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Embattled Democratic San Diego mayor Bob Filner, his offices reportedly swarmed by federal agents; investigators reporting to GOP Sheriff Bill Gore; and a sizable percentage of the town's numerically dissipated version of the Fourth Estate, continues to make national headlines.

Now one major Democratic operative, who has come out swinging against the putative U.S. senatorial bid of GOP congressman Darrell Issa, is raising the sexually harassing specter of ex-Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action star and politico who got his state job in a recall largely paid for by Issa.

(Issa was running in the 2003 recall himself, but dropped out after Schwarzenegger forces and others dredged up his “checkered past.”)

A statement emailed today by Democratic strategist Bob Mulholland begins, "I have known Darrell Issa for years."

Without Issa's $1.7 million to the Recall of Governor Gray Davis there would not have been a Governor Schwarzenegger

(Incidentally, Arnie still holds the record - 16 women came forward in 2003, accusing him of sexual harassment) and Issa spends millions of taxpayer dollars yearly to get on cable TV.

As students of recent California political history may recall, Schwarzenegger beat back a series of sexual harassment allegations leveled against him by disgruntled women in his past.

He did this in part by acquiring the services of Martin Singer, known widely as the "watchdog to the stars" for his aggressive defenses against such charges brought against wealthy Hollywood celebrities.

An example came in 2009, when the L.A. lawyer was hired by then-San Diego Union-Tribune owner Tom Gores regarding a story being prepared by the Reader's Don Bauder about allegations lodged against billionaire Gores, owner of Platinum Equity in Beverly Hills.

As Bauder wrote in July 2009:

The suit alleged that Platinum Equity “creates and tolerates a persistent, and pervasively sexually charged and hostile environment for women.” Moreover, “Sexual favors, the demand for sexual gratification and the payment of favors and ‘hush’ money are fixed policy and practice among PE [Platinum Equity] executives.”

The complaint alleged that Platinum executives “show favoritism towards female employees who consent to the employer’s sexual advances by rewarding them with money, gifts and travel, [meanwhile] promoting or rewarding women based on appearance and submission to sexual advances by PE executives, and financially supporting former employees to keep them quiet.”

Further, the company “intimidates, coerces or terminates female employees if they question or refuse to go along with the sexually charged atmosphere,” the Jane Doe suit alleged. It claimed that Gores and his top lieutenants had affairs with female employees and accompanied female assistants to strip clubs.

One of the plaintiffs charged that one executive “constantly made sexually charged comments at work such as, ‘Hey, do you want to see what’s in a man’s underwear?’ and ‘What do you say my hot dog goes between your buns?’ ”

In a filing on September 6, 2006, Martin Singer, cofounder of Lavely & Singer, said he had engaged in “extensive settlement discussions” with the plaintiffs’ lawyer and they had exchanged “various drafts of a proposed settlement agreement.”

The discussions ended after the plaintiffs’ lawyer wanted a settlement “with both plaintiffs simultaneously, rather than separately,” said Singer. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case on October 23, 2006.

Asked if the case was dismissed because Platinum had reached a settlement with the two women, Singer refused to say, instead responding that “the manner of dismissal was confidential.”

In the lawsuit, and in a letter sent to the Reader by a Platinum outside attorney, Platinum vehemently denied the allegations of wrongdoing. The letter from Platinum’s attorney pointed out that the allegations were not proved.

Mark Barnhill, a Platinum principal, responded to Reader queries with a written quote similar to what Platinum attorney Eva Kalawski gave to [CNBC’s] Dennis Kneale:

“Successful companies often become targets for gratuitous lawsuits filled with unfounded allegations. Platinum has not been immune. Fortunately, we have only had to deal with a handful of these in our 14 years of operation.”

Prior to publication of Bauder’s story, Singer dispatched a letter in which he issued a series of legal threats against the Reader.

Among many things, the letter warned that if significant facts were omitted from a Reader story or if the story implied that the charges were true, Platinum would file a defamation suit “giving rise to potentially astronomical damages.”

Warning of “immense monetary damages,” Singer’s letter admonished, “You proceed at your peril.”

That drew reactions from First Amendment experts interviewed by Bauder.

“I have never heard of one newspaper threatening another regarding the publication of any material, whether it was allegedly privileged or not,” says Wayne B. Giampietro, a First Amendment lawyer for Stitt, Klein, Daday, Aretos & Giampietro of Rolling Meadows, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

“I know of no basis on which an attorney can write a threatening letter to some party he does not represent and then [contend] that the recipient cannot quote from the letter. All of this sounds like a very clumsy attempt at intimidation.”

The story ran without further incident.

Singer has also done battle with famed sexual harassment plaintiffs' attorney Gloria Allred - currently handling several anti-Filner allegations - in the case of Rhonda Miller. The L.A. stuntwoman sued then-governor Schwarzenegger regarding allegations "he pulled up her shirt and suckled her breasts on the "Terminator 2" set in 1991 and fondled her breasts three years later during the filming of "True Lies," according to a 2011 L.A. Times report.

Miller said that over the years, she had considered suing Schwarzenegger, but it was only after he denied allegations of similar misconduct, reported by The Times, that she decided to go public with her accusations.

According to the paper's account, Miller sued the governor for defamation after his campaign "sent out an e-mail urging reporters to check her name on criminal records. The e-mail implied that Miller had a criminal background." The charges turned out to be untrue, but a judge ultimately ruled that Schwarzenegger wasn't responsible.

On July 2, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert L. Hess dismissed Miller's suit.

"The evidence before the court establishes that Mr. Schwarzenegger neither knew of nor approved the text of the disputed e-mail before it was sent," the judge wrote.

Hess awarded Schwarzenegger the right to collect legal fees from Miller. Her attorney, Gloria Allred, vowed to appeal. But under the agreement announced Thursday, Schwarzenegger won't collect the fees and Miller won't appeal.

"The case has been resolved," Allred said.

A raft of the ex-governor's accusers have variously sued him or related their accusations in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere.

He denied the charges and was elected governor, only to face the scandalous post-office revelation that he had fathered a child with the family maid.

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Comments

shirleyberan Aug. 13, 2013 @ 12:43 p.m.

Are you saying Schwarzenegger and Issa are the new "Twins"?

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Diogenes Aug. 13, 2013 @ 1:27 p.m.

Arnold came from Austria. He then lived in Munich. My relatives knew him well there. He was said the be a street walker who strutted his stuff and sold supplements door-to-door. Arnold took steroids, and, as Governor, accepted a personal 10 million-dollar contract from Joe Wieder's body building magazine to hype Andro, a steroid precursor, a product sold by the magazine. Arnold returned 9 million but kept one-million for his trouble. This was the largest amount ever taken by a sitting governor while in office in California, illegally, mind you!

Arnold publicly admitted to some real dog-pile action and multiple unwelcome gropings before the recall election!!!!

I'm glad that Issa disapproves of Arnold now, because Issa bankrolled Arnold's run and Davis' recall.

The recall of Davis was to save Enron money in the lawsuit against Enron. That's why Issa bankrolled Arnold. (Factoid, Arianna Huffington put some money into the recall as well. The mouthpieces were John and Ken at AM Clear Channel radio station KFI in Los Angeles, two well-known Republican apparatchiks).

When Arnold allowed Enron off the hook in Davis's lawsuit in the energy arbitration, the state of California lost over 9 billion dollars. Arnold settled the case for 10 cents on the dollar whereas it was the clearest case of ratepayer manipulation of energy in history. The deregulation was accomplished in Texas by Bush 43 and his cronies. Owners of the Enron stock included Bush and Rove.

Follow the money, folks. Same thing with developers right here in San Diego. To whose benefit?

Republicans are so impressed with money and celebrity that they allowed Arnold in. He claimed that Indian Gambling would make up the shortfall in tax revenues. The budget never recovered, and education and public health suffered.

But, but Filner ruined our beautiful City! yeah, sure right. I'll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.

It's always the same thing, the allegations about being "Gumby," in Davis' case. Bring in the big movie star. Overlook his background. Get the chorus crowing from the right.

None of this bothers Republicans. They are on their moral high-horse.

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KLoEditor Aug. 13, 2013 @ 1:34 p.m.

So it looks like Allred has a less than stellar record representing her clients in sexual harassment cases. Filner's people never had much to worry about, anyway.

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monaghan Aug. 13, 2013 @ 3:47 p.m.

What a great story! Thanks, Matt Potter. This one's a classic.

Who knew that GOP Congressman Darrell Issa (Close that Post Office/Block that Obama) helped pay to turn out the lights on Gray? Not I. Who knew that the air at PlatinumEquity Union-Tribune was sexually charged? Not I. Who knew there is a damage control expert named Mr. Singer who threatened the Reader and Don Bauder with a lawsuit? Not I. Who knew that Tom Gores is to-die-for handsome? Not I.

Bob Filner could use the services of Martin Singer. I'm sure he's listed. Give him a call.

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photog921 Aug. 13, 2013 @ 6:40 p.m.

I never knew that the re-call was to save Enron money. But it makes total sense. I do remember that they got the public riled up about the car tax. Lesson learned: never to reduce a tax temporarily. The taxpayers will be madder than hell when it goes back to the original level. The election of Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most embarrassing things California voters have done in recent years. And the results were predictable. You can't make this stuff up.

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