Los Alamos resident Greg White has filed petitions for the recall of Los Alamos County Councilors, Susan O’Leary, Antonio Maggiore and Rick Reiss.
The petitions, filed in First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe late Monday each contain more than 30 counts alleging wrongdoing by the three councilors mostly in connection with the ongoing issue of the duties of the Los Alamos County Sheriff. White has indicated that he will also be filing a petition for recall against Councilor Christine Chandler.
All three councilors declined to comment on the petitions, indicating that they were not aware of the filings until contacted early Tuesday morning by the Los Alamos Daily Post.
White, who announced his intention to run for Los Alamos County Sheriff in this year’s election as an Independent candidate, filed a petition for recall March 21 containing many of the same counts against Council Chair David Izraelevitz. That petition was dismissed by Judge David Thomson who said that White is not precluded from raising those issues in another manner if he chooses.
White’s three new petitions accuse the three councilors of being part of “the Gang of Five, a group of “Los Alamos Councilors gone rogue, plunging Los Alamos into lawlessness not seen since the Dalton Gang”. They contain the same allegations as the petition filed against Izraelevitz minus those related to Izraelevitz’s actions as Council chair and the allegation that Izraelevitz was illegally seeking reelection to office.
White’s petition states that by supporting the placing of a question regarding the Sheriff’s duties on the ballot for the November 2016 election, the Councilors violated the U.S. Constitution by depriving citizens of the County of liberty and equal protection under the law. White believes that voters wanted to not only retain the office of Sheriff, but to “restore the Sheriff’s budget, the illegally terminated Undersheriff and Executive Secretary”.
“Violating the results of a democratic election strikes at the very heart of our freedom. It denies and destroys liberty and equal protection of the laws for everyone when those on the governing board of the county pick and choose which election results they will honor and which they will ignore,” he said.
White claims the three councilors are “effectively eliminating the executive branch of government in Los Alamos” and that they are denying the right of citizens to have elected law enforcement which “all the other citizens of New Mexico enjoy”. He also alleges the councilors are violating state statutes by preventing the Sheriff from serving warrants, providing security for Council meetings and courtrooms in the County.
The three new petitions also accuse the councilors of advocating the overthrow of the State of New Mexico by illegal and unconstitutional methods, “accomplishing such by actively causing the county of Los Alamos to rebel against the state and act totally independently rather than as a subdivision of state government by ignoring statutes and constitutional provisions of the state and U.S.” they don’t like. White also accuses the councilors of allowing the County to have “debt three times the constitutional limit” and that the County is in “great financial shape when in fact it is running major deficits of millions of dollars and may in fact be bankrupt”.
In addition to the counts common to all three petitions, White asked the Court to direct District Attorney Marco Serna to investigate Councilor Reiss for an alleged fourth degree felony stating that Reiss “had until last December an unlawful interest in a public contract” as defined by state statute “as he was required to file paperwork with the NM Secretary of State and failed to do so”.
Also included in the petitions are allegations concerning violations of the Open Meeting Act, failure to exercise “proper oversight” of County Manager Harry Burgess and Chief of Police Dino Sgambellone.
In one of the counts on the petition against Councilor Maggiore, White states that Maggiore “lied his way into office and has since proved he is a liar and unworthy of public trust” because of a statement he made at a June 14, 2016 Council meeting on the sheriff’s budget issue. The petition does not indicate what was actually said by Maggiore.
White told the Los Alamos Daily Post he just wants the councilors to follow the laws that expressly and specifically address Los Alamos.
“I’m not asking them to do any more than follow our charter, follow our ordinances,” he said. “They just seem to have such a criminal mentality to me. They don’t need the citizens of Los Alamos to vote on it, they don’t need the legislature to change it, they don’t need the governor’s signature to change one of our ordinances. If you don’t like the ordinance, just change it, you have the power to change it. The oath of office says you’re going to follow the ordinances, along with the Charter, along with the state statutes, along with the New Mexico and U.S. constitution”.
White said the great thing about recalls is “you don’t need to prove that somebody’s guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor, or even necessarily doing anything deliberately”.
“If it was a fiduciary responsibility and they should have known to do it, that’s grounds for recall…I don’t need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any of them are guilty of anything,” he said.
White said if the judge approves the petitions and he gets the signatures required to have a recall election, the County Clerk will verify the signatures and if there is an adequate number, the Clerk is required to set an election.
White indicated that there is no plan to file petitions against Councilors James Chrobocinski and Pete Sheehy who have sided with the Sheriff Marco Lucero on the issue of his duties.