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Ex-Mayor’s Shenanigans Cost San Diegans Another $667K

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The city of San Diego agreed to pay $667,000 Tuesday to settle one of the last remaining sexual harassment cases filed against former mayor Bob Filner.

It is the largest settlement the city has paid in litigation involving Filner. San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he expects the city will pay out between $1 million to $1.1 million in Filner-related cases, and there are only two pending cases left to resolve.

In August 2014, former executive assistant Benelia Santos-Hunter sued San Diego and Filner in state court after the city rejected her $1.5 million claim. The settlement scraps a trial that had been set to begin this past Friday.

Santos-Hunter worked for Filner for eight months as his executive assistant up until his resignation in August 2013. Her office was connected to the mayor's office by a private door and she interacted with him multiple times a day, according to Goldsmith.

"There was compelling evidence that she was a victim of sexual harassment over that time," Goldsmith said. He also said the harassment "occurred on a continuous basis."

In her complaint Santos-Hunter said that on Valentine's Day 2013, Filner told her "You need me as your lover" and "Be my Valentine."

On other occasions, Filner asked to see Santos-Hunter's legs and told her, "I am so good at sex," the lawsuit stated.

Like other women who came forward, the ex-staffer claims that Filner had trouble keeping his hands to himself.

On Feb. 25, 2013, Santos-Hunter said Filner asked if he could kiss her and tried to touch her breasts. The following month, he tried to get her to put her hand on his penis and in a separate incident asked her to take her dress off and placed his hands on her buttocks, according to the complaint.

Filner asked Santos-Hunter to kiss and hug him and propositioned her for sex, she said. Santos-Hunter also claimed he put her in the "Filner headlock" and said she was dismissed by city executive Scott Chadwick when she reported Filner's misbehavior.

The settlement is the fourth reached in lawsuits filed against Filner and the city.

Previously, the city paid $250,000 to Irene McCormack Jackson, who was Filner's communications director, and $99,000 to disabled veteran Katherine Ragazzino and her caretaker Michelle Tyler.

Peggy Shannon, who ran an information desk at San Diego City Hall, did not seek monetary damages in her settlement with the city. Instead, the city publicly apologized to her and declared "Peggy Shannon Day" in her honor.

The remaining lawsuits against Filner include one filed by Marilyn McGaughy, an anti-domestic violence advocate, and city parks employee Stacie McKenzie.

This past month, a ruling from the Fourth Appellate District found a lawsuit filed by Jeri Dines was submitted too late. Dines claimed Filner touched her buttocks while the two were at an event.

Filner recently made headlines when he told online media outlet Voice of San Diego that he "never sexually harassed anybody."

He added, "I said there was no sexual harassment and most of the things were made up, are fantasies. I have proof of all of this."

Filner has largely stayed out of the spotlight in the two years since he was kicked out of office. He now lives in Los Angeles.

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