Attorney: Progress made in settling Huizar harassment suit

Lawyer for woman who sued Huizar for harassment says there's been "progress" in settlement talks

A lawyer for the woman who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar said Tuesday there has been progress in settlement talks over the last week.

Michael Eisenberg, attorney for Huizar's former deputy chief of staff, Francine Godoy, told Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey that he did not want to discuss specifics because members of the media were sitting in the courtroom.

"I just want to know if generally there is some progress being made," the judge said.

"There has been progress made," Eisenberg responded.

The city has already paid $185,000 to resolve a separate lawsuit stemming from an incident in which Huizar -- driving a city-owned SUV -- rear-ended a car driven by a former Huntington Park police officer. The council voted to pay the settlement in March.

Godoy sued Huizar in October, saying she faced retaliation and discrimination after she refused to provide "sexual favors." She accused Huizar of sabotaging her run for a seat on the Los Angeles Community College District board of trustees.

Huizar called Godoy's claims false and malicious but did say he had an extramarital affair with Godoy. He described the relationship as "occasional and consensual."

Godoy was hired by Huizar in 2006 at an annual salary of around $47,000. She was earning around $132,000 annually in April 2013, when she left Huizar's office for a job in the city's Bureau of Sanitation, according to city personnel officials.

Six months later, Godoy sued the city.

A special city committee investigated Godoy's claims but Godoy refused to be interviewed. The panel issued a report in April saying it found no evidence that Huizar engaged in harassment, according to a portion of the group's report obtained by The Times.

The panel also found Godoy had received raises "multiple times, at a faster rate" than those given to other employees in his office.

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