SAN DIEGO — A weekend announcement from San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher stating that he will be seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress, trauma, and alcohol abuse, has resulted in the disclosure of a sexual harassment lawsuit, Fletcher’s resignation and a second woman coming forward accusing Fletcher of inappropriate actions while she worked with him.
Sunday, March 26: San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Sunday night he would check into a treatment center for post-traumatic stress, trauma, and alcohol abuse.
Wednesday, March 29 (morning): Three days after announcing that he would be seeking help for alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the military, and issues from childhood trauma and that he would forgo a run for State Senate to focus on his health, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher issued a statement Wednesday morning admitting to an extra-marital affair and denying allegations that he pursued the woman or used his power to persuade her to have an affair with him.
Wednesday, March 29: Details come out on the allegations against Fletcher that are listed in Grecia Figueroa's lawsuit, including messages that Fletcher sent her in the months leading up to the harassment and assault.
Wednesday, March 29 (evening): Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced that he will resign from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors position "effective at the end of my medical leave. I will focus solely on getting healthy and being a good husband, father and friend."
Thursday, March 30 (morning): James Canning the Director of Communications for the Office of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher confirmed the timeline of Fletcher's plans for resignation, saying: "Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has resigned and notified the County of San Diego that the effective date for resignation will be on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 5:00 p.m."
Thursday, March 30: A former intern working for Fletcher’s non-profit, The Three Wise Men Foundation, says Fletcher was inappropriate with her and inappropriately touched her in the fall of 2015. Amanda says she filed a report at UC San Diego with the Sexual Assault Resource Center after it happened.
Fletcher's resignation from County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced that he will resign from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors following a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and sexual assault effective at the end of his medical leave.
Fletcher issued the following statement on Wednesday evening:
“The strain on my wife and family over this past week has been immense and unbearable. A combination of my personal mistakes plus false accusations has created a burden that my family shouldn’t have to bear. I will be resigning from the Board of Supervisors, effective at the end of my medical leave. I will focus solely on getting healthy and being a good husband, father and friend.
I am grateful to my constituents for the honor of serving you, my incredible team who worked tirelessly to make a real difference, and our county workers who put it all on the line for those most in need everyday. I am proud of what we accomplished together. My decision today is solely based on what is best for my family.”
On Thursday morning Fletcher's office cleared up the confusion on when he plans for the resignation to take effect. James Canning, Director of Communications for Fletcher's office released a statement saying:
"We have received several media inquiries about when Supervisor Nathan Fletcher's resignation will take effect. For you to use for your reporting, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has resigned and notified the County of San Diego that the effective date for resignation will be on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 5:00 p.m."
Fletcher accused by a second woman
In addition to the lawsuit filed by Figueroa alleging harassment and assault, a second woman has come forward accusing Fletcher of inappropriate actions while she worked with him. This second accuser was initially reported by SanDiegoVille.com and the details were independently confirmed by CBS8.
Amanda Mansoorbakht, a former intern working for Fletcher’s non-profit, The Three Wise Men Foundation, says Fletcher was inappropriate with her and inappropriately touched her in the fall of 2015. Mansoorbakht says she filed a report at UC San Diego with the Sexual Assault Resource Center after it happened.
WATCH RELATED: Nathan Fletcher facing allegations of sexual misconduct from second woman
Through an email obtained by CBS 8 from Fletcher’s office, a county staffer told Fletcher that the intern made some “bizarre accusations” and Fletcher made her feel uncomfortable.
Mansoorbakht, now 27 years old, told CBS 8 that she is currently seeking counsel.
CBS 8 reached out to Fletcher's office for comment regarding the accusation by Mansoorbakht and received the following statement: “These accusations are false and clearly not true as verified by others at the event and emails from the time. This is just piling onto an existing media frenzy.”
The lawsuit | "Fletcher Begins to Stalk Figueroa Online"
Meanwhile, the allegations against Fletcher were listed in Grecia Figueroa's lawsuit, including messages that Fletcher sent her in the months leading up to the harassment and assault.
Beginning in May 2021, Figueroa says that she noticed Supervisor Fletcher had viewed many of her social posts on Instagram, some of which were of her in a bikini, on trips, or of her dancing.
Not long after, Figueroa claims that Fletcher began to look at her and smile at her while at MTS board meetings.
Stated in the lawsuit, "Around that same time, [she] also noticed Fletcher paying closer attention to her during MTS board meetings and news conferences. He sometimes stared or smiled at her where she sat, which was usually in the back of the room, beyond the cameras and the audience. [She] found it odd because, other than Fletcher spending so much time on her Instagram account, the two barely knew each other. In fact, the only reason [she] even knew that Fletcher was viewing her profile was through notifications she received from the social media application itself; and even then, she wondered if it was really him, or merely a staffer who had access to his account."
Those questions, alleges the lawsuit, were answered not long after when in October 2021 Fletcher participated in an Instagram poll that Figueroa posted on her personal account.
The following month, Figueroa says Fletcher began reacting to her social posts. Then, in February 2022, the supervisor approached her in the parking lot after a press conference and put his arm around her.
Reads the lawsuit, "In addition to catching [her] by surprise, Fletcher’s interaction also confirmed that he was indeed the person who had been stalking her Instagram profile for the past six to nine months. Immediately after their interaction, Fletcher sent a private, direct message through Instagram, saying, 'Nice to see you!'"
Days later Fletcher, according to the lawsuit, sent her more messages, one stating that in "a previous life, I was a human intelligence operative - Yemen, Somalia, etc. I really miss the international stuff. Not that local government isn't exciting," followed by a happy face emoticon.
In the messages posted to the lawsuit, Fletcher told Figueroa that he "was home alone."
He quipped about meeting her in a "closet" to avoid any public sighting and urged her to delete the messages.
In May of that month, Figueroa claims that Fletcher lured her to his downtown hotel where the two met for a beer in a stairwell.
Also included in the lawsuit, "Fletcher then confessed to stalking [the woman's] Instagram account and obsessing over her for at least a year. He said he had a crush on her, and he encouraged her to have a few drinks so they could continue talking."
That is when, according to the complaint, Figueroa says Fletcher grabbed her and kissed her.
She says Fletcher continued to make advances and contact her on social media. At some points, her bosses at MTS appeared to catch wind of the inappropriate relationship.
Yet, despite her attempts to stop the interactions, Figueroa says Fletcher continued and during a December 2022 MTS board meeting met her inside a conference room and sexually assaulted her, groping her and ripping off her clothing.
"[She] was shocked, scared, and humiliated – not only from being sexually objectified but from the reality that this was happening in an MTS conference room, immediately adjacent to the MTS Boardroom where a committee meeting had just concluded. This was simply not something [she] was comfortable doing. She (again) pushed Fletcher back, told him she was too nervous, and insisted that he stop or she would leave, at which point Fletcher allowed her to put her clothes back together," reads the lawsuit.
On January 26, 2023, Figueroa said the interactions stopped.
Fletcher announced his candidacy for the state senate on February 6, 2023. Moments after the announcement Figueroa says MTS's Chief Human Resources called her into his office and fired her without cause.
Figueroa hired an attorney and thus began two months of negotiations between the two sides.
Those negotiations turned heated.
According to the lawsuit, "On March 26, 2023, Fletcher’s counsel conveyed that Fletcher and his wife, Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, intended to sue the woman (and her counsel) for extortion if [she] filed a civil suit to vindicate her rights as alleged herein. In addition, they stated they would make her 'look terrible, and it’s going to follow her for the rest of her life.'
The same day, Fletcher announced that he was withdrawing from the state senate race and entering into rehab for PSTD, childhood trauma, and alcoholism.
In a statement to CBS 8, a spokesperson for MTS said the agency is aware of the lawsuit from the former employee and "has engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. MTS does not comment on pending litigation. Last night, Nathan Fletcher resigned from his position as Board Chair. Stephen Whitburn will act as Chair pending Board action."
Thursday, March 30, MTS provided the following, saying: The following information is provided to be as transparent as possible without pre-judging matters that are still the subject of investigation and factfinding."
The termination of Grecia Figueroa was solely related to ongoing performance concerns and followed MTS’s normal practice of documenting such concerns and attempting to work with the employee towards improvement over a reasonable period of time. None of the decision makers involved in this personnel decision were aware of the allegations about Nathan Fletcher until after the decision to terminate Ms. Figueroa’s employment was communicated to her. Neither Mr. Fletcher nor any other MTS Board Member was aware of or involved in the decision to terminate Ms. Figueroa. The filing of Ms. Figueroa’s lawsuit on March 28, 2023 was the first time that MTS executive management was provided with the specific details of Ms. Figueroa’s allegations.
As this case is a pending lawsuit, MTS does not intend to make additional statements regarding the lawsuit and details surrounding it.
MTS investigation and legal representation
MTS has assigned this lawsuit to the law firm of Paul Plevin Quarles, which handles labor & employment matters for MTS. There is no set budget/cost estimate for this representation. MTS’s existing legal services contract sets hourly rates that may be charged. Since this matter proceeded directly to litigation, the investigation will take place as part of MTS’s response to that lawsuit. In every case, MTS must first conduct an investigation to understand the facts and the legal standards that apply. This also helps MTS determine whether liability is disputed, or if the case primarily relates to the fair amount of damages that should be paid.
MTS Chair appointment process
MTS Board Policy 22.6 contemplates that the Executive Committee appoints an ad hoc nominating committee to recommend a candidate to the Board. The Executive Committee also has the option of acting as its own nominating committee (as was done in October 2019 when Georgette Gomez resigned as chair). Staff expects to docket an agenda item for the April 13, 2023 Executive Committee meeting for that committee to determine how it would like to proceed. Nominations are then sent to the full Board for a vote. MTS’s enabling legislation requires that a chair be approved with a 2/3 vote. (Pub. Util. Code section 120050.2(d).) Stephen Whitburn, MTS Vice Chair, will act as Chair pending Board action.
UC San Diego Response
CBS 8 received the following from UC San Diego Thursday, March 30:
"Nathan Fletcher is not currently teaching at UC San Diego. The health, well-being and safety of our campus community members is our top priority. All allegations of sexual harassment and sexual violence are taken very seriously. CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center provides confidential support services to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. It is separate from university reporting, complaint and investigation processes. CARE provides information and resources about reporting options to those who meet with its office and can provide support and accompaniment if the individual chooses to make a report."
WATCH: Supervisor Nathan Fletcher seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, trauma, and stress: