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August 31, 2017
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The Daily Gazette has learned that a lawsuit has been withdrawn by Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver who is giving up on her efforts to prevent a recall from taking place in November.
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
Posted on August 31, 2017
Mayor Weaver withdraws civil suit to toss recall off ballot; Vote will happen in November 2017
FLINT — The Daily Gazette has learned that voters in the City of Flint will have a recall election in November to possibly remove Dr. Karen Weaver as mayor. An attorney for the mayor withdrew her lawsuit on Thursday instead of filing a closing argument on her case by Tuesday's deadline. Genesee County Clerk John Gleason said he will sign off on it, saying, "Let the campaign begin."
Gleason said he welcomed the news because he wants to get ballots printed in time for absentee voters to pick them up in mid-September. Mayor Weaver filed a lawsuit to challenge a decision by Gleason's office to move forward with the recall after Gleason had gone to court to ask a judge to remove City Councilman Scott Kincaid from the ballot after he filed to run for mayor and for re-election to the council. A judge ruled on Tuesday that Kincaid must choose one position by 4 pm on Tuesday, or risk being removed from the ballot. Kincaid is one of 17 who filed to run for mayor with the top vote getter in the field winning the job for the remaining two years on the four-year term.
Kincaid, who has been a city councilman in the 9th Ward for 32 years, told The Morning Gazette Radio Show on Wednesday that he isn't sure which office he will seek, saying, "I'm not surprised by the judge's decision, but I need to give it some serious thought on what I need to do because I owe it to the residents of the 9th Ward."
Mayor Weaver and candidate Don Pfeiffer filed lawsuits as intervening third parties on Gleason's lawsuit to remove Councilman Kincaid from the ballot. Mayor Weaver has not yet responded to an e-mail request for a comment but Pfeiffer indicated in a Facebook post that he may appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. Pfeiffer's campaign strategist, David Forsmark, has stressed that it's his opinion state law is clear that Kincaid should be removed from both ballots since he didn't pick which office he wanted to run for after the recall election was revealed.
"You simply can't be on both ballots," Forsmark told The Morning Gazette Radio Show in an interview before he was hired by Pfeiffer's campaign. Pfeiffer and Forsmark have not yet responded to e-mail requests for comment, but Forsmark did post a statement on Facebook, saying, "Of COURSE Karen Williams Weaver withdrew the lawsuit on the petitions. She hopes nobody ever mentions them again!"
The mayor was represented in the case by attorney Kendall Williams who came under fire at Monday night's Flint City Council meeting when Councilwoman Jackie Poplar asked for the administration to supply billing records for his services to the city. She wanted to know if his Grand Blanc law firm has been paid over a million dollars to represent the city since his cousin became mayor.
Williams has not yet responded to a request for a comment on the accusations by Councilwoman Poplar or about the mayor's decision to withdraw her lawsuit challenging what they contended were more than 1,200 forged signatures on the recall petitions. Gleason said more than 800 were submitted for his office to review and he determined that the accusations were baseless.
Arthur Woodson, who led the recall against Mayor Weaver, has not yet responded to a request for comment about the latest news that the mayor had withdrawn her lawsuit. He had called a police investigation "corrupt" during an interview on The Morning Gazette Radio Show. "They sent up witness after witness who told the truth that they signed the recall petitions," Woodson said. "They sent police knocking on doors of people and the justice department should take a look at this after what happened in court."
Two witnesses for the mayor's campaign testified that bribes were offered if they would stop circulating recall petitions. Mayor Weaver issued a statement saying the allegations were not true.
Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson did not want to comment about the court case until after reviewing a transcript of testimony. The chief said perjury charges could be investigated since witnesses came to the Flint Police Department with a different story than what they testified to in court on Tuesday.