SAN DIEGO – A tentative deal has been reached in the sexual harassment lawsuit against San Diego’s beleaguered mayor, but it’s unclear whether the resolution will oust the leader of the nation’s eighth largest city.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced the plan Wednesday after three days of settlement talks, but said he could not divulge any details until the proposed resolution is approved by the City Council, which could happen Friday.
The sex scandal swirling around Filner has plunged the city, across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, into deep political turmoil. The 70-year-old former congressman faces a recall effort and an avalanche of calls for him to step down amid allegations from at least 17 women that he made unwanted advances or inappropriate statements to them.
The deal was struck only hours after a San Diego businesswoman became the latest woman to go public in accusing Filner of inappropriate behavior.
The Council planned to meet in closed session Friday to review the deal. Goldsmith said if it is approved, the Council then would go into open session to announce it.
“I’m sorry I can’t give more information,” Goldsmith told The Associated Press.
The Democratic mayor’s former communication’s director, Irene McCormack Jackson, was the first to go public and is the only one to file a lawsuit against Filner and the city.
She claimed Filner asked her 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.
Other accusers include a university dean and a retired Navy rear admiral. Some contend he cornered, groped and forcibly kissed them.
Filner’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment on the proposed deal.
McCormack’s attorney, Gloria Allred, also declined to comment after talks ended Wednesday. But her office announced she would give her reaction to the deal Thursday at a news conference at her office in Los Angeles and would be accompanied by Filner’s former fiance, Bronwyn Ingram. The announcement pointed out that Ingram and Allred in the past have called for the mayor’s resignation.
Analysts have speculated Filner might have negotiated a deal that would shed his financial liability in the lawsuit in exchange for his resignation.
Those at the negotiating table involving the lawsuit said they have been told not to comment. Filner attended the talks, along with Goldsmith, City Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
Gloria would serve as acting mayor if Filner resigns.
Dianne York, the latest accuser, said Filner placed his hand on her buttocks while she posed for a photo with him about three months ago.
York told reporters at a news conference in National City that the incident took place after a meeting at his office. She said she reported the incident to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Filner announced three weeks ago that he would undergo therapy after acknowledging he has disrespected and intimidated women. He has denied committing sexual harassment.
The petition drive to recall Filner is in full swing, and calls from his own party urging him to step down were mounting with the Democratic National Committee planning to vote on a resolution Friday.
Michael Pallamary, chair of the Recall Bob Filner campaign, urged recall supporters to not give up their fight yet.
“The effort to qualify a recall to remove Bob Filner from office will continue unabated in its strength of purpose and momentum until a resignation has been tendered by Filner and an election called by the City Council to replace him,” he said in a statement.