San Diego Sues Mayor Bob Filner, Seeks Damages For Harassment Lawsuit

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 05:51 PM

By Ken Mandel

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The city of San Diego sued Mayor Bob Filner Tuesday, seeking reimbursement for potential financial damages that may stem from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former press secretary.

The suit is another strike against the troubled politician, who has been urged to resign by seven of nine City Council members over accusations of unwanted sexual advances toward eight women. The Council unanimously approved the action, reported The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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"This is part of due process," City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told the paper. "If Bob Filner is engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees."

The complaint is based on the city's "zero tolerance policy as to sexual harassment and sexual harassment isn't within the course and scope of employment."

Filner, 70, is being investigated for accusations made by former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson, who filed a July 22 lawsuit against the city and the mayor. She alleged Filner created a hostile work environment and treated women as "sexual objects or stupid idiots."

She claims he asked her to "work without panties, demanded kisses, expressed his desire to see her naked, and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear," CBS News reports.

Seven other women have since offered accounts of Filner's unwanted advances. The most recent woman to step forward, Lisa Curtin, told San Diego station KPBS Tuesday that Filner asked her for a date, questioned the reality of her wedding band, and moved in for a kiss.

Filner, who is divorced, apologized earlier this month in a video statement in which he acknowledged disrespecting and sometimes intimidating women. On July 26, he said he would seek therapy.

"The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong," he said at a nationally televised news conference. "My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable."

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His critics thought therapy wasn't the answer.

"Two weeks of therapy may help Bob Filner with his personal problems, but it does not help to address the needs of San Diego," Laura Fink, a political consultant who alleges that Filner once patted her buttocks, told The Associated Press.

The mayor's office and his attorney, Harvey Berger, didn't immediately respond to CBS News requests for comment.

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