SAN DIEGO — The first woman to publicly accuse Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment is a well-known face at City Hall with high credibility, several city leaders and a community activist told Fox 5.
“Irene has been around forever,” said Michael Pallamary, the man behind the fledgling effort to recall Filner. “She’s honorable. Everybody knows her. She is truthful. I was just stunned. I’m still in shock.”
“I knew the mayor had some issues with females in particular, but to hear it from Irene in such a graphic manner took me back,” said Councilmen Scott Sherman.
Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, is a longtime San Diego Union-Tribune reporter and editor who worked for the Port of San Diego for nine years before accepting a job with Filner’s office in January. She announced on Monday that she has filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court against Filner and the city.
“I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on a number women,” McCormack Jackson said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.
She described her time working for the mayor as the worst six months of her career.
“He regularly made comments — crude and disgusting sexual comments,” she said.
City Councilman Scott Sherman, who is one six council members who have asked for the mayor’s resignation, said he has seen questionable behavior by the mayor with his own eyes.
“You could see inappropriate touching at events and a lot of whispering and face to face kind of things,” Sherman said.
“It’s now gone from the gutter into the sewer pipe,” said Michael Pallamary, who last week began the recall process for the mayor. “We have no credibility. We are the laughing stock of the country.”
Earlier in the day, Council President Todd Gloria held a news conference with Councilman Kevin Faulkener to talk about the financial cost the city could incur if lawsuits are filed.
“In terms of legal liability, each case will require tax payer money,” Gloria said.
Sherman said more lawsuits could be coming.
“I have a feeling that we are going to see more claims coming toward the city, which is a lot of tax dollars going to defend the mayor,” he said.