San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is being slapped with another lawsuit–by the city he governs.
On Tuesday during a closed-door session, the San Diego City Council unanimously decided to file suit in San Diego Superior Court against the mayor after rejecting his request that the city pay his legal fees for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Filner’s private attorney, Harvey Berger, filed a request Monday for the city to pay for his legal expenses.
Voting 9-0, the City Council approved a cross-complaint against Filner. He had sought indemnity for all costs the city may have to pay as a result of the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson. The city’s cross-complaint states that Filner has become a liability to the city and that the city has “a zero tolerance policy as to sexual harassment and sexual harassment is not within the course and scope of employment,” according to the lawsuit.
“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,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.
Last week, McCormack Jackson filed a lawsuit against Filner for sexual harassment, becoming the first woman to come forward and accuse Filner of harassment in the workplace. After a series of allegations from other women followed and calls for his resignation began pouring in, Filner announced last Friday that he would undergo “intensive” therapy for two weeks starting Aug. 5.
An eighth woman, Lisa Curtin, came forward with allegations late Tuesday. Curtin, director of government and military education at San Diego City College, told local news station KPBS that Filner made inappropriate advances to her during a meeting in 2011, while he was still a congressman. Curtin said that Filner questioned her about the wedding band she was wearing.
“He then asked me if it could come off while I was in D.C. and if I would go out with him,” Curtin said in the interview. “I said I really didn’t think so. And at that point, he pulled my hand closer to him and he reached over to kiss me. I turned my head at that moment and on the side of my face, I got a very wet, saliva-filled kiss including feeling his tongue on my cheek.”
“Intimidating women is not in Mayor Filner’s job description,” council member Kevin Faulconer said. “His employer–San Diego taxpayers–shouldn’t have to bail him out of the mess he created.”
Seven of nine City Council members have urged the Democratic leader to resign. Filner is the first Democratic mayor to lead the city in 20 years.