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Filner could lose $1,704 a year in pension payments under plea deal

October 22, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner takes an oath before he pleads guilty on state charges of felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery. The charges involve three unnamed female victims.
Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner takes an oath before he pleads guilty on… (John Gibbins / Associated…)

SAN DIEGO -- Ex-Mayor Bob Filner will lose about $1,704 a year in pension payments if the judge who sentences him on charges of mistreating women accepts a pension reduction clause in his plea bargain with prosecutors, according to figures released Tuesday by the San Diego pension board.

Filner, who resigned Aug. 30, will receive about $18,934 a year in pension payments if San Diego County Superior Court Judge Robert Trentacosta accepts the pension reduction part of the plea bargain.

Without the reduction, Filner's pension would be about $20,638.

The plea bargain calls for the 71-year-old Democrat to forfeit that portion of his pension accrued in the six months between his felony offense in March and his resignation in August.

Filner's pension is calculated based on his five years on the City Council --  1987 to 1992 -- before being elected to Congress, and then his months as mayor. He was elected in November and served nine months.

Pensions are calculated based on an employee's salary. As mayor, Filner was paid $94,000 a year, with a "pensionable salary" of $102,000.

A state law calls for convicted felons to lose their public pensions. But the law does not apply to charter cities like San Diego that have their own pension plans, according to an opinion released Tuesday by the attorney for the pension board.

San Diego has a similar law adopted after a scandal involving pension board members. But Filner is not covered by that law because he was a member of the pension plan before the law was adopted, according to pension board chief counsel Elaine Reagan.

The judge will need to decide whether Filner "knowingly and intelligently" waived most of his mayoral pension when he signed the plea bargain or whether he was unaware that the state law does not apply in his case, Reagan said.

"Until such time as there exists 'clear and convincing' evidence to show a knowing and intelligent waiver, (the pension board) has no basis to withhold any portion of Mayor Filner's pension," Reagan wrote in a six-page analysis.

Trentacosta has ordered a probation report be done before Dec. 9, when Filner is scheduled to be sentenced for his guilty plea to felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor battery.

Under a plea agreement with the state attorney general's office, Filner will not serve any jail or prison time, but will spend three months of home confinement, undergo mental health counseling and agree never to seek public office.

He may also face fines and restitution to three victims, identified as Jane Doe 1, 2, and 3.

Filner's pensions from being a history professor at San Diego State and a member of the U.S. Congress are untouched by the plea bargain.


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