SAN DIEGO -- Although details of a mediation deal in Mayor Bob Filner’s sexual harassment lawsuit have not been announced yet, it is increasingly clear that the settlement includes his resignation from office.
Filner was seen Wednesday night loading boxes into an SUV parked outside City Hall -- and driven by a San Diego police officer, part of the mayor’s security detail -- apparently after saying farewell to his staff and cleaning out his office.
A special election would be held to fill the mayor’s post. Filner would be the fourth of the last seven San Diego mayors to leave midterm, all for different reasons.
Pete Wilson resigned in 1983 after being elected to the U.S. Senate. Roger Hedgecock was ousted in 1995 by his felony conviction for conspiracy and perjury. Dick Murphy resigned in 2005 because he thought it best for the city to have a fresh start in dealing with its pension deficit mess.
At issue in the mediation talks was the possibility of Filner’s agreeing to resign in exchange for the City Council agreeing to pay some of his legal fees and potential damages in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Irene McCormack Jackson, his former director of communications.
The end of the mediation came late Wednesday afternoon after three days of closed-door negotiations between Filner, his three attorneys, City Atty. Jan Goldsmith and two City Council members.
Mediation was overseen by retired federal Judge J. Lawrence Irving, who donated his time. The council will vote on the deal in closed session Friday.
All nine council members and numerous other officials have called for Filner’s resignation, and an official recall effort is underway.
Goldsmith said last week he was developing an “exit plan” for the mayor amid harassment allegations and the lawsuit filed by Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred on Jackson’s behalf.
On Monday, Allred and Jackson attended the first of the mediation sessions. Allred said Wednesday night she would hold a news conference Thursday with Filner’s former fiancee to discuss reports of a mediation deal.
More than a dozen women in recent weeks have accused Filner of sexual misconduct, including inappropriate touching. Even as negotiations were nearing a conclusion, another woman came forward Wednesday.
Michael Pallamary, leader of the recall effort, said Wednesday night the process would continue “until a resignation has been tendered by Filner.”
Filner, 70, was elected in November, the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades. Almost immediately his confrontational, abrasive style resulted in friction with City Council members and business leaders.
Filner made a brief appearance at City Hall to talk to his staff Wednesday afternoon before returning to the last mediation session. He refused to answer questions from the press.
“Nice to see you guys,” he told reporters.