San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: About to resign?

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused of inappropriate conduct by 18 women, reportedly has reached an agreement with city officials to call it quits. This opens the way for a special election.

Gregory Bull/AP
Cecelia Taylor explains a form to Tana Piontek as Allie Thornbrue waits to sign a petition to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner at a shopping center. Pressure is mounting against Filner to resign after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him.

It may be just hours before San Diego’s disgraced Mayor Bob Filner resigns, ending weeks of revelation and political turmoil in the city.

Mr. Filner, a Democrat who formerly served in Congress, has been accused by 18 women of inappropriate touching and lewd comments, one of whom – Irene McCormack Jackson, the mayor’s former communications director – has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit.

According to numerous news sources, Filner has reached an agreement with city officials to call it quits, opening the way for a special election to be held within 90 days. The deal came after three days of mediation before retired federal judge J. Lawrence Irving.

Details of the agreement still need to be approved by the City Council – all nine members of which have called for Filner to step down. The council is scheduled to meet Friday. Speculation focuses on relieving Filner of some of the legal and financial burden of the lawsuit, in return for which he agrees to leave.

“One of the sticking points of the negotiations had been how much taxpayers would be on the hook for his alleged misdeeds,” U-T San Diego reported. “The proposal before the council is said to center on covering Filner’s liabilities in exchange for his resignation. It is not clear whether any financial demands from Ms. Jackson would be resolved with the pending proposal or handled separately.”

If Filner needed an additional nudge out the door, it was scheduled to come Friday when the Democratic National Committee (DNC) votes on a resolution condemning him.

Among others who have told Filner he should resign are California’s two Democratic US senators (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, and both the Democratic Party of San Diego and Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a US representative from Florida.

“Bob, you must resign because you have betrayed the trust of the women you have victimized, the San Diegans you represent and the people you have worked with throughout your decades in public life,” Senator Boxer wrote in an open letter to Filner, saying that the allegations have “shaken me to my core.”

As if outrage over Filner’s treatment of women were not enough political and personal trouble, federal, state, and local investigators have been gathering information and building cases against him for financial issues, according to U-T San Diego (the newspaper formerly known as the San Diego Union-Tribune).

“Filner has been under scrutiny for a number of questionable financial moves including an unannounced June trip to France, civic donations from developers related to certain projects and, most recently, his use of a city-issued credit card,” the newspaper reported recently. “Records … related to the credit card charges racked up by Filner and his assistant show he failed to submit proper documentation to allow the city to pay off the card and that put the city’s credit rating at risk.”

If the mediation effort were to fall apart, Filner faces another way in which he might be forced from office.

At a Freedom from Filner rally at City Hall last Sunday, organizers of a recall effort began gathering the 101,597 signatures needed for a ballot measure that could oust Filner from office. They have 39 days (with a possible extension of 30 days) to do so.

Filner was spotted leaving City Hall with packing boxes Wednesday night, NBC 7 News reported. “The mayor said goodbye to his staff Wednesday before he left his office at City Hall in his security detail’s SUV. Sources say the packing boxes in the backseat contained Filner's office effects.”

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