Durfee said he confronted Filner and was assured not to worry. Durfee said he took Filner at his word, noting that he had no names or firsthand accounts and that Filner and Saldana had a rocky history.
Saldana said she suspected Filner may have escaped scrutiny because he was thousands of miles from voters and outside the media spotlight.
"In Washington, when you're one of 535 representatives, you're not under the same microscope. In fact, you're fighting for attention. That, in some ways, works to the advantage of someone like Filner," she said.
A mayoral spokeswoman referred questions for Filner to his law firm, Payne & Fears LLP, which didn't respond to an email or phone call.
As he won elections, Filner, 70, won admiration from voters for his work ethic and tenaciousness. He also had a reputation for demeaning employees and lashing out at perceived adversaries.
He was a fastidious boss, with strict rules on the size of paper clips and color of ink that employees used, said Thaddeus Hoffmeister, his legislative director from 2004 to 2007. Getting yelled at was a "rite of passage."
Filner paid unusual attention to individual constituent complaints, whether it was a missed Social Security check or a military medal that never arrived, said Hoffmeister, now a law professor at the University of Dayton.
Hoffmeister said Filner had a brusque manner and lacked personal skills, but he never saw or heard him behave inappropriately toward women.
Bronwyn Ingram, who ended her engagement to the twice-divorced mayor just before the scandal erupted, has said Filner turned more aggressive, sending sexually explicit text messages to other women and asking them on dates in her presence.
Filner's world began to unravel at a June 20 staff meeting when his deputy chief of staff, Allen Jones, and his communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, confronted him over his behavior and quit.