SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts is responding to accusations of the misappropriation of public funds and having an inappropriate relationship with a staff member.
A spokesman for Supervisor Roberts said he is confident that an investigation by the District Attorney's office into these accusations will confirm that Roberts did not abuse his position of power. However, because such an investigation could potentially lead to litigation, Roberts has been advised not to make any comment.
At a news conference Thursday, May 21, Roberts did not make an appearance, but rather had his spokesman do the talking, addressing a barrage of (sometimes salacious) accusations about the first-term supervisor's on-the-job behavior.
“They are false, defamatory and will be refuted,” said spokesman Gary Gartner.
The accusations were leveled by former Roberts' staffer Diane Porter who filed a claim against the county, requesting a quarter-million dollar settlement.
In the claim she states that Roberts created "a hostile work environment" in large part by allegedly carrying on an 'inappropriate' relationship with 26-year-old staff member Harold Meza.
“The impression that the staff had was that there was the beginnings, the inklings, the stirrings of a romantic relationship that was resulting in favoritism being placed upon this individual,” said Chris Morris the attorney for Diane Porter.
According to the complaint, during a trip to the Colorado River on county business the two shared a hotel room Thursday.
In response, Harold Meza released a sworn statement delivered by Roberts' spokesman:
“On that particular occasion, I was booked into a room with two separate beds with Supervisor Roberts. All that happened was that I went to sleep in my own bed, there was no sexual activity of any kind. Let me be perfectly clear about this, I am a heterosexual male.”
Porter also alleges that Roberts misused taxpayer funds by spending nearly $1,000 on promotional baseball cards featuring the supervisor. However, Roberts said he received the necessary approvals.
"There was no inappropriate use of county money to produce those cards,” said Gartner
In her claim, Diane Porter is asking for a quarter-million dollar payout. Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors said any legal settlement made with Roberts' former employees will be paid by Roberts' personal funds, not public money.