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Calls grow for Fletcher to step down immediately from Board of Supervisors; second woman claims harassment by Fletcher

By Miriam Raftery

April 9, 2023 (San Diego) – The Metropolitan Transit Board (MTS) on Thursday announced that it will hire outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of sexual assault and harassment made by MTS public information officer Grecia Figueroa  against Nathan Fletcher, ([photo, left), who was chair of MTS at the time.

Grecia was fired on February 6, the date Fletcher announced his intent to run for the State Senate. Fletcher withdrew from that race on March 26 and announced he was entering rehab for PTSD and alcohol abuse. After the MTS allegations surfaced soon after, he  resigned from the MTS board and announced he will resign as Supervisor effective May 15.  Fletcher, who is married with children, has denied sexually assaulting or harassing Figueroa but claimed a “consensual” relationship.

Acting MTS Board Chair Stephen Whitburn issued a statement after a closed-door session of the MTS board,  Whitburn indicated that findings in the independent investigation will be made public. The transit board has also cut off legal support to Fletcher, who must pay for his own defense. ”Mr. Fletcher failed to act in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be in the best interest of MTS,” Whitburn stated.

Whitburn (photo, right) has that board members were unaware of the allegations against Fletcher until the lawsuit was filed.

However, CBS 8 reports that it has obtained documents indicating Fletcher and MTS Chief Human Reseource Officer Jeff Stumbo had received a letter from Figueroa’s attorney on Feb. 17, eleven days after Figueroa was fired, warning the agency to retain all information related to Figueroa’s “potential legal claims” including allegations of sexually sexual assault and claims that MTS “retaliated against Ms. Figueroa because she complained or otherwise protested against sexual harassment that was perpetrated against her.”

This week, a second woman has stepped forward to claim Fletcher acted improperly toward her when she was a  UCSD student intern with a nonprofit group, Three Wise Men. The organization was founded by Fletcher, a former Marine, to help military veterans.

The woman named Amanda, who asked that her last name not be disclosed, told NBC 7 that she traveled with Fletcher to Minnesota in 2015 as part of her internship. There, she claims Fletcher told her she was “hot” while a photo was being taken, and that he ran his hand over her buttocks. She also claims to have received  explicit text messages sent by Fletcher during the trip, including asking her for a massage.

Fletcher denied the allegations as  “false and clearly not true as verified by others at the event and emails at the time.”

According to NBC 7, the woman reported the allegations at the time to both the Sexual ASsault Resource Center at UCSD and to Kaylee Wilson, a Supervisor at the Three Wise Men Foundation.

Fletcher, who taught at UCSD at the time, responded to an email thread from Wilson notifying him of the allegations, which he called “unfounded.”  He claimed he counseled Amanda about being “too close” and then suggested, “Obviously, let’s not have her intern at 3WM anymore.”

Meanwhile, calls for Fletcher to resign from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors immediately, instead of waiting until May 16, have grown and now include prominent Democrats as well as Republicans.

Supervisor Jim Desmond, a Republican who represents large swaths of East County, posted on Twitter that Fletcher “should not be getting paid by the taxpayers and he should not be receiving medical treatment on the taxpayers’ dime,” referring to the PTSD and alcohol abuse treatment that Fletcher has said he is receiving.

Two other Supervisors, both Democrats, have publicly voiced support for Fletcher’s resignation, though Chair Nora Vargas has said the May 15 gives the County adequate time to prepare. Supervisor Joel Anderson, a Republican, told media, “My focus is on what is in the best interests of the residents of the Fourth District, and your question would be best directed to them.”

Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, a Democrat, told ABC 10 News that Fletcher should step down “effective immediately.” She voiced regret for her past support of his candidacy “while these women were suffering.”

Congressman Darrell Issa told ACB 10, “The County deserves a full and functioning Board of Supervisors. Nathan Fletcher’s inability to serve is preventing that from happening.”

Supervisors are slated to discuss how to fill the expected vacancy at their May 2 meeting.  

Without Fletcher, the board is split, with two Democrats and two Republicans. That could make it difficult to fill the vacancy by appointment. One option could be to name someone who agrees not to seek reelection, as was done when Sheriff Bill Gore resigned months before a primary election.

The other choice would be for Supervisors to require a special election. That would leave the decision on who should replace Fletcher up to voters in the district that he represented, but would also put taxpayers on the hook for the special election’s costs.







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