North America

San Diego mayor wants taxpayers to foot legal bills

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is asking the city to pay his legal fees stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former aide.
 
Filner's request is slated to be discussed Tuesday afternoon by the nine-member San Diego City Council, of which seven members have called for Filner to resign.
 
The request also comes as a recall effort against Filner, who is accused by seven women of behavior such as groping, unwanted kissing and sexual advances, began in earnest on Monday.
 
Filner apologized for his behavior and said he would undergo "intensive therapy" for two weeks starting Aug. 5. The former Democratic congressman, who was elected to the city post in November, has rejected repeated calls to resign. The resignation calls have come from within San Diego and from top Democrats such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the state's senior senator, and national party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
 
Todd Gloria, president of the San Diego City Council, said it would send the wrong message to taxpayers if the city paid Filner's legal bills.
 
"This is about personal behavior," Gloria said Monday, according to U-T San Diego. "We certainly provide defenses to city employees who have been caught up in legal issues as a result of their day-to-day work, but obviously sexual harassment is not tolerated in the city. It's not necessary for the conduct of your work."
 
Filner has hired a private attorney, Harvey Berger, to defend him in the lawsuit. The city attorney's office is not representing Filner because the city is also a party to the lawsuit.

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