Former Councilwoman Donna Frye delivered a letter asking Filner to step down as mayor citing sexual harassment allegations by more than one woman.
“I have recently received credible evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed by you,” Frye wrote in the letter. “Despite past rumors, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.”
Frye, the mayor’s director of open government until April, wrote in her letter than she “recently received credible evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed by you.” In a letter posted on the website of KPBS Radio, she said she’d heard rumors previously but tried to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt.
“However, those who have spoken to me recently would not make the allegations lightly or without cause and I believe them,” Frye said, adding that she found it “anguishing” to ask Filner to leave office but that she could not in good conscience remain silent.
Macro Gonzalez, known for filing lawsuits that have threatened July 4 fireworks shows in coastal areas, said in his letter that he thought Filner, at a recent meeting, appeared to understand the “gravity of circumstances” concerning his treatment of employees, especially women.
Gonzalez’s letter pointed out Filner’s alleged treatment of staff, including women who work in his office.
“Unfortunately, I and numerous of my colleagues have reached the point where we do not believe your behavior will change, and thus must request that you immediately relinquish your position as Mayor,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, I and numerous of my colleagues have reached the point where we do not believe your behavior will change, and thus must request that you immediately relinquish your position as mayor,” Gonzalez wrote, accusing Filner of “inexcusable behavior.”
The attorney is the brother of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the head of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council when Filner ran for office last year. His candidacy was primarily funded by organized labor.
The third letter came from Briggs, a San Diego lawyer who sued to stop the convention center expansion and renewal of the city’s Tourism Marketing District.
Briggs faxed a letter to the mayor’s office, saying that “long-term damage” to the principles of open government would be caused if Filner were to remain in office.
“At this point, I cannot maintain my credibility in the community as an advocate for good government while pretending that your office has not been irreversibly compromised,” Briggs wrote.
He said his “request” was made reluctantly, since he shares the mayor’s views on what’s wrong with the city and the ways to fix the problems.
Briggs also said he filed lawsuits to nullify City Council approval of a waiver of municipal policy on setbacks for a developer who donated $100,000 to the city, and to force the release of an unredacted transcript of a contentious closed session between Filner, the City Council and lawyers from the City Attorney’s Office.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
After hearing of the allegations against Filner, Councilman Kevin Faulconer released the following statement:
“It saddens me that the City of San Diego is crumbling under Mayor Filner’s scandals, including these most recent sexual misconduct allegations. These allegations are very serious and Bob Filner owes the public a full explanation.”
San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria’s spokesperson said he has no comment at this time.
Former Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio chimed in on the accusations.
“Sadly, the evidence is mounting that Bob Filner is simply incapable of leading our city,” DeMaio stated. “Bob Filner has bought such strife and turmoil to City Hall that we are seeing important issues that matter most to San Diegans being pushed to the side. This is no way to govern a city – San Diego deserves better.”
Briggs also said he filed lawsuits to nullify City Council approval of a waiver of municipal policy on setbacks for a developer that donated $100,000 to the city, and to force the release of an unredacted transcript of a contentious closed session between Filner, the City Council and lawyers from the City Attorney’s Office.
The mayor berated one of the city’s top lawyers and ordered his removal by police, according to a redacted transcript of the meeting that was recently provided to reporters.
It was reported last week that federal investigators will look into an about-face by the mayor’s office on the setback policy waiver for Sunroad Enterprises, which is constructing apartment buildings in Kearny Mesa. The shift came around the same time the company made the donation, which was later returned.
Filner blamed the donation on ex-Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones, who recently resigned. Jones told reporters he left his job because of the way the mayor treats his employees.
On Monday, it was learned that the 70-year-old mayor’s 48-year-old fiancee has called off their relationship. Bronwyn Ingram said she would no longer pursue projects to help San Diego’s homeless.
Frye, Gonzalez and Briggs will hold a press conference Thursday at 10 a.m. to answer questions about the accusations.