DeLeon Recall Organizers Allege Criminal Conduct - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/20/07

DeLeon Recall Organizers Allege Criminal Conduct

The Lubbock County District Attorney is now in control of affidavits alleging criminal conduct against Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon and City Secretary Becky Garza.  Those wanting to recall DeLeon from office filed those papers after demanding disqualified signatures be counted in their latest petition.

Armando Gonzales sent a letter to Garza last Wednesday. It says they will sue unless the office certifies more than 30 names disqualified on their second petition.  The letter gave Garza's office one day to certify those names, which didn't happen. Now, the group is pushing ahead with possible criminal charges, that stem from a comment made the day the second petition failed.

"She was asked by a reporter when she received the petition," recall petition co-organizer Armando Gonzales said. 

He is referring to August 21st, the day Garza announced the second petition to recall councilwoman DeLeon failed.

"She wanted the numbers and the signatures and depending on those results, she wanted to ask questions," Gonzales said.

He contends DeLeon had access to the petition before the names were certified.  That would break state election laws.

Here's what Deleon said that day:

"Yesterday, I came and picked it up at city hall because I knew that the results were going to be announced in the next day or so, and depending on the number, I needed to be aware of the signatures and maybe, if I had any questions that I needed to ask, depending on the results."

"We believe there's been influence," Gonzales said. 

"You have no business being where votes are being cast or in this case where signatures are being verified.  We believe that's what happened, on the other hand, we don't know all the facts. That's why we have to go this route in order to be able to answer those questions," affidavit co-signer Frank Gutierrez said. 

A statement from city hall says DeLeon did pick up a copy of the petition, with the same information organizers received six days before.  The city says DeLeon did not receive information regarding the identity or number of names that were declared invalid.

"It's a matter of honor for the people that signed the petition in good faith, and it's also a matter of our duty to be able to follow this process to the end and to be able to comfortably say that we tried and did our best and this is the outcome," Gutierrez said. 

NewsChannel 11 asked if this would be the group's final step.

"We will file a petition to recall again," Gonzales said. 

While the allegations have been filed, the district attorney has not filed any criminal charges against DeLeon, Garza, or the city.

We did speak with DeLeon on the phone Thursday, and she told us to refer to the city's statement.

NewsChannel 11 will keep you updated if any charges are filed.

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