City Employee Accuses Mayor Filner of Gender Violence

Stacy McKenzie claims Filner's denial of wrongdoing was the final straw her attorney said

A district manager for the City of San Diego has filed a new sexual harassment claim alleging the mayor held her in a choke hold and pressed his elbow into her breast.

Special Section: Mayor Under Fire

Stacy McKenzie, the Mission Bay Park District Manager, decided to introduce herself to Mayor Bob Filner at a family event on April 21 at De Anza Cove in Mission Bay.

McKenzie said Filner asked her to lunch then grabbed both of her hands and explained that it would not be a business lunch but would be a date.

She removed herself from the conversation and walked across the parking lot and found two of her employees, park security guards.

Soon after, she claims that Filner put his hands on her from behind and grabbed her in what she describes as a chokehold that ended with Filner's elbow resting on her breast. 

"It was an intimate hold that was getting more and more sexual," McKenzie told NBC 7. 

McKenzie explained to the mayor that he was embarrassing her. She said he laughed and walked away.

Later on, she said she was disappointed in the mayor.

"He was going to hold me in place until he was done with me," she recalls. "He got his little chuckle out of me turning red."

It wasn’t until McKenzie heard the mayor’s address to the city council on Friday that she decided to file a legal claim.

NBC 7 has obtained the claim against the city of San Diego and Filner filed by attorney Dan Gilleon on Aug. 26.

She has decided to file a claim for $500,000 alleging sexual harassment involving a supervisor, negligence of the city to prevent it and gender violence – that the mayor battered her for sexual gratification.

“It was a slap in the face to all women who have filed or who have not filed or just women in general,” McKenzie told NBC 7 on Monday.

McKenzie reported the incident to people within the city and on July 16 filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity office according to her attorney.

She also contacted state and federal authorities as well as with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's victim hotline.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith was not surprised to learn of the claim Monday morning. “We had investigators all over City Hall,” Goldsmith told NBC 7 News. “We were aware of this.”

Goldsmith said the case is among the category of claims that should the city be on the hook, his office will be able to seek reimbursement from Filner should they choose to do so.

More than a dozen women have spoken out publicly alleging sexual harassment or other unwanted sexual advances by Filner during his time as mayor and as U.S. Congressman.

Mayor Filner, who has resigned effective Friday, faces one sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson.

On Friday, after the council agreed to terms leading to his resignation, Filner likened the allegations to unsubstantiated rumors.

“Not one allegation, members of the council, has been independently verified or proven in court. I’ve never sexually harassed anyone," the mayor said.

If she could say something to Mayor Filner right now, McKenzie said she would tell him to own his actions.

“What you did was sexual harassment,” she said. “It’s time to stop pointing fingers at everybody and start looking at yourself.”

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