Jay Goldstone, who was the city's interim chief operating officer from December to March, said Filner's office, not a trainer, canceled a session about the city's sexual-harassment rules and training, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Goldstone had worked for Filner's predecessor, Jerry Sanders, and agreed to remain in his position for a while to provide continuity.
Filner also could have taken the training offered as a 2-hour online course, Sanders said.
"All you do is close your door and take the course," he said.
In a letter to the city attorney Monday, Filner's attorney, Harvey Berger, said the city could be liable for damages from a sexual harassment lawsuit because the 70-year-old Democrat never took the sexual-harassment training.
Berger said Filner did not receive the training because a city trainer canceled the session
"The city has a legal obligation to provide sexual-harassment training to all management-level employees," Berger wrote in a letter asking the city to pay Filner's legal bills to defend against a lawsuit filed by the mayor's former communications director.
On Tuesday, the city's nine council members voted unanimously not to pay Filner's legal bills.
The lawsuit was filed by Irene McCormack Jackson, who alleged Filner often put her in a headlock, made sexually suggestive comments and once asked her to work without wearing underwear, the Times said. Filner has denied he committed sexual harassment.
Filner has refused demands to resign. He apologized for treating women disrespectfully and announced he will enter a two-week behavioral therapy program.