Proposal reached in Filner mediation

City Council to vote on proposal Friday

SAN DIEGO - An agreement has been reached that could affect the future for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

Just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith appeared outside the downtown office building where mediation has been going on for three days to announce an agreement had been reached.

Goldsmith would not reveal any details of the proposal, but said an emergency closed-door meeting of City Council would be called Friday to vote on it.

Directly after the final day of mediation, San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman's chief of staff caught up with Filner at his chauffeured SUV just outside City Hall and recorded video of Filner with her cellphone that shows what appears to be several office boxes stacked in the back seat.

Just before the video was taken, Filner met with his staff.

"Supportive of his staff, acknowledged the work that they had done and indicated that there would be some kind of announcement on Friday," said former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre. He went through a similar process in 2005 with then-Mayor Dick Murphy, resulting in his resignation.

The question is: Will Filner resign?

"I would say things are tending more in the direction of his departure then tending in the direction of his staying," said Aguirre.

If Filner were to resign, a June primary and a November general election would follow, with little to no cost to taxpayers, said Aguirre. He added that it is a recall and a special election that would likely cost the city $1 million to $1.5 million.

If Filner resigns Friday, Aguirre says San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria would take over as interim mayor, but only if the council approved it and did not instead decide to vote in another council member.

"Whoever is appointed will not be able to run for mayor and so you may find that he may not want to serve in that position because he may want to be a candidate," said Aguirre.

Meantime, Goldsmith says the council will vote Friday at 1 p.m. on the proposed resolution that was decided on during the three-day mediation that wrapped up Wednesday evening.

Mayor Filner and his attorneys were present for the mediation presided over by Judge J. Lawrence Irving. Attorneys who have used Irving in the past tell 10News he usually charges $10,000 a day. Goldsmith, though, said he did this one pro-bono.

Also present were attorneys representing the city. During the first day, attorney Gloria Allred and her client, Irene McCormack Jackson, were also involved. Allred will respond to the proposed deal at a news conference on Thursday with Filner's ex-fiancée Bronwyn Ingram by her side.

Allred's client, McCormack Jackson, has a sexual harassment lawsuit pending against Filner and the city of San Diego. She was the first of 18 women to come forward since mid-July, accusing the mayor of unwanted advances, groping and forced kissing. Three of the accusers are city employees.

At issue was the city's refusal to pay for Filner's legal defense, and Filner's refusal to step down as mayor in the wake of a series of scandals that tainted his office and impacted the city's business.

Goldsmith warned reporters not to pay attention to rumors about the settlement, saying the parties involved were pledged to confidentiality.

Earlier in the day, Filner was back in his office at City Hall. Spokeswoman Lena Lewis confirmed in a text message that he was "hard at work."

10News spotted Filner as he was leaving en route to the negotiations a few blocks away. When asked if he had plans to resign, the mayor responded "It's nice to see you."

Filner's last public appearance was a July 26 news conference in which he announced he would enter an inpatient behavioral therapy program. Some witnesses reported seeing him at City Hall four days later.

Mediation had been taking place in a downtown high-rise, possibly on the 17th floor. The participants, other than Filner, have included Goldsmith, Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

While sessions Monday and Tuesday began in the morning, Wednesday's meeting did not begin until mid-afternoon.

Sources have told Team 10 that Filner's resignation was part of the talks. Meanwhile, U-T San Diego reported that a key point in the discussion surrounded limiting the amount of money that the taxpayers and the city would have to pay McCormack Jackson.

The mayor has apologized publicly for what he called a failure to respect women and for his "intimidating conduct." However, he denied his actions have amounted to sexual harassment.

Earlier this month, he voluntarily underwent behavioral therapy at an inpatient facility. His lawyer said the mayor was continuing therapy on an outpatient basis.

Filner, who is also mired in investigations over alleged misuse of city-issued credit cards and shakedowns of developers, has so far rebuffed calls from all nine City Council members, other officeholders and business leaders to resign.

While the mediation sessions took place, organizers of an effort to recall Filner circulated petitions around the city. They need to turn in nearly 102,000 signatures to the City Clerk's Office by Sept. 26.

They reported Tuesday that 400 petitions had been returned to campaign headquarters. With 10 signatures each, that made the total 4,000 - not counting the thousands of forms that had not been turned in.

The campaign promised a release of rough signature counts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

In the meantime, the pressure on Filner was continuing unabated. It was reported Tuesday that members of the Democratic National Committee will vote on a five-page resolution this week that demands Filner, a 10-term Democratic congressman, step down.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has demanded Filner resign, as have California's two senators and other Democratic legislators. The DNC is scheduled to meet in Phoenix this week. According to CNN, the draft of the five-page resolution states in part:

"We cannot reassure voters that a vote for a Democrat is a vote for a champion for women unless Democrats walk our talk on equality and take firm action in accordance with our values and stand up for women by condemning his behavior and calling on him to immediately resign as Mayor of San Diego."

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