February 21, 2024
Nathan Fletcher. Picture by Salvatore Giametta

Former county Supervisors and Metropolitan Transit System Board Chair Nathan Fletcher had no involvement within the firing of a girl accusing him of sexual harassment and assault, in line with an impartial investigation launched Thursday by MTS.

The investigation additionally discovered that previous to the girl’s termination, MTS officers had no data of any form of relationship between Fletcher and Grecia Figueroa, who sued Fletcher and MTS final yr, claiming the ex-MTS chair groped her and sexually harassed her by pursuing a sexual relationship together with her for months.

Her lawsuit additionally alleges MTS fired her at Fletcher’s route. Figueroa was terminated from her media relations place final February, on the day Fletcher introduced his state Senate candidacy.

MTS officers alleged Figueroa’s termination was performance-related and denied any connection between the firing and the allegations towards Fletcher.

The transit company later retained Oppenheimer Investigations Group LLP to conduct an investigation into Figueroa’s claims. Based on its web site, the agency makes a speciality of investigating complaints concerning office harassment, retaliation, discrimination and related misconduct claims.

It’s 87-page report particulars interviews with quite a few MTS officers, all of whom denied having data of any type of relationship between Figueroa and Fletcher previous to her firing and subsequent lawsuit. In addition they denied Fletcher had any function in her termination and that personnel selections like hirings and firings are the duty of MTS’ CEO. Fletcher has stated he came upon about Figueroa’s firing after the very fact.

The report additionally said there was “important proof that Figueroa had efficiency points” and cited her efficiency opinions all through the years, together with an August 2022 analysis that states “speedy and sustained enchancment” in sure areas “is important to take care of employment.”

In response to the report, certainly one of Fletcher’s attorneys, Sean McKaveney, stated, “As now we have identified from the start, Mr. Fletcher was not Ms. Figueroa’s employer or supervisor, and he performed no function in her termination by any means. We’re happy that these information have lastly been confirmed and are actually publicly obtainable.”

Figueroa’s legal professional, Jessica Pleasure, stated that after reviewing the report, “we are able to’t assist however really feel unsurprised and dissatisfied. These purportedly impartial outcomes merely spout baseless `efficiency points’ as a method of avoiding legal responsibility when it’s clear that Ms. Figueroa was thriving at work earlier than Fletcher introduced his run for political workplace.”

Pleasure additionally criticized the best way the investigation was performed, saying it was carried out with out interviewing or consulting Figueroa.

“How may a good or neutral investigation happen when the sufferer herself isn’t given the chance to inform her story?” Pleasure stated. “It’s clear that MTS has engaged in practices designed to guard its personal pursuits, and maybe even the pursuits of former Chairman, Nathan Fletcher, reasonably than look out for its personal workers. We’ll proceed to uncover the reality and search accountability as this case proceeds towards trial subsequent yr.”

Lower than two months after Fletcher introduced his state Senate bid, he ended his marketing campaign, stating that might search therapy for post-traumatic stress and alcohol abuse.

Figueroa’s lawsuit quickly adopted, resulting in Fletcher’s resignation from the county Board of Supervisors and MTS Board.

Whereas Fletcher has acknowledged a relationship with Figueroa, he has claimed all interactions between the pair have been consensual.

Fletcher’s attorneys not too long ago launched a collection of messages between Fletcher and Figueroa spanning greater than a yr that they allege reveals a consensual relationship.

Since Figueroa’s lawsuit, one other girl has accused Fletcher of improper conduct when she interned for him at UC San Diego. A UCSD professor has since filed a authorized declare towards the county through which she alleges she was retaliated towards for reporting the intern’s claims.

Figueroa alleges that starting in 2021, Fletcher started “stalking” her social media account, then sought to fulfill together with her privately on a number of events. On two of these events, she claims he assaulted her.

The grievance alleges Figueroa “was intimidated by the dynamic Fletcher had created” and says she “felt pressured to reciprocate Fletcher’s advances as a result of she knew he had authority as each a career-politician and as chair of the MTS Board to destroy her profession at MTS and to probably humiliate her publicly if she made him indignant.”

After the allegations went public, Fletcher said that he “made a horrible mistake participating in consensual interactions with somebody outdoors my marriage,” who’s now in search of “hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from me and my household with the specter of not solely embarrassment however a willingness to lie concerning the circumstances and nature of the interactions.” Fletcher’s legal professional issued the same assertion saying Figueroa “pursued my shopper” and was wanting “to acquire hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.”

–Metropolis Information Service