Whistleblower Account of Filner Behavior Appears to Involve City Schools Chief - Voice of San Diego

Bob Filner

Whistleblower Account of Filner Behavior Appears to Involve City Schools Chief

Legal declaration alleges the mayor disappeared down a dark hallway with a “high level education administrator.”

An incident reported by an intern between Mayor Bob Filner and an education official appears to involve new San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten.

A legal declaration from a former intern for Filner obtained by KPBS described seeing Filner come on to a woman after a press conference in La Jolla and discussing it with a member of the mayor’s security detail.

Then the former intern, Christopher J. Baker, said he saw something he called more disturbing.

Baker described a situation where the mayor was filling in on a morning radio show, and spoke with “a high level education administrator.”

“After the show concluded the mayor disappeared with her down a dark hallway beyond unlit cubicles (it was early in the morning and the show’s staff were not present),” the declaration reads. “As the mayor disappeared behind a corner, a member of the mayor’s security detail came running up to me and asked where he went. I responded by explaining that he was down the dark hallway with the woman, after which the member of the detail let out a defeated sign and awaited the mayor’s return.”

Baker did not name the woman.

But evidence points to Marten. Filner hosted an AM radio show on June 13. Marten appeared as a guest.

Baker’s attorney, Marco Gonzalez, declined to directly confirm whether Marten was the educator referenced in the declaration. But Gonzalez said he wasn’t aware of Filner appearing on the radio with any high-level education official other than Marten.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to go into the records and see who Bob has been on the radio with,” said Gonzalez, who was among the original group of three to ask Filner to step down.

Marten, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

Another guest on the show said she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary or inappropriate between Filner and Marten.

Vicki Estrada, a planner who appeared on the show, said she believed Marten left the station once her segment was over. Estrada had arrived early and spent about 15 minutes with Filner and Marten in the studio.

“Everything to me seemed on the level,” Estrada said.

Estrada left immediately after her interview and didn’t see Marten when she walked out.

Baker doesn’t give more details in the declaration about what might have happened between Filner and the administrator, and there’s no indication that any sexual harassment was involved.

But Baker said that the incident made him uncomfortable and went against his ethics. He reported what happened to Filner spokeswoman Lena Lewis, who told him to report any subsequent incidents to her immediately, the declaration said.

Update: After this story published, former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña called to say Marten was one of the six prominent women she spoke with two years ago about Filner physically or verbally harassing them before Saldaña reported the issue to local Democratic Party leadership. The intern’s story, Saldaña said, “matches up with something I heard from Cindy two years ago.” Saldana declined to detail what Marten told her.

Scott Lewis contributed reporting.

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