With embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation on the horizon, some of the women leading the charge say they don't want Filner's resignation to come at the expense of San Diego taxpayers.
Filner has agreed to resign as part of a deal reached this week in mediation with city officials, NBC 7 News learned on Thursday.
The deal requires approval of the City Council in closed session Friday, which has some speculating the city may be asked to pay Filner’s defense fees in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former employee, Irene McCormack Jackson.
Her attorney Gloria Allred said Thursday she and her clients – which include Filner accusers Peggy Shannon, Michelle Tyler and Katherine Ragazzino – want to see Filner resign without conditions.
“We do not think the city should help the mayor fund the fight against McCormack Jackson,” said Allred, “The mayor’s resignation should not be bought at the expense of his victims.”
On Thursday afternoon, Allred held a press conference alongside Filner’s former fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram. The women both urged Filner to resign as part of the deal.
“The City Council should stand firm and resolve to make the mayor pay his own legal fees,” Allred continued. “There should be no pay-off for Mayor Filner.”
Allred said that if the city helps Filner financially as part of his resignation deal, it will be an insult to her clients.
“It would be a slap in the face to his many victims to see him get anything from city of San Diego. His parting gift should be good riddance, instead of a handout,” she said.
“I think it’s not appropriate for the City of San Diego to provide a gift of public funds to the sexual harasser -- that is the mayor -- to help him fight the victim in the sexual harassment lawsuit that we filed.”
Allred said Filner has not offered an apology directly to her client, McCormack Jackson. However, Allred said her clients will be one step closer to justice if Filner steps down on Friday, as expected.
“Justice requires that the mayor resign, but there should also be justice for the mayor’s victims,” said Allred. “If the city pays his fees, then the city is siding with Filner and not the victim.”
Allred also said her client Peggy Shannon, a 67-year-old great-grandmother who claims she was victim to many unwanted advances from Filner, has filed a claim with the city and asked for an EEO investigation by the city.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, McCormack Jackson’s brother, Mike McCormack, told NBC 7 he had personally collected more than 500 signatures for the current recall campaign against Filner.
When asked what his sister’s reaction has been to the mayor’s impending resignation, McCormack said: “Her interest is injustice done to her, not the politics of driving him from office.”
Filner – who was spotted leaving City Hall with packing boxes Wednesday night -- is expected to formally vacate the mayor’s office following a closed session of City Council Friday, according to several sources.
Filner's attorney has a letter of resignation drafted for his signature upon approval of the tentative settlement by councilmembers.
On Friday, his attorney sent the following statement on behalf of Filner:
“Mayor Filner returned to work in his office at City Hall on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. At the conclusion of three days of mediation before the Hon. Lawrence Irving (Ret.), Mayor Filner and representatives of the City of San Diego reached a tentative agreement. Due to the confidential nature of mediation and settlement discussions, we are unable to comment or make statements about any of the terms. A meeting of the City Council is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 23, 2013, at which time it is expected that the City Council will vote on the tentative agreement. A public announcement will be made following the vote.”
At Thursday’s press conference, Filner’s ex-fiancée, Ingram, also asked for Filner’s resignation.
“I’m hopeful that the settlement agreement between Bob and the City of San Diego will include resignation and begin to bring closure to this painful chapter for all those involved. I’m hopeful that tomorrow will begin a healing process and that attention will return to the needs and concerns of the people of San Diego,” said Ingram.