SAN DIEGO — A City Council committee Monday will review ex-Mayor Bob Filner’s use of a city credit card and his trip to Paris, where he was accompanied by two San Diego police officers.
At the recommendation of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, the council’s audit committee is expected to request a review by city auditor Eduardo Luna to determine if Filner improperly spent public money. That could lead to legal action — either civil or criminal — against the ex-mayor.
“This public discussion is one of the first steps in beginning to restore trust at City Hall,” said Councilman Kevin Faulconer, chairman of the audit committee and now a candidate in the Nov. 19 special election to succeed Filner.
Filner, 71, resigned Aug. 30 amid accusations that he sexually harassed city employees, as well as women who sought his assistance on public issues.
Goldsmith, in a memo to Faulconer, said his office has “discovered evidence concerning possible misuse of city funds concerning credit cards, travel policies and other matters.”
In June, Filner was invited to speak in Paris at the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Other political figures from the U.S. also attended. While a member of Congress, Filner attended the annual rally on several occasions.
The San Diego Police Department paid for two officers on Filner’s security detail to follow him: $21,244 for airfare, lodging and meals.
Initially, Filner said his expenses — $9,839 for airfare, lodging, and meals — were paid by the Organization for Iranian-American Communities, which he described as a nonprofit group that supports greater democracy for Iran.
When it later surfaced that the group did not qualify for nonprofit status under IRS rules, Filner agreed to pay all but $440 of his expenses. State law limits the value of gifts to politicians at $440.
Filner’s then-fiancee traveled with him, paying her own expenses.
The couple broke up soon after they returned from Paris, just days before the first public accusations of sexual harassment that ultimately drove Filner from office.