in Filner's resignation also called for the City Attorney's Office to defend him in civil litigation" could be revised -- without changing its meaning -- to: "The agreement that resulted in Mr. City Attorney's defense of the Mayor in civil litigation, also called for the latter's resignation.")

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