Mayor returns from Paris, refuses to answer Team 10 questions

Trip details, city staff issues not addressed

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was back in town Thursday after spending several days in Paris, but he refused to answer questions about the trip and other issues.

When the mayor left town, controversy was building over some of his actions.

For six days, 10News had been asking about the resignation of the mayor's deputy chief of staff and why Filner had police remove a city attorney from City Hall by force.
 
Filner had been "unavailable," according to his spokeswoman, and did not volunteer information about his trip to Paris. Thursday was the first time anyone had a chance to ask the mayor direct questions.

During a news conference on a popular annual tournament, Filner asked reporters to limit questions to the tournament.

"By the way, I have been out of town for a few days," Filner said. "I understand there were some issues that came up while I was gone; I would like to cover those issues tomorrow."

Team 10 learned Filner was in Paris to attend a conference for the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The organization is an Iranian resistance movement -- one Filner supported during his time as a U.S. Congressman.

Team 10 found Filner attended the group's event in Paris at least twice as a Congressman in 2007 and 2011. Congressional travel disclosures show the Iranian-American Committee paid thousands of dollars for Filner to attend the event in France. During his 2013 trip, he attended as San Diego mayor.

Team 10 asked if the trip was a junket and how it would benefit the people in San Diego.

"We'll talk about it tomorrow," the mayor said. "I appreciate the objective way of putting it, a business trip which is to get jobs to San Diego as junket, but I'll remember that."

When pressed for further trip information, he answered, "No other questions."

Sources inside City Hall said the mayor took two members of his security detail on the Paris trip. The same sources said it cost the city tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the officers' hotels, flights and meals.

Filner refused to answer questions about how much the Paris trip cost and who paid for it, and he reminded Team 10 about the rules he set up at the beginning of the news conference on the annual tournament.

"We set certain rules up and if you don't want to abide by the rules, you don't have to be here," Filner said.

Team 10 has asked for itineraries and receipts for the mayor and his security officers on the trip to Paris. As of Thursday afternoon, those records have not been provided.

The San Diego Police Department referred all questions about the security detail to the mayor's office.

Filner said he would answer Team 10's questions on Friday during a meeting with all press members who wish to attend.



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