Allred Balks At Public Funds For Filner
Gloria Allred, the lawyer for the first woman who came forward to accuse Bob Filner of sexual harassment, said Thursday she has not been provided with details of a proposed agreement reached after three days of mediation.
She said her client's sexual harassment lawsuit against the mayor is not settled.
Allred held a news conference to urge the San Diego City Council not to authorize the payment of any money to the mayor in exchange for his anticipated resignation.
On Wednesday, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced a settlement was reached in the talks between Filner, other city officials and lawyers, overseen by retired federal Judge Lawrence Irving. The deal is scheduled to be presented to, and considered by, the City Council on Friday.
But Allred said the sexual harassment litigation filed on behalf of former mayoral communications director Irene McCormack Jackson against Filner and the city of San Diego was not settled.
"We have no settlement of our lawsuit at this time,'' the Los Angeles-based attorney said.
The city has filed a cross-complaint against Filner in an effort to recover any financial damages if and when McCormack Jackson's lawsuit is resolved.
"We do not know the details of the reported deal and we have not approved it,'' Allred said.
"We are therefore concerned that the City Council may be voting on this deal in a vacuum, and it may contain terms that we and the taxpayers would find abhorrent.''
Allred's remarks raise the possibility that the deal reached in mediation will only affect the city's portion of the lawsuit, the only one to be filed against Filner at this point. A total of 18 women have publicly accused him of improprieties.
Allred called for the terms of the agreement to be vetted publicly before the City Council approves it.
Since the council members have to approve the deal, it appears the terms include a payment of some form to Filner, she said. That would amount to the city siding with the mayor in McCormack Jackson's lawsuit, and his defense against allegations of "reprehensible conduct,'' she said.
The lawyer called for the mayor to resign without conditions.
"However, his leaving the city should not leave a permanent stain on the city's reputation by the City Council's facilitating the mayor's leaving by entering into a callous and unholy agreement with him," Allred said.
"If the deal requires that the City Council pay him one dollar, then I, for one, think that they should vote against it.''
Filner receiving anything to leave would be "a slap in the face to the mayor's many victims," she said.
The mayor's ex-fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, said she hopes that Friday — when Filner might step down — brings healing to the city and renewed attention to the needs and concerns of San Diegans.
She called on prospective candidates in a special election to replace Filner, if he leaves office, to "conduct fair and respectful campaigns."
"Let us now all pull together, work together, and help each other return San Diego to its rightful designation as `America's Finest City," Ingram said.
Ingram, 48, and Filner, 70, said they were engaged during last year's mayoral campaign, but a wedding date was never disclosed. She announced on July 8 that she had broken off their relationship. It was two days later that three of the mayor's allies first called for him to resign over alleged sexual harassment of women.
McCormack Jackson came forward 12 days later, becoming the first to speak publicly about Filner's behavior toward women.