As controversy keeps raging around San Diego's mayor under fire a real pocketbook issue for taxpayers is now the table. Should the city pay for Filner's legal costs? NBC 7's Gene Cubbison reports.
The San Diego City Council has voted to sue Mayor Bob Filner to recover costs from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the mayor's former communications director.
The city attorney's office says the council decided to ask a court to require Filner to pay all damages and attorney fees if he and the city are found liable.
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Filner asked the city to cover the cost of his attorney’s fees in a case where he has been accused of sexually harassing former employee Irene McCormack Jackson. The civil charges were brought by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of Jackson.
If Filner is found liable, he may not only have to pay his own attorney's fees, but also financial retribution to Jackson – in addition to the city’s legal fees.
Filner has been accused of sexually harassing multiple women, and seven alleged victims have publicly come forward saying he acted inappropriately toward them. He has since publically apologized and said he will enter a two-week intensive therapy program to address his behavior.
“The City of San Diego has sued the Mayor with unanimous City Council approval,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith in a statement. “This is part of due process. 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.”
Neither the mayor's office nor his private attorney has responded to request for comment to NBC 7 San Diego. His new chief of staff Lee Burdick, a lawyer in her own right, is claiming attorney-client privilege in refusing subpoeanas in the case.
The city attorney's office says she's practicing law in violation of the city charter.