SAN DIEGO (AP) — The fate of the mayor of the nation's eighth largest city was in limbo Wednesday with no resolution over a sexual harassment lawsuit that threatens to oust the 70-year-old former congressman.
A petition drive to recall Mayor Bob Filner was in full swing, and calls from his own party urging him to step down were mounting with the Democratic National Committee planning to vote on a resolution Friday. The measure would formalize a plea to Filner to leave office and also would condemn anyone who creates a hostile workplace or sexually harasses women or men.
Filner has been besieged by sexual harassment allegations from more than a dozen women.
Settlement talks were set to resume for a third day. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith hinted at the end of Tuesday's all-day session of mediation that it could take time.
"Mediation can be a long process — we are in that process," he told reporters waiting outside the downtown office building.
It was unclear whether Filner's potential resignation was being discussed as part of the bargaining.
Carl Luna, a political science professor at Mesa College, said Filner may be still fighting to stay in office or he may be trying to negotiate a deal that would limit his financial liability in the lawsuit if he agrees to resign.
"Oddly enough the person holding the most cards is Bob Filner, because he's the one in position to end all this," Luna said.
Those at the negotiating table say they have been told not to comment while the talks are ongoing. Filner has been attending the talks along with Goldsmith, City Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
Gloria would serve as acting mayor if Filner resigns.
Attorney Gloria Allred and her client, Irene McCormack Jackson, attended the first day of talks and were in communication but not physically present with the parties on Tuesday.
Filner's former communications director, McCormack, as she is known professionally, was the first to go public with allegations against him. Other accusers include a university dean and a retired Navy rear admiral. Some contend he cornered, groped and forcibly kissed them.
Filner announced three weeks ago that he would undergo therapy after acknowledging he has disrespected and intimidated women. He has denied committing sexual harassment.
Questions also have been raised over Filner's spending and a trip to Paris. He is being investigated over the various issues by the city attorney's office, state attorney general's office, Sheriff's Department and U.S. attorney.
Before going into therapy, Filner said when he returns his focus "will be on making sure that I am doing right by the city in terms of being the best mayor I can be." He has not issued a statement since returning.
Recall organizers must collect 101,597 signatures of registered San Diego voters by Sept. 26. If the petition has fewer than that, the recall campaign will have 30 more days to gather additional valid signatures.
If enough signatures are validated, the City Council must schedule an election within 60 to 90 days.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.