Nightly News   |  August 18, 2013

Embattled San Diego mayor refuses to resign

Bob Filner is scheduled to return to work Monday, but a city attorney could seek a restraining order barring him from city hall. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>>> a petition drive to remove the mayor of this country's eighth largest city got under way today. mayor bob filner of san diego has been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen women. our report tonight from nbc's joe fryer.

>> help recall bob filner .

>> reporter: with the cloticking on the grassroots effort to oust mayor bob filner , a half-marathon seemed like the perfect setting for organizers to start their petition drive.

>> i'm native san diegan , this is huge embarrassment for me.

>> reporter: today they kicked off their campaign with a rally, knowing they have less than six weeks to collect more than 100,000 signatures and put filner 's future on the ballot.

>> best for our city if bob filner were to move on.

>> reporter: so far, 16 women have come forward accuse the 70-year-old mayor of inappropriate comments and gestures. most recently, a 67-year-old great-grandmother who works part time helping senior citizens at city hall .

>> on the day that mayor filner grabbed me and kissed me, i was so surprised. i went home and cried.

>> reporter: filner 's last public appearance came in late july.

>> let me be absolutely clear. the behavior i have engaged in over many years is wrong.

>> if this were sherlock holmes , this would certainly be the case of the missing mayor.

>> reporter: on monday i filner filed a response to the recall effort, highlighting his accomplishments and making no mention of the allegations, but now, the city could try to remove him without a recall by investigating whether he misused his city-issued credit card .

>> he better show up at the office on monday because at this point in time, silence is not golden.

>> reporter: filner is supposed to return to work this week but the city attorney could seek a restraining order barring him from city hall , as the san diego saga moves from rehab to recall. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles .