LOS ANGELES — As part of an agreement with city officials, the mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, was expected to resign Friday, ending the turmoil over accusations that he sexually harassed more than a dozen women, officials close to the mediation effort said Thursday.
Filner’s resignation would end his eight-month tenure as the city’s first elected Democratic mayor in more than 20 years and force a new election to pick a replacement.
A lawyer for the former aide to Filner whose lawsuit against him and the city brought the sexual-harassment charges to public light said Thursday that she had not agreed to any settlement and expected to move forward with the lawsuit.
Local officials, including two City Council members and the city attorney, were part of a three-day mediation effort led by a retired federal judge, and they announced the deal late Wednesday. Filner, 70, was seen taking boxes out of his office shortly afterward but did not make any public appearances Thursday.
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The City Council is expected to meet Friday afternoon to approve the deal, which is said to include paying for at least part of Filner’s legal fees in the sexual-harassment suit. Eighteen women have come forward in the past six weeks to accuse him of sexual harassment, including during the 20 years he spent in Washington as a congressman representing San Diego before becoming mayor.
Republican Councilman Mark Kersey said Thursday that Filner’s resignation was nonnegotiable. “Without his resignation being part of it, it’s a nonstarter,” he said.
The accusations against Filner include groping and forcibly kissing the women. He had consistently refused to step down, saying had not broken the law. But calls for his resignation had grown louder in recent weeks.
Organizers began collecting signatures Sunday to force a recall election against Filner.
If Filner resigns, a special election would be held in the next 90 days, which county officials said would cost $3 million to $6 million, the same as a recall election.
The women who said they were harassed include a retired Navy rear admiral, a great-grandmother, a university dean and Filner’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who filed the sexual-harassment lawsuit against the mayor and the city. She has said Filner told her he wanted to see her naked, asked her to work without underwear and once placed his arm around her neck and dragged her around while whispering sexual comments to her.
Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing McCormack Jackson, said Thursday that she had no details of the arrangement struck between Filner and city officials, but that any resignation deal to pay for Filner’s legal fees and liabilities would amount to a “callous and unholy agreement.”