SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego’s City Council made it clear it wants the city to have no part in the legal dealings of Mayor Bob Filner, who is the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit, allegations of unwanted advances and a chorus of calls to resign.
Dealing a double rebuke to its mayor with a pair of unanimous votes, the council opted Tuesday to sue Filner in a pre-emptive attempt to have the mayor alone responsible for any costs incurred due to the lawsuit, which also names the city as a defendant. Later, the council voted to deny Filner funds for his legal defense.
“His employers, San Diego taxpayers, did not have to bail him out for the mess he created,” City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said.
Seven of nine City Council members have joined former supporters and scores of others in urging Filner, the city’s first Democratic leader in 20 years, to resign.
Irene McCormack Jackson, Filner’s former communications director, sued the mayor and the city July 22. The lawsuit alleges Filner asked Jackson to work without panties, demanded kisses, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.
Since then, seven other women have offered detailed accounts of Filner’s alleged advances, including touching and forcible kisses.
The mayor’s office and his attorney, Harvey Berger, didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, said an official cannot accept more than $440 a year in donated services. Campaign money can be used only to defend against alleged violations of the state’s campaign finance law.
An official can, however, create a legal defense fund under state law, Ravel said.
Also Tuesday, an eighth woman came forward with stories of improprieties. Lisa Curtin, director of government and military education at San Diego City College, said on KPBS-TV Tuesday that the then-congressman Filner asked her in 2011 to remove her wedding band after questioning whether it was real, asked her on a date and moved to kiss her. She said she felt his tongue on her cheek after she turned her head.
Filner, who is 70 and divorced, said Friday he would enter two weeks of “intensive” therapy Aug. 5, defying calls from his own party leaders to resign. The former 10-term congressman is less than eight months into a four-year term as mayor.
Land-use surveyor Michael Pallamary published a newspaper notice Tuesday to begin a recall bid, two days after gay rights activist and newspaper publisher Stampp Corbin did the same. Pallamary accused Corbin of being a stealth supporter of the mayor and threatened to file a complaint with the San Diego County district attorney’s office alleging election law violations.
Pallamary said Corbin would make little effort to collect the more than 100,000 signatures needed to get a recall measure on the ballot, setting it up to fail and preventing another recall drive for six months.
Corbin denied the accusation Tuesday, saying Pallamary or anyone else was welcome to join the recall drive.
Corbin, who was appointed chairman of a city commission under Filner, declined to say if he voted for Filner or how he would cast his ballot in a recall. He said his motive was to bring swift resolution to the controversy.
“There’s nothing going on in the city, in City Hall. Everyone is focused on this scandal,” Corbin said. “That is not good for this city.”