Bob Filner’s former chief of staff Lee Burdick has written a deep insider account of the nine insane months Filner was San Diego’s mayor. Here are the five of the craziest stories from the book:
The mayor’s executive assistant got it worse than anyone.
You might not recall the name Benelia Santos-Hunter from the parade of Filner accusers that led to his downfall. But you can’t make it through the introduction of Burdick’s book without her story sticking in your head.
Santos-Hunter, Burdick writes, was subjected to near-daily sexual harassment and abuse from Filner. One time Filner grabbed Santos-Hunter’s hand and pulled it toward his crotch. And when she recoiled, he begged her to pull up her skirt. Another time, on Valentine’s Day, he kissed her on the lips before she could turn away. Then he locked her with him in his private office kitchen and solicited sex. That was just one of many times Filner went after Santos-Hunter for sex – including asking her to do it on the table in the mayor’s conference room and even chasing her around it. Each time she refused, pulled away and told him to stop.
Burdick says she learned the depth of Santos-Hunter’s problems with Filner from a colleague in the office while Burdick was serving as Filner’s chief of staff in the final weeks of his administration. Santos-Hunter had wanted to keep her story private, and at one point hired a lawyer to try and keep it that way. But she ultimately told her story to state investigators and later filed a lawsuit against him.