City expected to OK $99K settlement for 2 Filner victims
SAN DIEGO — The City Council is poised to settle a lawsuit brought by two of about 20 women who alleged they were sexually harassed by former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, according to documents made available Wednesday.
The council, at a meeting next week, will consider whether to pay out $99,000 to settle claims by nurse Michelle Tyler and Katherine Ragazzino, a former Marine.
Tyler contended that she went to see Filner in June 2013 about getting help with federal benefits for Ragazzino. Tyler was a caretaker for Ragazzino, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during her service in Iraq, and they were facing red tape at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Filner, a 10-term congressman, offered help, “but at a price,” notably a “personal and sexual relationship,” alleged attorney Gloria Allred, who was retained by the women for a short time.
Tyler and Ragazzino filed a sexual harassment claim with the city and a federal lawsuit. In addition, the Navy filed a claim with the city to reimburse Ragazzino’s care related to the incident
The proposed settlement, according to the city documents, would resolve all of the women’s claims plus the Navy’s, which will receive around $1,200. The balance would go to the plaintiffs and their current lawyer, Carla DiMare.
Filner was elected mayor in November 2012 and took office one month later. Sexual harassment claims began surfacing the following July, with the total growing to around 20 women, and he resigned at the end of August.
Later that year, he admitted in court that he grabbed and fondled three women while in office, and was sentenced to three years probation, along with three months home detention.
Several women sued Filner and the city. Former communications chief Irene McCormick Jackson settled for $250,000. Another former employee settled her claim in exchange for an official apology and a proclamation of “Peggy Shannon Day” in the city.
Public approvals of legal settlements are usually a formality and made without comment. The council gave a tentative go-ahead by a 7-0 vote on Sept. 15.