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Filner’s Lawyer Asking For City To Pay Lawsuit Fees

Mayor Bob Filner’s lawyer, Harvey Berger, is asking the taxpayers of San Diego to foot the bill for the sexual harassment suit filed against his client.

Aired 7/30/13 on KPBS News.

The City Council will take up the mayor's request to pick up the tab of his sexual harassment suit.

Special Feature Read the Backstory

All of the accusations, statements and apologies from the key players in the developing story about allegations of sexual harassment in Mayor Bob Filner's office and calls from former mayoral supporters for his resignation.

The mayor’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, filed suit last week, coming forward in a much-publicized press conference. McCormack Jackson detailed an alleged pattern of sexual harassment by the mayor that began when she started working for him in January. She said he repeatedly told her he loved her, asked to consummate the relationship and told her she would do a better job if she wasn’t wearing “panties.”

Gloria Allred, McCormack Jackson's attorney, is known for representing women against powerful men like Tiger Woods and Roman Polanski.

In a statement, the president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, Felipe Monroig opposed Berger's request.

"Mayor Filner's admitted behavior has already created enough liability for taxpayers. Asking them to also pay his legal bills is beyond absurd," he said in an email. "Sadly for San Diego, this is the latest in a string of embarrassingly bad decisions by the Mayor at the expense of taxpayers."

Monroig has been a longtime critic of the mayor.

Since McCormack Jackson filed her lawsuit, six other women have come forward in exclusive interviews with KPBS. These women, spanning a cross section of positions and ages, all told KPBS that Filner inappropriately touched them, tried to kiss them against their wishes and verbally harassed them. In some cases, these incidents dated back to when the mayor was a U.S. congressman.

KPBS also obtained a legal declaration from Christopher J. Baker, an intern in the mayor’s communication office, who said the mayor treated women disrespectfully. In the declaration, he also detailed times when the mayor disappeared with a women down a dark hallway.

In a memo from council president Todd Gloria to the other members of the city council, Gloria convened a special closed session meeting for Tuesday, July 30, to deal with the mayor’s request to cover his legal fees.

Berger, Filner’s attorney, is asking for the city to shoulder the tab under two sections in California code, sections 825 and 99.

The special session will be held on Tuesday evening. Gloria also scheduled public comments on the topic at 5:30 p.m.

Comments can also be submitted online. Some users have already posted their opinions on the KPBS Facebook page.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 30, 2013 at 7:22 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

is he one of the few that did not amass a fortune while in congress?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 30, 2013 at 9:03 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Nope, that's where I draw the line on Filner.

@Mikey, not quite as big as Issa.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | July 30, 2013 at 11:24 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

If we pay the lawyers, will we have to pay when he loses the civil suits that will be coming too?? What a joke. Go away Bobby, you clown.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | July 30, 2013 at 11:36 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

City money for personal stupidity. Surely, they jest. Are we paying for the 2 week vacation in rehab too? What a waste of money.

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Avatar for user 'dvhoran'

dvhoran | July 30, 2013 at 11:53 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

If he resigned to spare the city the spectacle of a sitting mayor describing in intimate detail all of the stupid things that he's (allegedly) done, I'd be ok with the city paying his legal defense fees.

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Avatar for user 'David Lucero'

David Lucero | July 30, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

I understand from a statement issued by Jan Goldsmith, seeing how the sexual harassment behavior is not in line with the role of mayor, the city is not obligated to pay for any monetary settlements. In fact, if there are, the city may sue Filner for repayment. I'd hate to see us pay for his treatment and lawyer fees.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 30, 2013 at 12:50 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Didn't Ms. Allred file suit against the mayor as well as the city?

The city will need to pay for the legal fees to defend it as a whole, I hope inept Goldsmith isn't suggesting he will refuse to defend the city.

As far as any lawsuit directed at Filner personally, tax payers absolutely should not have to pay for that.

If Filner wins the lawsuit, he can sue the person that brought it against him for legal recovery.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | July 30, 2013 at 12:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Do the crime, pay your own fine and fees.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 30, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Filner is a millionaire according to Open Secrets so he should be able to pay for his own legal defense team.

But I'm guessing he will end up bankrupt and possibly with a lengthy prison sentence when all is said and done. Perhaps he'll then find a cozy bachelor's apartment in the dilapidated projects of his hometown Pittsburgh. Back home where he belongs.

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Avatar for user 'strata66'

strata66 | July 30, 2013 at 3 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

This was caused by the stress of being Mayor of San Diego, of course his bills should be paid by the city. Just like if your husband or wife got into trouble, the family pays to defend. San Diego is Bob's family. Not to mention state law requires it be paid for by the city.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 30, 2013 at 3:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

CADefender, I am disappointed and disturbed by the allegations against Filner, but lengthy prison sentence?

For what?

This seems more like a civil matter type thing unless he actually raped someone which is certainly not something anyone has accused him of.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 30, 2013 at 3:44 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago


Sorry, I was referring to the FBI investigation into corruption and bribe taking. That, I imagine, would carry a prison sentence similar to Duke Cunningham.

As for the sexual harassment cases, you're probably right with it being a civil matter. Does anyone know where the line is drawn from civil to criminal in these cases? Is it just rape or are there other offenses that could carry a prison sentence?

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Avatar for user 'MalcolmSanDiego'

MalcolmSanDiego | July 30, 2013 at 6:13 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

stata66: what kind of dysfunctional family are you talking about? Whoa.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 31, 2013 at 12:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago


I think strata66 is referring to the San Diego Democratic Party as Filner's family. He certainly has no family or friends in San Diego otherwise.

Pittsburgh is his hometown. He should go back and hope his own city takes him in. Or perhaps he should go live with his children in New York. Recovery begins with family first. Go home and stay there Filner. Your vacation in San Diego is over.

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Avatar for user 'mindwanderweg'

mindwanderweg | August 1, 2013 at 12:03 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Unreal. There's a hiking trail near my house with the rules posted. Above EVERYTHING is the statement that Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse for Breaking the Law.

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