A Marilyn Monroe impersonator has become the ninth (or possibly tenth) woman to publicly accuse San Diego mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment. The embattled mayor has resisted calls for his retirement, and is instead beginning an "intensive" two-week therapy session.
Filner, who is being sued for harassment by his former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson, recently claimed that he couldn't be liable because the city never provided him with sexual harassment training. But last week a former Filner staffer refuted that assertion, saying that Filner's office, not the city, canceled the sexual harassment briefing.
The San Diego City Council recently rejected Filner's request that taxpayers pay his legal fees, and the council will countersue Filner for any money the city has to pay out if Jackson wins her suit.
“If he committed sexual harassment with a city employee, we’re going to be liable for his acts,” San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told U-T San Diego. “That’s why we sued him in a cross-complaint.”
At least nine women have now come forward alleging a variety of inappropriate comments, touches, and the now-infamous "Filner Headlocks" made by the mayor over his political career.
While calls have intensified for Filner to step down, political operatives think it's highly unlikely that a recall effort — which could cost up to $700,000 to get completed before the 39-day deadline runs out — will succeed.
For the time being, organized labor — which contributed more than $2 million to the mayor — still supports Filner.
“It’s an awkward situation, but we have a lot invested in him,” Tom Lemmon, head of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, told U-T San Diego. “We believe in due process, so let it take its course.”
Also citing due process as a reason to stick around the Filner administration is his newest chief of staff, Lee Burdick, who took over the office after four other staffers quit in the wake of the harassment allegations.
Some are arguing that Filner is postponing retirement and using the therapy sojourn as a bargaining chip to hold on to his pension — estimated at a combined $100,000 a year — or to buy time to build a better legacy.
[via, image via AP]