A Filipina has accused the city mayor of Carson, California of sexual harassment.
Monette Gavino, accompanied by her supporters, faced off against Carson City Hall, narrating her grievance during a public comment period on Tueday. Embattled mayor Albert Robles slapped a defamation lawsuit against Gavino after her 5-minute speech.
“I’m suing you for malicious prosecution and defamation. You’ve been served,” the mayor said.
“It is the right time to do it because I know they will be after me every time because this is election time,” said Gavino, a former field representative for the city, said.
Gavino last year filed a lawsuit against Mayor Robles for allegedly making a series of unwanted sexual advances in 2014. A few weeks after filing the complaint, she was laid off in July 2015.
The original lawsuit filed against the city included wrongful termination, sexual and gender harassment, and emotional distress.
Before Gavino was fired, her boyfriend, City Manager Jim Dear was going through his own ousting. During that period, Gavino was accused by city employees of harassing and intimidating other workers on Dear’s behalf. That led to a restraining order against Gavino.
Robles denied the allegations saying they were all part of politics as Dear, a former mayor, eyes a return to the City Council during the November election.
“It’s part of nasty politics, part of dirty politics in Carson. It’s very hard to move on,” he said.
Last week, Robles and the City Council released a statement saying that Gavino dropped the lawsuit on the eve of a deposition because her lawyers had fired her when she feared testifying under oath.
However, she claims she withdrew the lawsuit over financial difficulties but says after she regroups, she will refile the suit.
While Gavino had a few dozen friends at her side, backers of the mayor also took turns at the podium pledging their support for him while also throwing their own allegations at Gavino.