Bob Filner's attorney says San Diego is at fault for mayor's behavior

Revelation found in newly released document

SAN DIEGO - The attorney for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner placed "some responsibility and potential liability on the City of San Diego" for accusations of sexual harassment because he said the city didn't provide training.

Filner's attorney, Harvey Berger, wrote to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith a letter on Monday.

Click here to read the letter (mobile users:

Berger's letter stated, "The city has a legal obligation to provide sexual harassment training to all management level employees, and to provide such training to new managers within six (6) months of hire ... The city failed to provide such training to Mayor Filner."

The letter said the mayor's training was canceled and never rescheduled.

"Therefore, if there is any liability at all, the city will almost certainly be liable," Berger wrote.

He then goes on to quote Bob Dylan.

"Many might argue that 'you don't need a weatherperson (sic) to tell you which way the wind blows,' and an adult male should not need sexual harassment training," the letter read. "I would point out that in his decades of public service for the people of San Diego as a U.S. Representative, Mayor Filner never received sexual harassment training."

Berger's letter talked about the "frenzy of publicity" in recent weeks and claimed the mayor has been severely criticized by the press. Despite that, the letter asked the city to set aside politics and defend the mayor against the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson.

"Mayor Filner denies the allegations," Berger wrote. "Not all behavior which is offensive is necessarily sexual harassment under California law."

Jackson's attorney, Gloria Allred, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The letter is three pages. Berger also wrote in the beginning he did not really want to put his request for the city to pay for the mayor's defense, "out of fear that this letter may become public."

The city attorney's office released the letter two days after Team 10 filed the public records request.

On Tuesday, City Council unanimously voted to authorize a cross-complaint against Filner to protect municipal coffers against the lawsuit and also to deny public funding for his defense.

Visit Team 10's special page for complete coverage of The Mayor Under Fire. (Mobile users:

Print this article Back to Top