San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's office canceled a scheduled new employee and management sex harassment training session in his first months in office, according to a published report.
In a letter addressed to the City Attorney’s office, Filner defense attorney Harvey Berger tries to persuade the city to pay for Filner’s defense against a sexual harassment claim because he said the city failed to offer required sexual harassment training within the mayor’s first six months of office.
Berger claims the instructor canceled the session for Filner and others, but it was never rescheduled. Read the letter here
NBC 7 San Diego's media partner Voice of San Diego reports that former city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone remembers it differently.
Goldstone said he’s sure that it was Filner’s staff who canceled the scheduled training session because of time constraints. Read the report here
Either way even when it comes to traffic violations, ignorance of the law does not make you exempt from following the rules of the road.
It appears from the attorney’s letter that Mayor Filner may be using the “I didn't know better” defense to navigate his way around at least one sexual harassment complaint.
“It was your typical attorney scatter gun approach, throw anything against the wall and see what sticks,” San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman said.
Sherman read the letter and was not swayed. He joined eight other members of the city council in denying the mayor a taxpayer-funded defense.
“Bob Filner started in Congress 30 years ago, and one of his first votes was regarding establishing sexual harassment laws,” Sherman said.
Several San Diego residents told NBC 7 the lack of an official training session doesn’t mean Filner shouldn’t be held accountable for the alleged actions.
“I think it's a common sense thing. You know the green light, yellow light and red light,” San Diego Ken Nigro said. “He's looking for a way out.”
“Just as a reasonable person you should be responsible for your actions,” San Diego resident Deborah Romo said. “You don't have to know the law and order to not sexual harass people.”
“In the professional world you’ve got to know where to draw the line whether you had any training on it or not,” San Diego resident Patrick Arthur said.
The mayor's former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson claims she was forced to resign after she said the mayor treated women as "sexual objects or stupid idiots."
"I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women," McCormack Jackson claims.
Since McCormack Jackson announced she would file a lawsuit against the city and the mayor, seven other women have come forward and described alleged unwanted sexual advances including groping and kissing.
San Diego's City Council voted unanimously Tuesday against covering Filner's legal fees.