A New Accuser, A New Target

A New Accuser, A New Target

File photo by Sam Hodgson

Bob Filner

The sexual harassment scandal against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner continued to grow Tuesday with a former deputy campaign manager alleging that Filner publicly patted her buttocks and made a crude comment about her at a congressional fundraising dinner in 2005.

And the latest allegations implicate the mayor’s new chief of staff — the person now charged with overseeing Filner’s behavior toward women — as well.

Laura Fink, the former deputy campaign manager, told KPBS that she complained about the incident a few days after it happened in an email to Filner, which she copied to Filner’s then-congressional chief of staff Tony Buckles. From KPBS:

Buckles soon called, Fink said, to ask what she wanted.

“An apology,” was her response.

Fink said she ultimately received a mumbled, half-hearted “I’m sorry” from Filner, who added that Fink had misunderstood his intentions. Fink, now a local political consultant, said she didn’t go public with the incident sooner because she was trying to build her career and feared Filner would retaliate against her. Like former mayoral staffer Irene McCormack, who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner Monday, Fink wants the mayor to resign.

If Fink’s allegations are true, then Buckles has long been aware of Filner’s bad behavior toward women, something that’s extremely relevant now.

Filner re-hired Buckles after his former mayoral chief of staff, Vince Hall, resigned early on in the scandal. Buckles, a former Army colonel who led Filner’s congressional office for at least a decade, was billed as a sort-of “Bob Whisperer,” someone who could keep the cantankerous politician in line. Buckles was promptly put in charge of enforcing a new City Hall policy that keeps Filner from meeting with any woman alone on city property.

But Fink’s allegations raise serious questions about whether Buckles has enabled Filner’s treatment of women.

Buckles couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Update: This post has been changed to better reflect the nature of the allegations.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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15 comments
Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw

I'm not impressed with Fink's charges. Where has she been since 2005? Unless there are more complaints from current and recent employees and they pertain to things Filner has allegedly done since he became mayor, he's going to weather the storm without working up a sweat. The first law suit will undoubtedly cost the city some dough, but Bob is going to pick up Democratic support as soon as things calm down a bit. Remember, civil suits are backup up, and his case won't be heard for a year or more. Besides, Filner brought in Walt Ekard, which everyone is calling a masterstroke. After all, Filner isn't Anthony Weiner, right?.......actually, he's a lot worse if you believe these women, and I do.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

I'm not impressed with Fink's charges. Where has she been since 2005? Unless there are more complaints from current and recent employees and they pertain to things Filner has allegedly done since he became mayor, he's going to weather the storm without working up a sweat. The first law suit will undoubtedly cost the city some dough, but Bob is going to pick up Democratic support as soon as things calm down a bit. Remember, civil suits are backup up, and his case won't be heard for a year or more. Besides, Filner brought in Walt Ekard, which everyone is calling a masterstroke. After all, Filner isn't Anthony Weiner, right?.......actually, he's a lot worse if you believe these women, and I do.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Another woman with an unverifiable accusation, clearly the right wing conspiracy is in full force. Due process! Someone investigate this woman! Find out who is pulling her strings! Fight Bob! Don't give up the office! The longer you stay in office the better for the city.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Another woman with an unverifiable accusation, clearly the right wing conspiracy is in full force. Due process! Someone investigate this woman! Find out who is pulling her strings! Fight Bob! Don't give up the office! The longer you stay in office the better for the city.

Joshua Brant
Joshua Brant

Is this now in the sexual battery realm?

Joshua Brant
Joshua Brant subscriber

Is this now in the sexual battery realm?

SueNami
SueNami

"Buckles was promptly put in charge of enforcing a new City Hall policy that keeps Filner from meeting with any woman alone on city property." Doesn't that make for an interesting vision of the workplace around Bob Filner at City Hall? So not only does the City of San Diego have a three-foot rule for the women who work as dancers at the adult cabarets (aka "topless joints," "ti**y bars," etc.) around town, but now the City apparently has a three-foot rule for the women who work around Bob Filner. This is way too much fun. Bob, please stick around. You are the gift that keeps on giving.

David Crossley
David Crossley

Well, this is a fine kettle of fish...Interesting choice of a picture of Filner--the angle of the sun could be construed as the sun setting on the term of the mayor, and his political career in general.

David Crossley
David Crossley subscriber

Well, this is a fine kettle of fish...Interesting choice of a picture of Filner--the angle of the sun could be construed as the sun setting on the term of the mayor, and his political career in general.

David Crossley
David Crossley

Check the U-T San Diego website--the number is now 3.

David Crossley
David Crossley subscriber

Check the U-T San Diego website--the number is now 3.

David Crossley
David Crossley

Just continuing to build the case against Filner.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga

Not in this case. Statute of limitations has long passed.

David Crossley
David Crossley subscriber

Just continuing to build the case against Filner.

Randy Dotinga
Randy Dotinga memberauthor

Not in this case. Statute of limitations has long passed.