By Ken Stone
with a small monthly contribution
Updated at 5:20 p.m. Jan. 8, 2018
Mickey Kasparian has settled civil cases against him brought by two fired women who accuse the San Diego labor leader of sex harassment or political retaliation.The lawsuits involve former UFCW Local 135 employees Sandy Naranjo and Isabel Vasquez — the first of four accusers of the powerful local Democrat.
“We mediated the Vasquez and Naranjo [cases] this week with retired Judge Ron Prager, who did an excellent job,” said Dan Gilleon, the San Diego attorney for the accusers. “I cannot discuss any of the terms of the settlements.”
The Vasquez settlement — dealing with her sex-under-pressure claims against Kasparian — was first reported Friday by The San Diego Union-Tribune. Kasparian has denied having sex with Vasquez over 15 years as alleged.
Kasparian, Vasquez and Naranjo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. But Gilleon, contacted by email, would say only that the Naranjo and Vasquez cases have “been resolved.”Gilleon would not reveal whether the settlements include a nondisclosure agreement “because that would be discussing the terms,” he said Saturday.
“However, I have never been accused of not wanting to speak to the media openly when I am permitted, but I am not permitted.”
He said mediation was “mutually agreed upon, and both sides shared the mediator’s fees.”
The settlements are official, Gilleon added. They canceled a Jan. 12 Superior Court hearing for summary judgment — a Kasparian request of Judge Ronald Styn to throw out the Vasquez case — and a March 2 status conference ahead of her trial.
“If there were any breach of the agreements, either side could go into court and file a motion to enforce under CCP 664.6,” he said. “That would be the only way the terms of the agreements would ever become public record.”
Naranjo — who in December 2016 became the first woman to sue Kasparian — alleged that she was fired by the United Food and Commercial Workers union president as retaliation for her husband backing a candidate Kasparian opposed.
A former Organizer of the Year, Naranjo was fired Dec. 9, 2016, from Local 135 and also claimed gender discrimination. (She later dropped a suit against FAIR, her union-within-a-union.)
Meanwhile, Gilleon added details to a court hearing assertion by co-counsel Manuel Corrales Jr. that Kasparian was under criminal investigation by the District Attorney’s Office in a case involving county deputy clerk Melody Godinez.
“The DA never discusses ongoing criminal investigations,” he noted. “All I can say is that when I read Melody Godinez’s deposition under oath, I emailed it to a sex crimes prosecutor at the DA’s office, who asked me to have Melody called SDPD and begin the process there.”
A San Diego Police Department spokesman late last month said no such police probe was under way.
Gilleon also took a shot at state and local leaders who in his mind haven’t properly denounced Kasparian.
“I wish I could say more, especially given the recent, public comments from people like [Assemblyman] Todd Gloria, [State Sen.] Toni Atkins, [county supervisor candidate] Lori Saldaña and Dale Kelly Blankhead [secretary-treasurer and CEO of Kasparian’s breakaway San Diego Working Families Council].
“If the public knew what I know, those ‘leaders’ would be paying a hefty political price for carrying Mickey (and his wallet) around on their hips,” he said.
On Monday, Saldaña took issue with Gilleon’s remark, saying: “I met with the plaintiffs in this case…. We had a long lunch over one year ago. I offered my support” and signed a statement calling on several groups to conduct a prompt independent investigation into the women’s claims.
“I don’t know what their attorney is referring to, or why he would make such a statement, then claim he cannot discuss it due to court-imposed agreements,” Saldaña told Times of San Diego. “That seems a very convenient way to prevent anyone from getting clarification or factual information.”
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