On Wednesday, proponents for the recall of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said they did not reach the required number or signatures needed that would place the mayor on the November ballot.
Proponents needed a total of 9,511 signatures by 5:00 pm on May 11 which they say they would have had if it had not been for fraud, withheld signatures by a signature collecting firm and theft of nearly $23k in funds. The group says it was in the verification process when they realized the signatures were not being turned over and the money was gone.
Here is a statement from the proponents released Wednesday evening:
Petition to Recall Antioch Mayor Does Not Move Forward
The committee to Recall Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was unable to submit the required 9,511 signatures needed to put the initiative on the November ballot.
Due to various reasons, including Covid and a paid signature company that failed to turn over signed petitions after receiving payment, the recall will not be on the November ballot. Signing efforts during this recall period showcased that close to 11,000 Antioch residents signed the petitions believing that Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is not providing good leadership for the City of Antioch and we thank them for stepping forward.
To be transparent with the community, due to what we believe is criminal activity and fraud by a professional signing company hired to assist us in signature gathering, paid signatures were not turned over or collected after paying over $23,000. In addition, over 1,500 signatures, gathered by volunteers, were delivered to the signature company, paid to validate as registered voters, were not returned.
All funds used for paying for signatures were contributed by residents, businesses and others who support the recall. The signing firm has not been responsive, has skipped town and is believed to be in another state.
Due to the Covid State of Emergency during this recall process, a request was made today to Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder and Antioch City Attorney Smith to approve an extension, allowing additional days to continue collecting signatures. There is precedence for approving a Covid extension, as seen with the approved extensions to the Governors recall attempt and other local jurisdictions throughout the state. Unfortunately, Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder quickly denied the extension request.
We would like to thank all of the volunteers, contributors and supporters who have participated and encouraged the Recall Antioch Mayor Thorpe effort.
We are now pursuing recourse against the signature gathering company and individuals responsible for what we believe is defrauding members of our community.
As we continue to investigate what transpired. We will be filing a police report with the Antioch Police Department. With this now being on-going investigation, no further public statements will be made as to not interfere with the investigation process.
Committee to Recall Mayor Lamar Thorpe
Check back for updates.
The recall has been a long process after Thorpe was originally submitted with his notice of intention to circulate a recall petition on September 24, however, Ellie Householder, city clerk, rejected the template on multiple occasions—she now potentially faces her own recall as she was served this week.
According to the Notice:
“To the Honorable Lamar Thorpe: Pursuant to Section 11020: California Election Code, the undersigned registered qualified voters of Antioch, in the State of California, hereby give you notice that we are the proponents of a recall petition and that we intend to seek your recall and removal of office of Mayor, in Antioch, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.
The grounds for this recall are as follows:
Disrespect for Council Members and the Public who disagree with you during City Council meetings. Blocking constituents and not allowing them to comment on your social media. You have failed to provide full support to the great men and women of the Antioch Police Department which is impeding their ability to keep our residents safe. As a result of your failed leadership it has led to the resignation of the Police Chief Tammany Brooks who will be taking up a new post in Boise, Idaho; and the announced retirement of Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal. You put on the council agenda to rescind the School Resource Officer Grant without any public input from the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board or Administration after the officers had been interviewed and selected. You mislead the public about when you were informed about the death of Angelo Quintos, when you had earlier received an email from Chief Brooks. You blamed business owners on Sycamore Drive for the crimes that are being committed by others that live nearby which does not reflect Antioch’s theme “Opportunity Lives Here”.