For once, Gloria Allred had a news conference and dropped no bombshells. She held up no warning signs, made no edgy jokes. She trotted out no great-grandmothers who had been groped. She announced no new lawsuits alleging headlocks and dirty talk.
But she had been inundated with requests Wednesday evening for comments about reports that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner had reached an agreement with the city of San Diego to resign. He is the main defendant in the only sexual harassment lawsuit filed in connection with the scandal. Allred represents the alleged victim.
So: news conference.
In her Los Angeles office, Allred did bring along one of the mayor’s victims. Bronwyn Ingram sat quietly at her side. Ingram is the mayor’s former fiancee, and the San Diegan who can perhaps lay claim to being the most wounded by Filner's bad behavior.
She broke up with Filner just as the scandal got underway six weeks ago. At the time, Ingram said she had been subjected to abusive behavior by the mayor during a trip they took to Paris, and that he tried to hit on other women in her presence. Ingram, said Allred, is a client, but is not contemplating legal action against the man she was to have married in November.
Ingram read a mild, three-paragraph statement urging Filner to resign and the return of San Diego to “its rightful designation of America’s Finest City.”
Allred, for her part, had come to express her extreme displeasure at the notion -- unconfirmed at this point -- that the San Diego City Council may have reached some sort of separate agreement with Filner in which he agrees to resign if the city picks up some or all of his legal costs.
Calling such a deal “callous and unholy,” Allred said: “If the deal requires that the City Council pay him one dollar, then I, for one, think they should vote against it. There should be no payoff for Mayor Filner.”
Allred is representing Irene McCormack Jackson, the mayor’s former press secretary who, on July 22, filed what is thus far the only sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner and the city of San Diego.
Allred said that she and Jackson participated in a mediation session in connection with the case on Monday, which has been widely reported. Filner was present with his attorneys, Allred said, as was his political foe, City Atty. Jan Goldsmith, two members of the San Diego City Council and Judge Larry Irving.
Allred would not discuss what occurred during the mediation. Regardless of any agreement the city has come to with Filner, she said, Jackson’s lawsuit is to continue. Their next court date is Sept. 16, when Irving is to hear a motion by Filner to move the case from San Diego County to Imperial County.
She said she had no information on any agreement the city and Filner may have made, and had only heard about one through media reports.
“Since the San Diego City Council is being asked to approve a settlement with the mayor,” she said, “we think it is fair to assume that it must involve some payment to him. If ‘the deal’ only involved his resignation, there would be no need for the City Council to approve it … their approval for his resignation is not necessary …. His parting gift should be ‘good riddance’ instead of a handout.”
I asked Allred whether this might be her last Filner-related news conference since it looks as if the mayor is about to resign. “Oh, I can’t answer that,” she said. "I have no idea.”