Filner: “I’m not going to resign”
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego Mayor Bob Filner — facing sexual harassment allegations — said Monday that he will not resign and a “full presentation of the facts will vindicate” him.
“As your elected mayor, I fully expect to be accountable to the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions,” Filner said in a statement. “As a citizen of this country, I also expect — and am entitled to — due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to specific allegations.
“I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me,” Filner said.
He said those who had called for his resignation justified their demands by claiming that the city's would be compromised amid the allegations. In response, Filner announced he appointed former county Chief Operating Officer Walt Ekard as his interim Chief Operating Officer — a move he said was intended to strengthen city management.
Ekard in turn appointed the city's Interim Chief Operating Officer Scott Chadwick as his assistant chief operating officer, and named Interim Director Judy VonKalinowski as human resources director, according to Filner.
“Today's announcements make clear the operations of city government will not be negatively impacted,” Filner said.
Filner's refusal to step down came after his former fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, 48, told KPBS she recently broke off their engagement because he was verbally abusive toward her and blatantly sent sexually explicit text messages to other women. She said she also believed the 70-year-old mayor, who was elected in November, should resign.
In the statement, Ingram said Filner's ability to lead has been impaired by numerous recent controversies, most notably allegations that he sexually harassed women who work for and with him.
However, Ingram said that she has no direct knowledge of the sexual harassment allegations made against Filner by three of his former political allies: former City Councilwoman Donna Frye and lawyers, Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs.
“While I had heard rumors that he was engaging in sexual relationships with other women, I was never able to determine their validity,” Ingram said. “However, as Bob's behavior continued to become more aggressive, standard decorum seemed to disappear. Bob recently began texting other women sexually explicit messages and setting up dates while in my presence and within my line of vision.”
Ingram and Filner dated for more than three years prior to her announcing their split last week.
Filner has acknowledged that he failed to fully respect women but he denied sexually harassing anyone.
Frye, Gonzalez and Briggs held a news conference Monday morning outlining the claim against the mayor.