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.
That case is scheduled to go to trial on Friday.
Filner once made fun of Todd Gloria’s sexuality and told Sherri Lightner that he only hit on women to boost their self-esteem.
Burdick writes she was at a City Hall holiday party with 150 City Council and mayor’s office staffers and colleagues just days after Filner took office. Filner was unexpectedly invited to speak. Filner quickly made an awkward remark about how white all the staffers were. After that, Burdick writes:
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Bob Filner has been ill for a long time. He was carried through the world of politics not by his effectiveness or personality, but instead, it was by the policies he embraced. It is sort of like the proverbial pervert offering young girls candy from a lint lined pocket. It should be evident from the comments below as well as from anyone who has seen him in action. He adopted a populist persona to mask his real objectives. He has been like that forever. In his world, as long as he stuck with the liberal agenda, people overlooked his shortcomings as it was in their own selfish interest. I wonder if this book mentions the two business cards Filner apparently carried around. One was for those who wanted to talk policy, generally men and those he wanted to seduce, women, when they wanted to chat. Here Mr. Lobbysit, my aide will contact you about a meeting. To the others, a card that had a private number, give me your number and I will call you this Saturday night?
And yes, his supporters knew this was going on and was going on in Congress.
I can't believe that Filner's escapades only happened when he became mayor of San Diego. Was he squeaky clean when he represented us in Washinton all those years?
@Teri Merickel You may not be correct. This from a story told to me from a reliable source. I consider it factual.
When Aguirre was City Attorney, my source attended a dinner with Democratic political operatives from D.C. A prominent topic of discussion (perhaps" the" purpose for the dinner-meeting) was the refusal of a broadcast medium to carry political adverts from democrats. During that dinner someone mentioned Filner's name as a person, with clout, who could be helpful. The idea was immediately shot down, because Filner was said to be "radioactive."