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.
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.