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Filner Under Fire

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Employees Retirement System reduced ex-Mayor Bob Filner’s city pension by nearly $1,800 annually to comply with a provision of his sentencing, the agency announced Monday.

Filner SentencingSuperior Court Judge Robert Trentacosta ordered at a December sentencing hearing that the former 10-term congressman give up his mayoral pension from the date of the first offense, March 6, 2013. He pleaded guilty two months earlier to false imprisonment and battery charges brought after three women accused him of sexual harassment.

SDCERS spokeswoman Christina DiLeva said Filner will lose benefits accrued from the March 6 date.

“SDCERS has determined that Mr. Filner made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his pension benefits, following the consideration of a totality of circumstances,” DiLeva said.

Because he was a city councilman before being elected to the House of Representatives, he will still receive nearly $1,600 a month in city pension benefits.

The retroactive reduction goes into effect this month, according to DiLeva. SDCERS will have to refund to Filner $4,476 in contributions after the effective date. That total will be partly offset by $873 in payments already made to him that represents the time period through Aug. 30, when he left office.

She said Filner can make a written appeal to the SDCERS Business and Governance Committee by April 21.

Filner ended a three-month term of GPS-monitored home confinement on Sunday.

SAN DIEGO – Former Mayor Bob Filner’s three-month term on house arrest is reportedly due to end.

The period of home confinement and GPS monitoring was the result of his guilty pleas last fall to false imprisonment and battery, stemming from allegations of sexual harassment by at least 20 women.

filner-web“I have not seen him yet,” said Filner’s neighbor Mike Goss.  There was plenty of buzz around his downtown building.  Residents have a private parking area and Filner’s neighbors think its possible he has left and come back without anyone noticing.

The improprieties led the 71-year-old former Democratic congressman to leave office last Aug. 30.

He was sentenced Dec. 9 in San Diego Superior Court, but his GPS monitoring system was set up a week after it was supposed to have been, lawyer
Earll Pott told U-T San Diego.

Filner remains on three years probation which will include a travel restriction according to attorney Jan Ronis.  “There is a travel restriction.  He cannot leave the county of San Diego without permission from his probation officer,” Ronis explained.

Eighteen months after his sentencing, Filner can apply to have his probation reduced to informal probation. He can also petition to have his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. Filner was required to undergo mental health treatment while under court supervision. He also was fined $1,500.

According to a sentencing memorandum submitted by his defense team, Filner — once he became mayor — failed to keep up “with his longstanding
exercise regimen and course of psychiatric counseling and medications that had been prescribed by congressional doctors to help stabilize his mood and safeguard his mental health.

“The sudden disruption in his medications, coupled with longstanding issues of anxiety and the stress of assuming a new, intensely political executive position substantially contributed to conduct, described in the probation officer’s report, which has brought Mr. Filner before this court,” according to the defense memo.

Supervising state Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel told Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta in October that Filner, while attending a fundraiser
on March 6 of last year used “greater force than necessary” to restrain a woman against her will and used additional force to overcome her resistance, in a move that became known as the “Filner headlock.”

Mandel said he used force and kissed another woman on the lips without her consent at a “Meet the Mayor” event on April 6, 2013.

Filner also admitted grabbing a third woman on the buttocks after she asked to take a picture with him at a May 25 rally at Fiesta Island.

SAN DIEGO — All those allegations of groping, bullying and belittling employees landed former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner atop the 2013 list of America’s worst bosses released Friday by the website eBossWatch.

Bob Filner became the first Democrat to be mayor of San Diego since 1988.  He defeated Republican candidate Carl DeMaio by a narrow margin. (11-6-2012)

Bob Filner became the first Democrat to be mayor of San Diego since 1988. He defeated Republican candidate Carl DeMaio by a narrow margin. (11-6-2012)

Filner, the only San Diegan on the list of the top 50 worst people to work for, stepped down Aug. 30 after around 20 women made sexual harassment claims against the former 10-term ex-congressman.

Two former city employees have filed lawsuits against Filner and the city, and the City Attorney’s Office is processing several other claims.

Stacy McKenzie, a district manager for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, claims in a lawsuit filed last week that Filner grabbed her from behind, put her in a headlock and rubbed her breasts at an event at a city park.

His former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, alleges in her lawsuit that Filner told her she should work without her panties on, and that he wanted to see her naked and could not wait to consummate their relationship. Filner also allegedly demanded kisses from McCormack Jackson and put his arm around her and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks.

Ten other Californians made the list of worst bosses, including two managers at UCLA, two Los Angeles police sergeants, and three managers who work for the city of Los Angeles.

To date, the 2013 America’s Worst Bosses have cost their employers more than $52 million in monetary damages and lawsuit settlement payments, according to eBossWatch. The amount includes more than $21 million in losses to taxpayers by the 33 bosses in the public sector.

The list was compiled by a panel of workplace and personnel experts.

SAN DIEGO — An audit of former Mayor Bob Filner’s trip to Paris in June found no city funds were used on his behalf or that of his traveling companion, but that $24,641.86 was spent to send two San Diego police officers with him.

filner-and-SD-moneyThe trip was one of several contentious issues facing Filner during the summer. He stepped down at the end of August less than nine months into his term.

City officials have since been reviewing Filner’s use of municipal credit cards. The credit limit on a card was raised in order to pay for the officers’ trips.

“The expenses of the former mayor and his companion on the Paris trip were not paid with city funds,” the audit report said. “No travel reimbursements for per diem or other reimbursable expenses were found in city records for Filner or his companion.”

The review by the City Auditor’s office found that a group that hosted an event Filner attended in Paris, the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, paid the expenses of the ex-mayor and his companion for the trip between June 21-26.

It was later discovered that the organization was not properly registered in the U.S. as a nonprofit, compelling Filner to promise to pay the money back. Since the deal was between two private entities, it’s unknown whether he followed through.

The expenses incurred by the police officers — who are part of the city’s Executive Protection Detail — included air fare, lodging, meals, Internet costs and overtime pay.

It had been reported previously that the officers missed their original flight to Paris, forcing them to take another plane to catch up with the then- mayor.

However, the audit said Filner and the officers were delayed because their initial flight to San Francisco had mechanical problems. The connection to Paris left without the entire traveling party.

Filner, his companion and the two police officers caught separate flights — the cops arriving about four hours after the mayor, the audit said. The report found that the change in flights actually saved the city more than $5,000.

The auditors did suggest that the manual for executive protection officers be changed to establish procedures to follow when transactions exceed limits in the municipal code. The San Diego Police Department has agreed to the recommendation.

The report did not identify the companion or police officers. Prior news reports, however, say the companion was his fiance at the time, Bronwyn Ingram.

SAN DIEGO — Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was sentenced to 90 days of home confinement Monday after he apologized to his victims and the city and promised to earn back his integrity.

Filner Sentencing In a brief statement before sentencing, Filner said:

“I want to apologize to my family who have stood by me through this ordeal, to my loyal staff and supporters, to the citizens of San Diego, and most sincerely, to the women I have hurt and offended. To all of you, I make the same promise I made to my family: to earn back your trust and my integrity no matter how long it takes and what I have to do. I’ve already started on that path, and I’m grateful to all those who are helping me. The letters submitted to this court by my family show the progress that they have already seen. Certainly the behavior that is before the court this day will never be repeated, and I am confident that I will come out of this a better person, and I look forward to making further contributions to the city I love. “

After his apology, the judge sentenced the former mayor to 90 days of home confinement beginning on Jan. 1 and ending March 31 and pay around $1,500 in fines. While on home confinement, he will be monitored with a GPS device. After that, Filner will be on felony probation for 3 years.

The judge also sentenced Filner to three concurrent 6-month jail sentences, all of which will be stayed if Filner successfully completes probation.

Filner will be barred from ever seeking or holding public office and required to undergo mental health treatment while under court supervision.

The former 10-term congressman pleaded guilty in October to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

Supervising Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel told Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta in October that Filner, while attending a fundraiser with “Jane Doe 1” on March 6, used “greater force than necessary” to restrain her against her will and used additional force to overcome her resistance, in a move that became known as the “Filner headlock.”

Mandel said Filner used force and kissed “Jane Doe 2” on the lips without her consent at a “Meet the Mayor” event on April 6.

“Filner humiliated his victims, he scare them, he embarrassed them, he sexualized them, and devalued them. He did all of this with the power and influence of the public office he held,” Mandel said.

Filner also admitted grabbing “Jane Doe 3” on the buttocks after she asked to take a picture with him at a May 25 rally at Fiesta Island.

Filner resigned Aug. 30, after nearly 20 women came forward with allegations that he had groped or sexually harassed them over several years.

One of those women was his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.  Her attorney Gloria Allred was quick to say that Filner got off too easy.

“Some may feel Filner has paid the price, I think he is one lucky man!” said Allred.  “Mr. Filner count your blessing. Your freedom is a gift which you do not deserve.”

Under the plea deal, Filner will have to surrender his mayoral pension accrued from the time of the felony offense — March 6 — through his resignation, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s criminal case will wrap up Monday as he is sentenced for sexual harassment.

FilnerGuiltyPlea

WATCH LIVE: Filner sentencing at 9 a.m. Monday

In October, the 71-year-old politician pleaded guilty to grabbing and mistreating women while in office.

Under the plea deal, the Attorney General’s office said Filner will avoid jail time, but will be placed on probation for three years, and is expected to spend three months under home confinement.

Filner also will be barred from ever seeking or holding public office, and will be required to get mental health treatment under court supervision.

Interim mayor Todd Gloria, who is filling Filner’s seat until a newly elected mayor is chosen, said he is not focused on the case and is getting the city back on track.

“I’m not focused on that at all,” said Gloria. “The city has moved on, I have moved on. I am focused on getting the city on track and getting ready for the new mayor to join us come March.”

While his criminal case comes to an end, Filner’s court battles are far from over.

He already has at least one civil lawsuit filed against him by his former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson.

She was the first of nearly 20 women who publicly accused the former mayor of sexual harassment. She and her legal team are demanding $1.5 million in damages.

Under Monday’s plea deal, Filner will also have to surrender his mayoral pension accrued from the time of the felony offense which occurred on March 6, 2013.

filner-web1SAN DIEGO — Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who pleaded guilty to grabbing and fondling three women while in office, will be sentenced Monday.

Filner, 71, will be placed on probation for three years and will avoid jail time, though he is expected to spend three months under home confinement.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Filner also will be barred from ever seeking or holding public office and required to undergo mental health treatment while under court supervision. If he violates probation, he would face up to six months in jail.

The former 10-term congressman pleaded guilty in October to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, speaking at a news conference Thursday, said the city of San Diego has moved on after Filner’s fall from grace.

“We are back in the business of serving the people of San Diego,” Gloria said. “I’m glad the process is playing out and this matter will come to an end — at least that component of it.”

Gloria said he won’t be watching coverage of Filner’s sentencing.

“I’ll be focused on repairing the damage that was left by the Filner administration and move the city forward,” he said.

Supervising Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel told Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta in October that Filner, while attending a fundraiser with “Jane Doe 1” on March 6, used “greater force than necessary” to restrain her against her will and used additional force to overcome her resistance, in a move that became known as the “Filner headlock.”

Mandel said Filner used force and kissed “Jane Doe 2” on the lips without her consent at a “Meet the Mayor” event on April 6.

Filner also admitted grabbing “Jane Doe 3” on the buttocks after she asked to take a picture with him at a May 25 rally at Fiesta Island.

Filner resigned Aug. 30, after nearly 20 women came forward with allegations that he had groped or sexually harassed them over several years.

One of those women was his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.

Under the plea deal, Filner will have to surrender his mayoral pension accrued from the time of the felony offense — March 6 — through his resignation, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

SAN DIEGO — In Bob Filner ‘s final days as mayor, the city attorney was prepared to do something never before done here: plead with a judge that the mayor posed a threat to women and should be barred from City Hall.

A psychologist retained by City Atty. Jan Goldsmith was set to testify that, in her opinion, Filner fit the characteristics of a sociopath, was “without shame, empathy or compassion,” and believed no rules applied to him.

San Diego boxing ring Filner vs GoldsmithA court hearing was set for Aug. 21.

It was not necessary.

The night before the hearing, after two days of intense negotiations, Filner agreed to resign in exchange for the city paying most of his legal bills in a sexual harassment suit filed by Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of a former mayoral staffer.

For six weeks, Goldsmith had maneuvered to force Filner out of office — by squeezing him financially, bluffing him about state law, embarrassing him by releasing documents showing the anger and dismay of his staff and threatening to force a trial on his alleged misuse of public funds, including for a junket to Paris.

Goldsmith, 62, a former judge and state legislator, said he believes the threat of a restraining order — and the national media storm certain to follow — finally persuaded the normally combative mayor to step down.

Filner’s attorneys declined comment for this story. So did Filner, now awaiting a Dec. 9 sentencing for his guilty plea on charges brought by the state attorney general.

In early July, as one woman after another went public with accusations of sexual harassment against Filner, Goldsmith and his staff concluded that Filner was an unrepentant felon and that women at City Hall needed to be protected from him.

But the City Charter contains no provision for removing a mayor except through the difficult, expensive, politically unpredictable process of a recall election.

“We strategized as lawyers: How were we going to remove the mayor?” Goldsmith said in a recent interview. “It was a de facto impeachment.”

Filner and Goldsmith had a rocky relationship from the beginning.

Filner, 71, was the first Democratic mayor elected in San Diego in two decades. Goldsmith, a Republican serving his second term as city attorney, had endorsed Filner’s GOP opponent.

Filner arrived at City Hall with a long reputation — earned on the school board, City Council and then 10 terms in Congress — as a hardball political player.

At their first meeting, Goldsmith said, Filner announced that he did not plan to take legal advice from the city attorney’s office. He threw a sheaf of legal papers in the air.

“Your blow-up yesterday concerns me,” Goldsmith wrote in a Jan. 3 memo. “Our office is a law office, and we expected to be treated as professionals. Yesterday’s meeting was the first and only meeting in which we (any of my lawyers) will tolerate being yelled at, called names or having things thrown at us…. Now it is zero tolerance.”

But the friction continued unabated. By February, months before any sexual harassment allegations appeared, “I understood he needed therapy,” Goldsmith said.

On Feb. 15, Goldsmith sent another memo to Filner citing his “abusive conduct” during a meeting with lawyers from Goldsmith’s office.

“It did not take you very long to violate the zero tolerance standard,” Goldsmith wrote.

Still, Goldsmith suggested the two meet privately and agree to a peace treaty. “I still think we should get together for coffee,” Goldsmith wrote Filner on Feb. 26.

Read more at latimes.com

SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was formally booked and released at the downtown jail Saturday.

bob-filnerThe disgraced mayor, who has confessed to one felony county of false imprisonment by violence and two misdemeanor counts of battery, was processed at the Central Jail one day before he was supposed to, several television stations and U-T San Diego reported.

Filner arrived at the Central Jail processing office at 7:11 a.m. and was booked and on his way out at 8:57 a.m. reported one of the stations, NBC7.

Filner startled San Diegans Tuesday when he entered the guilty pleas and was ordered to appear for sentencing Dec. 9.

The plea agreement came on the same day Filner was charged in a criminal complaint by the state Attorney General’s Office. It calls for the former multi-term Congressman to be be placed on three years probation in exchange for avoiding jail time, and he will serve three months of home confinement instead.

As part of the agreement, Filner will also be barred from ever seeking or holding public office again, the Attorney General’s office said. Filner will also be required to undergo mental health treatment while he is on probation.

Any violation would result in Filner facing up to six months in jail, prosecutors have said.

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