SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Disgraced San Diego Mayor Bob Filner leaves office Friday, less than nine months into his term.
Filner, whose resignation takes effect at 5 p.m., is the third mayor of San Diego in recent times to resign amid scandal, following Roger Hedgecock and Dick Murphy.
The 70-year-old former congressman, who initially insisted he wouldn't go, agreed last Friday to resign after nearly 20 women publicly accused him of varying degrees of sexual harassment dating back several years. He is also under investigation for allegedly misusing a city-issued credit card and shaking down developers.
In mediation that resulted in his agreement to step down, Filner asked for one final week in office. He has not said how he has been spending his time. Messages to his staff have not been returned.
City Council President Todd Gloria will succeed Filner on an interim basis. Late Thursday, he announced that the first woman to go public with details of the mayor's conduct, Irene McCormack Jackson, will return to her job as communications director in the mayor's office.
McCormack Jackson alleges Filner told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and that he could not wait to consummate their relationship. Filner also allegedly demanded kisses from McCormack Jackson and put his arm around her and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks.
Represented by Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, she has sued Filner and the city, and the case has not been resolved. It was mediation over the lawsuit that led to the mayor to resign.
Allred is scheduled to hold a news conference in downtown San Diego this morning to comment on Filner's last day in office. She said she will have some ``parting gifts'' from her to the mayor.
Allred was expected to be joined by great-grandmother Peggy Shannon, licensed vocational nurse Michelle Tyler and injured Marine Katherine Ragazzino.
Shannon, 67, who works part-time at a senior citizen services desk in the City Administration Building, alleged that Filner repeatedly asked her out and one time grabbed her and kissed her on the lips.
Tyler said she met Filner when he was a congressman and leader of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. She said she sought help from Filner on behalf of Ragazzino, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Tyler alleged that when she asked Filner to help Ragazzino navigate the Veterans Administration, he seemed willing to help but at a price, notably a personal and sexual relationship with him.
By the time McCormack Jackson went public with her allegations on July 22, the mayor was already in deep trouble.
He was frequently questioned by reporters about his treatment of his staff and about a trip he took to Paris that was paid for by an Iranian resistance group that wasn't properly registered as a nonprofit in the U.S. He subsequently promised to return the money, but the city paid around $20,000 for his security detail to accompany him.
In June, McCormack Jackson transferred to a new city post, and Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones resigned. According to city documents, the staff changes occurred during a high-level meeting in which the sexual harassment allegations were discussed.
On July 8, Filner's fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, announced that she had ended their relationship.
Two days later, three of his onetime supporters -- including former Councilwoman Donna Frye -- demanded his resignation, claiming he was regularly acting in an inappropriate manner toward women.
In addition to McCormack Jackson's lawsuit, the city is dealing with two claims filed by two other alleged Filner victims. Attorney Daniel Gilleon is representing both women, who will be free to file lawsuits if and when the city denies their claims.
One of the women, identified only as Marilyn, is seeking $250,000. Gilleon said the mayor grabbed her face and kissed her forehead at an event in May at Johnson Elementary School in Emerald Hills. Filner also allegedly put his hand around her waist and tried to walk her away.
The other woman represented by Gilleon is Stacy McKenzie, the district manager for city-run Mission Bay Park. She is seeking $500,000 from the city. McKenzie, 50, alleged that Filner asked her for a date and placed her in a headlock at a city function at Mission Bay on April 21. She said he also grabbed her wrists so she was unable to move.
A special election to find Filner's permanent replacement is scheduled for Nov. 19 to choose someone to fill his term. If no one wins more than 50 percent, a runoff vote will be held. City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said the cost for the initial election is estimated to be around $6 million.
One of the candidates, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, corralled endorsements Thursday from the unions that represent the city's white collar workers and firefighters. The Qualcomm executive finished third in the June 2012 mayoral primary vote.
Carl DeMaio, who lost to Filner by a couple points in the November 2012 runoff, said he will announce Tuesday whether he will make another run.
Gloria has also been mentioned as a potential candidate to complete Filner's term, along with colleagues David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Kevin Faulconer, Supervisor Ron Roberts and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego.
Other candidates who have filed intention forms are lawyer Hud Collins, a frequent speaker at City Council meetings; Bruce Coons, head of the preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organization; Paul Michael Dekker, who, according to his website, is director of information technology at the San Diego-based nonprofit Global Energy Network Institute; La Jolla Realtor Harry J. Dirks; Marcus Dunlap; and Michael Kemmer, whose LinkedIn page says he's an IT intern at Sempra Energy.
Also intending to run are Jared Mimms, who says on his LinkedIn page that he has founded or co-founded four companies; accountant Teresa Miucci, psychiatrist Ashok Parameswaran; website owner Tobiah Pettus; Kurt Schwab, who founded an organization for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq; Mark Schwartz, a Libertarian activist who created a Facebook page for his campaign last month; and David Tasem, who operates a taxicab business.
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