San Diego MTS Said Sexual Assault Allegations Against Nathan Fletcher Were a Surprise; Letter From Victim's Attorney Contradicts

Nathan Fletcher and his wife, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. CREDIT: Nathan Fletcher/Twitter

Last week Grecia Figueroa, a former employee of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) filed a civil lawsuit against county supervisor Nathan Fletcher and the agency for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and whistleblower retaliation. Fletcher had suddenly dropped out of a California State Senate race and checked into rehab for what he said was alcohol abuse due to post-traumatic stress disorder just days earlier, but that reasoning was called into question when Figueroa’s explosive lawsuit was filed.


In the suit, Figueroa claims that she’d always had exemplary performance reviews and no ongoing issues at work and was fired the same day Fletcher announced he was running for state senate. She also claimed that when she filed a complaint with the appropriate authorities related to Fletcher’s conduct and her termination, Fletcher and his wife, California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, threatened to sue her for extortion and said they’d essentially ruin Figueroa’s reputation should she pursue the claim.

Figueroa then filed her civil lawsuit late in the day on March 28. On March 29, MTS general counsel Karen Landers issued a standard “no comment” statement, adding that the agency was investigating.

“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.”

While many journalists and members of the public thought that meant an independent investigation was taking place and that they’d be able to read the report, the next day, Landers issued a more detailed statement clarifying that it was an investigation in preparation for litigation and added a few more troubling statements.


The full statement reads:

“The termination of Grecia Figueroa was solely related to ongoing performance concerns and followed MTS’s normal practice of documenting such concerns and attempting to work with the employee towards improvement over a reasonable period of time.

“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. Neither Mr. Fletcher nor any other MTS Board Member was aware of or involved in the decision to terminate Ms. 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.

“MTS has assigned this lawsuit to the law firm of Paul Plevin Quarles, which handles labor & employment matters for MTS. There is no set budget/cost estimate for this representation. MTS’s existing legal services contract sets hourly rates that may be charged. Since this matter proceeded directly to litigation, the investigation will take place as part of MTS’s response to that lawsuit. In every case, MTS must first conduct an investigation to understand the facts and the legal standards that apply. This also helps MTS determine whether liability is disputed, or if the case primarily relates to the fair amount of damages that should be paid.”


At the time, it seemed like an odd and very risky move that could be construed as further retaliation and intimidation, and possibly defamation.

On Monday afternoon local newspaper La Prensa San Diego published a letter from Figueroa’s attorney to both Fletcher and MTS’ Chief Human Resources Officer – the person who allegedly informed Figueroa of her termination – dated February 17, 2023, informing them that the law firm had been retained by Figueroa to “represent her legal interests with regard to what we believe are unlawful employment practices committed by” both MTS and, specifically, Nathan Fletcher.

The agency had 30 days from that time to produce Figueroa’s employment records. During that time, did Fletcher tell MTS anything about what had transpired between the two? We know, as I reported Sunday, that he’d asked Figueroa to keep the story to herself while they attempted to work out a settlement. So either Fletcher told them what truly happened and they lied about not knowing about the specifics, or he didn’t tell them. Either way, they know that she had claims of unlawful employment practices and should have been investigating.



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