SAN DIEGO — San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s private attorney is arguing that his client’s legal bills should be paid by the city because it failed to provide him with sexual harassment training, but a new report claims the mayor’s office canceled multiple new employee and management training sessions in his first months of office.
Filner and the city are being sued by his former communications director, who along with seven other women, said she was the victim of unwanted advances and inappropriate groping by the mayor. Earlier this week, the City Council voted against paying Filner’s legal bills and decided to sue him to recover any damages the city may have to pay out because of his actions.
Since then, a letter from Filner’s attorney, Harvey Berger, to the City Attorney’s Office accusing city trainers of unilaterally canceling the sessions has gone public. In response, former city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone told VoiceofSanDiego.org that the mayor’s office ordered the session to be canceled because it didn’t have time for them.
“Absolutely not. I am 100 percent certain that they did not cancel it,” Goldstone said, referring to Berger’s assertion that city trainers were to blame.
Goldstone said the mayor’s office eventually relented and held one training session that covered only benefits after they were told they wouldn’t receive their benefits without it.
Filner has denied his actions constitute sexual harassment but has apologized for mistreating women. He said he will check himself into a behavioral clinic for treatment for two weeks, starting Monday.