Former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith Accused of Retaliation

Marlea Dell’Anno said her former employer abused his power when he asked her to break the law. The City Attorney's Office told NBC 7 they are reviewing the lawsuit.

One of San Diego’s top attorneys is suing former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Marlea Dell’Anno said her former employer retaliated against her and abused his power when he asked her to break the law and she refused.

“I spent 20 years of my life building that reputation. I had a spotless record. In one fell swoop Jan Goldsmith took that all away from me,” she told NBC 7 Tuesday.

Dell’Anno said she was San Diego’s Assistant City Attorney in charge of the Criminal Division when Goldsmith asked her to remove negative performance evaluations from certain employees’ files.

“I could not do that. Within a couple weeks I was demoted. He responded by humiliating me in the most public way possible,” she said.

“I was put in a dingy office on the fifth floor with a big sign on the door that said ‘Do Not Enter,’” she said.

In November 2015, Goldsmith opened an investigation into Dell’Anno and an attorney she oversaw. The investigation, he said, was about dozens of mishandled cases. Several of them were domestic violence cases that were not filed in time.

“My suspicion was that she was just overwhelmed and doing too much work and did not enter the cases into the system,” Dell’Anno said.

Dell’Anno said Goldsmith used the case as a reason to demote and eventually terminate her for disobeying him.

“I found out I had been fired a week before Thanksgiving,” she recalled.

“I think Jan lost sight and it became about Jan and Jan’s interest and Jan’s image,” she said.

NBC 7 reached out to the City Attorney’s Office and was told they are reviewing the lawsuit.

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