The general counsel for San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System said Thursday that the agency has hired an independent firm to investigate allegations by a former employee against embattled county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Karen Landers, in a statement, acknowledged the legal case filed by by Grecia Figueroa, a former MTS public relations specialist who alleges she was fired due to whistleblower retaliation regarding her relationship with Fletcher.
“MTS is aware of the lawsuit from a former MTS employee and has engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. MTS does not comment on pending litigation,” Landers said in the statement.
Fletcher has submitted his resignation to the Board of Supervisors in the wake of the lawsuit, in which Figueroa accuses him of sexual harassment and battery.
The former state Assembly member already had resigned as chair of the MTS board. The week began with his announcement late Sunday that he planned to submit to treatment for alcohol use and PTSD symptoms and withdraw from a race for the state Senate.
Figueroa was fired Feb. 6 and claims that MTS “terminated her employment because she was sexually harassed by defendant Fletcher.”
Landers, though, outlined the agency’s stance regarding the termination, saying it “was solely related to ongoing performance concerns and followed (MTS’) normal practice of documenting such concerns and attempting to work with the employee towards improvement over a reasonable period of time.”
The attorney also countered the whistleblower narrative, saying that “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.”
She added that Fletcher and other MTS board members were neither “aware of (nor) involved in the decision to terminate” 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,” Landers said.
Then, citing the pending litigation, she said MTS “does not intend to make additional statements regarding the lawsuit and details surrounding it.”
Fletcher’s attorney, Danielle Hultenius Moore, called Figueroa’s allegations “false” and “designed to drive headlines and not tell the truth.” The attorney said that the woman pursued Fletcher, and that “we will aggressively fight this issue in court and the full record will show the truth.”
– Staff and wire reports