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Coburn’s case made in court, magazine

GROVES — Judge Donald Floyd has granted a motion for reconsideration in a case regarding Groves Councilman Cross Coburn on the same day Texas Monthly published a story about what they say is a conspiracy to get him off the council.

In early October, Floyd, of the 172nd District Court, ruled that a case Coburn brought against the city and city clerk Kimbra Lowery be dismissed with prejudice meaning it was a final judgment and no more action could be made in the case. Then, on Wednesday, Floyd  ruled on the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and dismissed the case without prejudice.

Coburn’s attorney Jill Pierce said she was pleased with the new ruling, saying if her client does not prevail in the recall election she will file a declaratory judgment to declare the petition invalid along with contesting the election. Coburn filed a request for a temporary injunction Aug. 7 hoping to prevent the recall election from being placed on the November ballot. A request for a declaratory judgment was also filed because Pierce found “numerous improper signatures” on the recall petition.

Texas Monthly

The Texas Monthly story titled “Catfishing and Conspiracy in Groves” came out Wednesday and tells a non-flattering story about city officials trying to get the young man kicked off the City Council after nude photos of him were sent to the city and news media.

One of the issues in the story is the timeline presented, where veteran councilmember Kyle Hollier reportedly contacted resident Suzanne Williamson, asking if she would be interested in being appointed to Coburn’s Ward 1 seat should a recall election occur. That was two weeks before the photos were sent to City Hall.

Weeks later, Coburn was called to the police station to meet with Mayor Brad Bailey. Coburn brought along Pierce and it was then that he was made aware that the nude photos he had shared with a man through Grindr had been sent to the city anonymously.

Williamson is now running for mayor along with a second challenger to the incumbent Bailey. Hollier also drew an opponent in the upcoming election.

The future

Pierce said it’s hard to judge how the recall election will turn out but sounded optimistic this week.

“I feel because Texas Monthly got out a lot of facts a lot of people didn’t know about yet, it will show stronger proof this was a political smear that came from within Groves City Hall and that hopefully the voters of Groves will vote against the recall,” Pierce said.

While scouring through the 1,000-plus signatures on the petition to order the recall election, Pierce found a third forgery, she said. Two people have claimed their names were forged in the petition and filed police reports. The third did not file a police report but Pierce forwarded all of the information to the Texas Secretary of State’s director of elections.

“I thought the Texas Monthly story was very well researched and I thought it was fair and impartial and that Mr. (Leif) Reigstad did an excellent job summarizing the situation,” she said.

A call and an email were sent to Bailey and Hollier but were not returned Thursday evening.