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San Diego to sue Mayor Filner for costs of sexual harassment suit

July 30, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • Mayor Bob Filner may have to reimburse the city of San Diego for costs related to his sexual harassment lawsuit.
Mayor Bob Filner may have to reimburse the city of San Diego for costs related… (Bill Wechter / Getty Images )

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to file a lawsuit against Mayor Bob Filner to recover any money the city has to pay due to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former top aide to the mayor.

The suit will seek to recover any damages ordered by the court, or agreed to as part of a pretrial settlement, arising from the lawsuit filed against the city and Filner by the mayor's former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson.

The vote was taken in closed session.

"This is part of due process," City Atty. Jan Goldsmith said. "If Bob Filner 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 phrase "due process" has been a mantra of Filner, 70, a Democrat, and his supporters in explaining why he should not resign and that the allegations against him have not yet been proven.

Tuesday night, the council is set to decide whether it will pay for Filner's attorney, Harvey Berger. Berger on Monday filed a request with the city attorney for reimbursement.

Filner has had to hire a private attorney because Goldsmith said it would be a conflict for his office to represent both Filner and the city against the Jackson lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages. Jackson alleges that Filner made sexually inappropriate comments, touched numerous women inappropriately, and once said she should work without panties on.

Seven of nine council members have called on Filner to resign, along with the local Democratic Party and a list of Democratic officeholders.

Filner has refused to resign and announced Friday that he will undergo a two-week behavioral therapy treatment starting Aug. 5. Jackson's attorney, Gloria Allred, has subpoenaed him for a deposition Aug. 9.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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