Petition certified, Coburn fires back at city

Published 8:18 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

GROVES — Results of a petition to recall Groves Councilman Cross Coburn show there are more than enough signatures for an election.

Groves Attorney James Black read the information presented to him by city clerk Kim Lowery before a packed room Monday. A total of 893 valid signatures from Groves residents was required and 936 were certified.

Attorney Jill Pierce, left, listens as her client Groves Councilman Cross Coburn speaks to the media after a council meeting where a petition to recall him from his seat was certified.
Mary Meaux/The News

Mayor Brad Bailey said in response that the citizens spoke and voiced their opinion and the issue will now move on to the next step.

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But Coburn questions why Bailey’s wife helped circulate the petition and why he and his wife signed the petition as well as questioning why council member Kyle Hollier circulated the petition and why council member Sidney Badon’s wife circulated the petition.

One of the biggest revelations is why Bailey allegedly contacted the Rev. Joe Worley of First Baptist Church in Groves who acted as middleman between the mayor, Coburn and William Howlett who penned the petition — with the deal that if Coburn made a formal apology and resigned then the recall petition would not be circulated. This was on or about May 4.

Coburn’s attorney Jill Pierce presented the media with a print out of a text conversation between Worley and Coburn where Worley assures Coburn that the petition will not be circulated if he agreed to step down from the position.

“But you can assure me that if I agreed to this they won’t be out there against your wishes getting signatures,” Coburn texted.

“Absolutely. I just talk(ed) the mayor and he is agreeable,” Worley answered.

A subsequent text from Worley said he had “Mr. (William) Howlett’s and the mayor’s word they will stand with you. Petition circulation has stopped.”

Worley went on to ask for Coburn’s trust in the matter and wanted to deal in good faith with everyone.

Coburn, in a prepared statement, called the whole issue a personal vendetta against him that started on a gay dating app.

“I was targeted. I am not sure if that is because the old don’t understand the young or because the old guard fears change driven by the young visionaries,” he said. “I’m not sure if it is because some straight people fear the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. I’m not sure if it has something to do with my response to being bullied nearly seven years ago. All of those things were brought up by petition circulators according to those who support me.”

Coburn came under fire after partially nude and nude photos of him taken from Grindr, a gay networking/dating app, were sent to City Hall and to local media anonymously asking if this was proper behavior for a city councilman.

Now that the petition has been certified, Coburn has five days to make a decision on resignation. He has said in the past that he would not resign but, he said, he has the right to the five days to ponder his official answer.

If he decides not to resign, the recall election would be held during the general election in November.