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Politics

Third Ex-Staffer Of Supervisor Dave Roberts Files Claim Against County

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts mingles in the halls of the County Administration Building in downtown San Diego, Jan. 5, 2015.
Angela Carone
San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts mingles in the halls of the County Administration Building in downtown San Diego, Jan. 5, 2015.

Lindsey Masukawa's Claim Against Dave Roberts
The document is the claim former staffer Lindsey Masukawa filed with against the county over Supervisor Dave Roberts.
To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.

A third ex-staffer of San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts filed a claim Monday against the county alleging he misused his office.

Lindsey Masukawa, Roberts' former policy adviser for health and human services, said in the complaint that the supervisor had his office staff focus more on his re-election and aspirations for higher office than on his job.

Masukawa's claim comes after two other ex-staffers of Roberts — scheduler Diane Porter and chief of staff Glynnis Vaughan — filed their own claims. A claim is a necessary precursor to filing a lawsuit against a government entity.

Like Porter and Vaughan, Masukawa said Roberts delegated tasks unrelated to county business to his staffers.

"Supervisor Roberts' misuse of County resources to secure donations and support for his reelection campaign permeated the workplace," the claim alleges. "Supervisor Roberts also misused the resources provided to him by the County to handle his personal matters, like having staff drive his children to school in the County's car, spending dozens of hours applying for benefits and filing a conservatorship petition for his disabled adult cousin, and running errands for Supervisor Roberts."

Other accusations in the claim include that Roberts:

• Had his staff use county time to do campaign-related work.

• Required his staff to participate in the influential Lions Club charity.

• Violated the Brown Act, the state's open-meeting law.

• Used a county car and driver for campaign and personal purposes.

According to the claim, Masukawa's refusal to engage in "unlawful conduct" forced her to resign from her post.

It also says that Roberts cornered her in her office on April 6 and demanded that she tell everyone "she was leaving for personal and health reasons. She did as Supervisor Roberts directed."

The experience led her to suffer "both mentally and physically," according to the claim.

Accusations against Roberts first surfaced in May after it was revealed that the Board of Supervisors denied severance payments to two of his former staffers. Since then, ex-staffers have spoken publicly about their experience working for Roberts.

In an interview with KPBS, the freshman supervisor denied any wrongdoing and described the allegations as offensive.

Eight people have resigned from the District 3 office since Roberts took office in 2013.

Roberts is the lone Democrat on the five-member Board of Supervisors. The former Solana Beach city councilman is up for re-election next year.

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, a Republican, announced Monday he will run against Roberts. Other potential challengers also have been talked about, including San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey, Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein. All are Republicans.

Roberts' county district includes coastal North County as well as parts of Escondido, Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, Scripps Ranch and Tierrasanta.