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City Of San Diego OKs $250K To Settle Filner Lawsuit

Above: Disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and Filner's ex-communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson are shown in this composite image.

The City Council Monday approved a $250,000 outlay to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the resignation of former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

The lump-sum payment will resolve all aspects of the litigation filed by Filner's ex communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told reporters during a late-afternoon briefing.

The council approved the settlement unanimously in closed session.

McCormack Jackson, represented by Los Angeles-based women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred, alleged the then-mayor told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and that he was eager to "consummate'' their relationship.

She also contended that Filner demanded kisses and put his arm around her and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks.

It was mediation over her lawsuit that led the then-70-year-old mayor to resign last August after less than nine months in office. The City Attorney's Office agreed to defend Filner in exchange for his agreement to step down.

Filner later pleaded guilty to to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery and was sentenced in December to three years probation, including three months of home confinement.

"California law holds the city as an employer strictly liable for sexual harassment conduct of a supervisor, including the mayor, directed at a city employee,'' Goldsmith said. "Legal liability may extend to physical and emotional injuries, loss of income and other costs — as well as attorney's fees.''

Preparing for trial, which was scheduled to begin Feb. 20 of next year, would have cost both sides more than the settlement amount, he said.

"I think both sides won because we resolved this early, before a year of very expensive litigation, plus a trial at the end,'' Goldsmith said.

McCormack Jackson has been on unpaid leave. Under the settlement, her municipal employment will terminate on April 1.

The city attorney said Filner agreed to the deal on Friday. As part of the agreement that led to Filner's resignation, the former mayor will not have to fork over any money to McCormack Jackson.

Cases filed by two other women who sued Filner over his alleged misconduct are still pending.

Stacy McKenzie, a city employee like McCormack Jackson, contends the ex-mayor grabbed her from behind, put her in a headlock and rubbed her breasts at an event at a city park.

Michelle Tyler, Gloria Allred and Katherine Ragazzino speak at an August 6, 2013 press conference, where they described the mayor's alleged unwanted sexual advances toward Tyler.

Michelle Tyler was seeking help for a friend, a Marine veteran, when she says Filner demanded a personal and sexual relationship.

Resolutions of those cases could come "fairly soon,'' according to Goldsmith.

KPBS video journalist Katie Schoolov contributed to this report.

Comments

Avatar for user 'SDforward'

SDforward | February 11, 2014 at 7:28 a.m. ― 2 months ago

The city should definitely try to recoup the $250,000 from the perpetrator of the inappropriate behavior. Why should taxpayers foot the bill?

Also, I'd easily take some inappropriate remarks for $250,000. Maybe I should start applying for government jobs...

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | February 11, 2014 at 10:01 a.m. ― 2 months ago

The City Attorney's Office agreed to defend Filner in exchange for his agreement to step down. The opinion in this next sentence would seem to preclude Filner's having to step down: "California law holds the city as an employer strictly liable for sexual harassment conduct of a supervisor, including the mayor, directed at a city employee,'' Goldsmith said. However, when I wrote to the State Bar with my request to sanction Goldsmith for giving a sitting public officer an either/or proposition, my request was turned down.

Having said this, I applaud Ms. Allred for advising her client to accept this low, low settlement on the eve of the mayoral election which precludes either Alvarez or Faulconer from having to give their approval. And Mr. City Attorney for hurrying it along. I don't think the "friend of a Marine" plaintiff has any chance. The city employee may get a pittance. Funny how the law works -- the Marilyn impersonator, the victim of a felony -- won't file.

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | February 11, 2014 at 12:04 p.m. ― 2 months ago

The Filner administration included keeping the Veterans and Downtown Homeless Emergency Shelter Tents opened year round. Now 350 San Diegans will be evicted on March 31, 2014 in 48 Days. The Tents will reopen in November 2014. Over 60+ San Diegans die every year due to a lack of basic shelter.

Last year, on April 6, 2013, McCormack Jackson tried to block Homeless Veterans Tents advocates from meeting with Mayor Filner at the first Saturday morning meetings to tell them his office staff was sabotaging efforts to fund solutions before the Monday April 8, 2013, 8 am morning evictions at the Veterans Tent in the Midway neighborhood.

Luckily McCormack Jackson's plan to block citizen access to the Mayor failed, and the Veterans Tents stayed opened Year Round for the first time ever.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | February 11, 2014 at 4:19 p.m. ― 2 months ago

How much money will McCormack get after Allred takes her fees and expenses? Let's see who McCormack gets a job with next. That will tell us a lot.

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | February 11, 2014 at 6:24 p.m. ― 2 months ago

The whole thing stinks.Sorry, have trouble believing at least half of it

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 11, 2014 at 10:56 p.m. ― 2 months ago

Excellent point, Mr. Wood. I'm sure McCormack can retire now.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 11, 2014 at 11:57 p.m. ― 2 months ago

Now we see the worst consequences of Filner's wandering hands: a tea party mayor to replace him.

Get ready SD, the next few years are going to really be embarrassing as SD solidifies it's reputation as America's Largest Cowtown.

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