Filner Accuser Reluctantly Donated $200 to Help Pay Off Campaign Debt

Filner Accuser Reluctantly Donated $200 to Help Pay Off Campaign Debt

A woman who accused embattled San Diego Democratic Mayor Bob Filner of “groping her backside” and making “unwanted sexual advances” reluctantly donated $200 in January of this year to help pay off Filner’s considerable campaign debt incurred during his successful mayoral run. 

According to Voice of San Diego, Sharon Bernie-Cloward, one of seven women who have publicly accused Filner of sexual harassment, made the donation as the head of the San Diego Port Tenants Association. Campaign finance filings released Tuesday revealed Filner had more than $100,000 of campaign debt that was ultimately retired. 

Bernie-Cloward accused Filner of sexually harassing her in 2010 and  “groping her backside” after a campaign event in 2012 that left her fearful. 

“I was left there startled and fearful. In fact, I actually had someone walk me to my car that night,” Bernie-Cloward told KPBS last week.

Bernie-Cloward told Voice of San Diego that she felt compelled to send the donation because it was a part of her job representing business owners along the port tidelands. 

“It was a typical campaign check,” Bernie-Cloward told Voice of San Diego. “My job is my job, and you’ve got to work with these people.”

She “reiterated that she reported the 2012 incident to the Port Tenants Association board when it happened” and “was reluctant to make her accusations public earlier than she did because the port tenants’ PAC backed Filner’s opponent, Carl DeMaio.”

“I guarantee you,” Bernie-Cloward said. “If I came forward at that time, they would have said that I was just coming to get him.”