SAN DIEGO -- Instead of showing up at City Hall as promised, Mayor Bob Filner was spotted Monday entering a downtown office building, apparently to engage in settlement discussions involving a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former staff member.
Also entering the building were two members of the City Council and attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Filner's former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson, in a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from Filner and the city.
Council President Todd Gloria, a Democrat, and Councilman Kevin Faulconer, the council's senior Republican, are set to meet with City Atty. Jan Goldsmith on Tuesday.
Goldsmith last week said that he expects Filner to either resign or be ousted and that he was working on a potential settlement to the lawsuit that would provide Filner with "an exit."
Allred declined comment Monday on whether the settlement discussions involved the possibility that Filner would resign as she has demanded.
The 70-year-old Democrat has refused demands from all nine council members, and numerous members of the the Democratic Party in Sacramento and Washington, to resign.
Sixteen women have accused Filner of sexual harassment, including three city employees, two military veterans, a retired Navy admiral, a nurse, two singers, two business executives, and two college officials. The harassment, they said, included unwanted touching and inappropriate sexual comments.
A recall movement began Sunday to gather enough signatures to force a recall election. Former Councilman Carl DeMaio, who lost to Filner in the November election, announced Monday that he will assist the signature-gathering campaign and urged members of the City Council to do the same.
But also Monday, supporters of Filner held a rally and news conference outside City Hall. Kathleen Harmon, a longtime supporter, told a small crowd that, "We're going to stand behind him. We ask him not to resign."
Rally organizer Enrique Morones, an activist on the issue of immigrant rights, ended the rally with the call, "Bob, get back to mayoring. We love you."
When Filner announced he would undergo two weeks of intensive behavioral therapy, he said he would return to City Hall on Aug. 19 ready to be "the best mayor I can."