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MTS Board of Directors approve independent investigation after Fletcher sexual misconduct lawsuit

Posted at 1:52 PM, Apr 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-06 21:56:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The MTS Board of Directors announced Thursday they will order an independent investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the agency and former Board Chair Nathan Fletcher.

The investigation will be separate from the investigation that MTS will have their legal team conduct.

Acting Chair Steven Whitburn addressed the media after the more than two hour closed session meeting. He says the Board of Directors will immediately begin the process of finding an outside counsel and start the investigation.

“It is the board’s intent that the findings of the investigation will be made public,” says Whitburn. “The board also instructed counsel not to protect any requests to indemnify or defend Nathan Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher failed to act in good faith, and in a manner we believe to be, in the best interest of MTS.”

"After discussion, the Board of Directors decided that we will hire an outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation and report its findings directly to the Board.  We will begin the process of selecting outside counsel and beginning the investigation immediately.  It is the Board’s intent that the findings of the investigation will be made public.

The Board has instructed counsel to reject any request to indemnify or defend Nathan Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher failed to act in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be in the best interest of MTS.

MTS is moving forward with our vital work to provide safe, reliable, efficient, and accessible transportation to our San Diego region. We remain focused on our responsibility to the thousands of residents, visitors, and employees who count on us every day."
MTS Board acting Chair Stephen Whitburn

This all started after former MTS employee Grecia Figueroa filed a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. She claims Fletcher stalked her on social media and sexually assaulted her.

Click here to read the full lawsuit.

Fletcher released a statement saying he had “consensual interactions” with Figueroa.

The lawsuit also claims MTS retaliated against her and she was fired shortly after she brought up her concerns.

ABC 10News spoke with Legal Analyst Dan Eaton who says it is not uncommon to have separate investigations. He says both will focus on possible gaps in MTS’ policies.

“The board sees itself as having a separate responsibility and one of those is to make sure that there is a high level of public confidence,” says Eaton. “The firm that MTS hired is really a great firm, but that firm generally represents MTS, and will presumably do so in the lawsuit.”

RELATED: 'His reign ends now!' San Diego County Board of Supervisors to consider how to fill Fletcher's seat

On Wednesday, ABC 10News learned of possible contradictions in MTS’ response to the allegations.

When the lawsuit was made public on March 29, MTS released a statement that read, in part:

“The filing of Ms. Figueroa's lawsuit on March 28, 2023 was the first time that MTS executive management was provided with the specific details of Ms. Figueroa's allegations.”

However, ABC 10News received a copy of a letter Figueroa’s attorney sent to MTS and Fletcher on February 17 detailing some of the charges, and asking MTS to preserve any evidence that could be needed in a trial. It also asked for her personnel file.

MTS says she was fired for performance issues.

The MTS Board of Directors will hold another closed session meeting on April 20. As of right now, there is no timeline on when the findings of the investigation will be made public.