Embattled El Cajon city councilman resigns

EL CAJON, Calif. — El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho has resigned, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Kalasho, who has been the subject of several lawsuits, sent a resignation letter to the City of El Cajon at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“Although my time on the council has been educational, I felt I was constantly battling my colleagues on agenda items and the general direction that my colleagues wanted for the city,” the letter read. He also said he felt that the city “is headed towards a different direction than the one I’d like to see and had planned.”

The 36-year-old had been plagued with legal issues.

The newspaper reported Kalasho was named in a 2017 San Diego Superior Court lawsuit alleging fraud, defamation, unfair business practices and other claims related to his fall election campaign and to a beauty pageant he runs with his wife, Jessica.

A complaint alleged Kalasho and Jessica defamed the 2016 winner of the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant by posting subjective photos. According to the Union-Tribune, Kalasho said they resolved those legal issues.

In September, he was served with a lawsuit claiming he violated free speech rights of people who follow him on Facebook.

“Public officials that use their personal pages to do public commentary lose their personal page status,” plaintiff Mark Lane said at the time. “It’s now an open page and constituents and citizens have access to it and can talk and can engage.”

Kalasho was also reportedly on probation for breaking Workmans Comp laws.

Kalasho had two more years in his term. City officials are reviewing what the next steps are needed to fill his position.

City officials released a statement regarding his departure.

“In light of Mr. Kalasho’s decision, City staff will be presenting options of how to fill the vacancy to the City Council at an upcoming public meeting. Mr. Kalasho was filling an at-large seat on the City Council and his term was due to expire in November 2020.”

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