SAN DIEGO (AP) — People were lining up Monday to run for mayor of San Diego in the aftermath of the sexual harassment scandal that toppled Bob Filner and led to yet another city employee claiming she was mistreated by the former congressman.
By Monday afternoon, a half-dozen possible candidates had registered paperwork declaring their intentions to run, said Denise Jenkins of the city clerk's office. Among those filing was former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who ran as an independent against Filner in 2012 and later joined the Democratic Party. He was a Republican while in the Assembly.
Others considering a run for the office include Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer, Democratic City Council President Todd Gloria — who will serve as acting mayor — and Carl DeMaio, a Republican contender who lost to Filner in a fierce battle in 2012 and is now running for a state Assembly seat.
However, none of those three had made a final decision or filed paperwork involving the post.
Filner — besieged by sexual harassment allegations from more than a dozen women — announced last Friday that he would be resigning on Aug. 30, a date that was negotiated as part of a deal reached with city officials.
The city must hold an election 90 days from Aug. 30, when the seat is officially vacated. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes, the city will hold a run-off 49 days after the special election.
The deal emerged from three days of mediation talks connected to a sexual harassment lawsuit by Filner's former communication's director, Irene McCormack Jackson, although it did not settle the lawsuit.
In exchange for the resignation, the city will pay Filner's legal fees in a joint defense of the lawsuit, and cover any settlement costs assessed against the mayor except for punitive damages, said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. The city would also pay up to $98,000 if Filner wants to hire his own attorney.
The city — as required by state law — will also defend Filner against legal actions stemming from other alleged sexual harassment said to have occurred during his nine months in office as mayor.
The latest allegation came from city employee Stacie McKenzie, whose lawyer filed a claim on Monday against Filner. A lawsuit could be filed if the city rejects the claim or fails to respond to it.
McKenzie, 50, a parks and recreation employee, said the mayor asked her out on a date, placed her in a headlock and groped her on April 21 at a city event.
Her attorney, Daniel Gilleon, said McKenzie decided to take legal action after listening to Filner's speech to the City Council on Friday in which he denied his actions amounted to sexual harassment and said his resignation was the result of a "lynch mob mentality" because he was taking on the city's power brokers.
"After his speech, she came here in tears to my office and said yes I'm going to do it," Gilleon said.
The city attorney's office said in a statement that McKenzie is a valuable employee, and if her attorney does file a lawsuit, the city would provide a joint defense and reserve the right to seek reimbursement against Filner should the city be found liable based upon his acts.
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