Petitioner: Enough signatures for Groves recall

Published 2:51 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

GROVES — A Groves man who spearheaded a petition to recall councilman Cross Coburn said he has reached the required number of signatures.

William Howlett told The Port Arthur News that he submitted the petition and signatures to the city at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We have met the high bar for a recall by securing the required signatures to recall an elected city official,” Howlett said. “While our concern has been for our city, we are saddened for our council member. All of us must be mindful of the high standard God calls us to.”

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Howlett filed the necessary paperwork for a petition to recall Coburn on May 4 and had 20 days from that date to collected signatures from 10 percent of the city’s registered voters or about 953 signatures.

Coburn has been in the public eye since March after local media and the city of Groves each received an anonymous folder in the mail showing the openly gay Coburn clothed and shirtless as well as photos of male genitals taken from a dating site called Grindr.

Jill Pierce, Coburn’s attorney, spoke before the City Council earlier this month saying she believes someone on the council launched a smear campaign against her client.

Howlett said previously his decision to put forth the petition was in concern for poor judgment on Coburn’s behalf regarding the nude photos.

He also offered to withdraw the petition if Coburn would step down from his post; Coburn refused.

The timeline for certifying the signatures and other information was not available Wednesday night.