San Diego council accepts Mayor Filner’s resignation

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Businesswoman Dianne York, left, told CNN that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, right, put his hands on her buttocks during this photo op after a meeting in May 2013. York said there were witnesses. (Photo: CNN)

Businesswoman Dianne York, left, told CNN that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, right, put his hands on her buttocks during this photo op after a meeting in May 2013. York said there were witnesses. (Photo: CNN)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The San Diego City Council has accepted the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner amid a torrent of sexual harassment claims, the council’s president announced Friday afternoon.

Filner’s resignation will be effective August 30, council President Todd Gloria said.

The announcement came after the council approved, in a 7-0 closed-door vote, a mediation agreement in the case, Gloria said. Filner’s resignation was contingent on the deal’s approval.

For his part in the scandal, Filner said to the council Friday afternoon, “I offer a deep apology.”

Even as he apologized for his behavior, Filner said: “I have never sexually harassed anyone. But the hysteria that has been created is the hysteria of a lynch mob.”

[Initial story, posted at 3:54 p.m. MST]

Apologetic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was expected to step down on Friday amid increasing public pressure for him to resign amid a torrent of sexual harassment claims.

His resignation depends on the San Diego City Council accepting a proposed mediation agreement — a matter its members were to take up during a closed session, an official familiar with the negotiations told CNN’s Lindy Hall.

Besides his resignation, the deal may include the city picking up some or all of Filner’s legal fees.

“It is still our understanding that his resignation is part of the deal that the San Diego City Council needs to sign off on during (the) closed session,” the official said.

A high-ranking city employee, who did not want to be identified because he still works for the city, said that Filner held an “awkward” staff meeting on Wednesday.

“We expected more than what he delivered,” the employee said on Friday.

“He didn’t apologize to us for letting us down. He thanked us for staying and said he would see us today.”

Filner spent Thursday in private meetings in his office, and was expected to appear at the closed City Council session, the employee said.

Just before they went behind closed doors, the council members heard from dozens of San Diego residents.

Their remarks limited to one-minute apiece, some urged a resolution that included Filner’s resignation — a sentiment that in recent weeks has been voiced by all nine city council members, many prominent Democratic and Republican politicians and a vast majority of the public, according to polls.

And yet numerous speakers also rose to support Filner.

Scott Andrews claimed “everything but due process has occurred,” while one woman called what’s happening “a circus to get a good man out of office.”

A few offered sympathy for the council members, given what they and other municipal leaders have dealt with in recent weeks and the decision that lay ahead.

“It is really about the city that we all love,” said Laurie Black, a longtime civic leader. “And make your decision with the intentions of loving your city.”

The official decision on what happens to Filner is expected sometime later Friday.

City councilors and others have been reluctant to divulge details of the deal, given the guidelines set by the judge overseeing the mediation talks that took place over three days.

Lawyer Gloria Allred represents Filner’s former communications chief, Irene McCormack Jackson, who has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss and has spoken alongside several other accusers.

The attorney said Thursday that she hopes any deal struck will include his resignation, but no payments for the mayor.

“His parting gift should be good riddance instead of a handout,” Allred told reporters.

She added that Jackson had not dropped her case against Filner.

News of the reported mediation agreement came after an 18th woman came forward to accuse Filner of improper conduct.

Businesswoman Dianne York told CNN that Filner put his hands on her buttocks during a photo opportunity that followed a meeting three months ago.

York said the incident was witnessed by others in the room, who included her advisers and Filner’s.

Jackson quit her job and sued the mayor in July, saying he had subjected women to “crude and disgusting” comments and inappropriate touching.

Allegations from other women have included touching their buttocks and putting them in a headlock and trying to kiss them.

Amid the allegations, Filner’s fiancee ended their relationship. Bronwyn Ingram had campaigned alongside Filner during his run for the job as mayor, and was known as the “first lady” of San Diego.

In her first public comments since the scandal broke, Ingram said Thursday that she wanted Filner to resign.

“I’m hopeful that tomorrow will begin a healing process,” Ingram told reporters, “and that attention will return to the needs of the people.”

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