Nathan Fletcher to resign from San Diego County Board of Supervisors
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has announced that he will resign from the Board of Supervisors, “effective at the end of my medical leave.”
Fletcher’s office announced he will resign on May 15, 2023.
According to the county Communications Office, a charter allows the Board of Supervisors to fill a board vacancy “by appointment, by calling for a special election, or by a combination of the two.”
The news comes less than 24 hours after a civil lawsuit was filed by a former MTS employee alleging sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation, sexual assault and battery, and whistleblower retaliation.
Fletcher was also the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Chair.
Fletcher admitted to cheating on his wife, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, but denies the allegations made.
Late last Sunday night, Fletcher posted a shocking message that he will be entering rehab to treat PTSD and alcoholism. But now, many people believe that was a last second attempt to get ahead of the news of the lawsuit becoming public.
The plaintiff, former MTS public information officer Grecia Figueroa, alleges Fletcher groped her on two occasions and pursued a sexual relationship with her for months, leading to her abrupt firing on the day Fletcher announced his state Senate candidacy.
Fletcher admitted having an affair but denied the allegations of assault and harassment.
He released a statement Wednesday saying he “made a terrible mistake engaging in consensual interactions with someone outside my marriage,” who is now seeking “millions of dollars from me and my family with the threat of not only embarrassment but a willingness to lie about the circumstances and nature of the interactions.”
“I have not done the things they are alleging, but I did violate the basic trust and loyalty of my marriage and set a terrible example for our children,” Fletcher said.
Figueroa alleges that beginning in 2021, Fletcher began “stalking” her social media account, then sought to meet with her privately on several occasions. On two of those occasions, she claims he assaulted her.
The complaint alleges Figueroa “was intimidated by the dynamic Fletcher had created” and says she “felt pressured to reciprocate Fletcher’s advances because she knew he had authority, as both a career-politician and as Chair of the MTS Board, to destroy her career at MTS and to potentially humiliate her publicly if she made him angry.”
She alleges that on Feb. 6, she was fired during a closed-door meeting and believes “that MTS terminated her employment because she was sexually harassed by Defendant Fletcher.”
The lawsuit filed late Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court alleges sexual assault and battery and sexual harassment by Fletcher. It also names the MTS as a defendant and alleges sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation, and whistleblower retaliation.
In a new statement released Wednesday night, Fletcher said he was resigning from the Board of Supervisors at the request of his wife, former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, to focus on his mental health.
“The strain on my wife and family over this past week has been immense and unbearable. A combination of my personal mistakes plus false accusations has created a burden that my family shouldn’t have to bear. I will be resigning from the Board of Supervisors, effective at the end of my medical leave,” Fletcher said.
Gonzalez posted on Twitter that she asked her husband to resign “to lessen the strain on our family.”
“I’m relieved he is finally getting treatment he needs. Thank you to everyone who has reached out today,” Gonzalez said.
MTS General Counsel Karen Landers said in a statement that Fletcher resigned from his position as board chair Tuesday night and that San Diego City Councilman Stephen Whitburn will assume the position in the interim.
“MTS is aware of the lawsuit from a former MTS employee and has engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. MTS does not comment on pending litigation,” the statement read.
Fletcher’s attorney, Danielle Hultenius Moore, said the woman’s allegations “are false and are designed to drive headlines and not tell the truth.”
The attorney said the woman pursued Fletcher, who “does not and never had authority over her employment.”
“We will aggressively fight this issue in court and the full record will show the truth,” Moore said.
In a statement via Twitter Thursday, county board Chairwoman Nora Vargas wrote that she was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations against Fletcher and supported his resignation. This is the first public criticism of Fletcher from Vargas. Many people online pointing out that it comes after he announced he will resign.
“We must work to create a safe environment for all the dedicated people who work in San Diego County, and I won’t accept anything less,” Vargas stated.
Supervisor Jim Desmond wrote that Fletcher’s resignation “was a necessary step for the future of San Diego County.” Desmond also wrote that he was “concerned and disappointed by the disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Fletcher.”
“It takes immense courage for individuals to come forward with such allegations, and we must create a safe and supportive environment for victims to share their stories,” Desmond added.
Desmond tweeted that it’s “crucial to allow the legal process to take its course, and for all parties to be heard.”
“As elected officials, we hold a position of great responsibility and trust and must be held to a higher standard of conduct,” Desmond wrote.
RELATED STORY: Nathan Fletcher admits to cheating on wife, now being sued for sexual harassment and retaliation
KUSI reached out to Mayor Todd Gloria’s office, and they supplied us with the following statement:
The accusations made this past week against Supervisor Fletcher and the Metropolitan Transit System are serious and warrant full investigations. They also have a significant human impact—to individuals, to families, to residents, and to organizations that are home to dedicated public servants.
Given what we know now, the Supervisor’s resignation was appropriate.
With that, I have full confidence in Chairwoman Nora Vargas to lead our County during this time. Simultaneously, I believe that Acting Chair Stephen Whitburn will guide the MTS board to properly address the situation.
While last week was full of disappointments, we cannot lose sight of our responsibility to govern and deliver for the people of San Diego. This is what I will continue to do as Mayor in partnership with Chair Vargas and Acting Chair Whitburn.
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