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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Former City Spokeswoman Who Claims Years of Sexual, Religious Harassment From Boss Says There's No Joy In $90,670.20 Settlement

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Rose Marie Dennis
  • Rose Marie Dennis
We've reported on how, exactly, the city managed to calculate the odd total of $90,670.20 when it decided how much was due Rose Marie Dennis. The former Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman claims her onetime boss, then-department head Yomi Agunbiade, harassed her both sexually and religiously over the course of two-and-a-half or three years -- even doing so in a series of disturbing typed and hand-written letters which she turned over to city investigators after filing an official complaint in March of last year.

If you're interested in where the 20 cents came from, click here. Dennis isn't. And she doesn't know how that was tabulated. In fact, Dennis isn't even certain if it was the city or her lawyer who first broached the subject of the monetary payout that was approved on Tuesday by the full Board of Supervisors. All she knows is, it wasn't her.

"I didn't file my complaint saying, 'Damn, I want to get paid by the city.' It was nothing to do with that," Dennis told SF Weekly. "The things that matter to me are the non-monetary collateral -- my reputation. I believe there were people who thought I was just some crazy old bat making this all up. There were people who think I did something to deserve this. And I didn't."

For those who think that, somehow, Dennis was out to chisel the city -- well, she says, they didn't read those letters. She's reticent to divulge too much of what the lengthy, written volumes contained, but did claim that Agunbiade chided her for not being sufficiently devoted to Jesus, criticized her appearance and choice of apparel, and penned "horribly insulting" things about Dennis' family members -- people Agunbiade never even met.

With "material evidence" in hand, it stands to reason that Dennis had a hell of a case if she wanted to take the city to court -- and get a lot more change than $90,670.20. When asked why she didn't go that route, Dennis replied that, if she wanted to make trouble for the city, she wouldn't have waited until after the Christmas 2007 tiger mauling and the 2008 campaign for a massive park bond to make her accusations. The notion of years of litigation is hardly appealing either.

"Am I relieved? No, I'm not. I'm still very upset," she says. "Am I vindicated? No -- I just need to get on with my life and put this behind me.

"What I wanted before I filed my complaint and after, the only thing I ever wanted was for this to stop and for me to be left alone to do my job," she says. "That's all I wanted. And I said that in writing. This all could have been avoided. This was all so avoidable."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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