Thorpe recall fails due to theft of funds, signatures not provided by contracted company

Over $23,000 paid to company, $15,000 contribution from former Assemblyman Jim Frazier

More than enough signatures gathered but not received by committee; policreport to bfiled

City Clerk Householder denies request for extension

Organizers question if Thorpe paid company to not turn over signatures

By Allen D. Payton

Leaders of the effort to recall Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe announced Wednesday that they had failed due to theft of funds by the professional company hired to gather signatures of registered voters which didn’t turn over signatures to the recall committee. Plus, over 1,500 signatures gathered by volunteers submitted to the committee for verification were not returned. Over $23,000 was paid to the company. A total of $45,000 was raised for the effort including $15,000 contributed by former Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s campaign committee in late April.

The following statement was issued:

“The Committee to Recall Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was unable to submit the required 9,511 signatures needed to put the initiative on the November ballot

Due to various reasons, including Covid and a paid signature company that failed to turn over signed petitions after receiving payment, the recall will not be on the November ballot. Signing efforts during this recall period showcased that close to 11,000 Antioch residents signed the petitions believing that Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is not providing good leadership for the City of Antioch and we thank them for stepping forward.

To be transparent with the community, due to what we believe is criminal activity and fraud by a professional signing company hired to assist us in signature gathering, paid signatures were not turned over or collected after paying over $23,000. In addition, over 1,500 signatures, gathered by volunteers, were delivered to the signature company, paid to validate as registered voters, were not returned.

All funds used for paying for signatures were contributed by residents, businesses and others who support the recall. The signing firm has not been responsive, has skipped town and is believed to be in another state.

Due to the Covid State of Emergency during this recall process, a request was made today to Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder and Antioch City Attorney Smith to approve an extension, allowing additional days to continue collecting signatures. There is precedence for approving a Covid extension, as seen with the approved extensions to the governor’s recall attempt and other local jurisdictions throughout the state.  Unfortunately, Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder quickly denied the extension request.

We would like to thank all of the volunteers, contributors and supporters who have participated and encouraged the Recall Antioch Mayor Thorpe effort.

We are now pursuing recourse against the signature gathering company and individuals responsible for what we believe is defrauding members of our community.

As we continue to investigate what transpired, we will be filing a police report with the Antioch Police Department. With this now being on-going investigation, no further public statements will be made as to not interfere with the investigation process.

Regards,Committee to Recall Mayor Lamar Thorpe”

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Recall Leaders Share More Details, Question if Thorpe Paid Company Not to Turn Over Signatures

A variety of questions were asked of several recall leaders.

Asked if some of the people hired to gather signatures went unpaid, Kathy Cabrera responded, “Yes, many of the pro signers got stiffed.”

Asked if Householder gave a reason for the denial, committee treasurer Tom Hartrick simply responded, “No.”

When asked if they can appeal Householder’s decision to a judge, Cabrera said, “an attorney we spoke with said that’s not an option.”

Asked why they didn’t pay the signature gathering company as they submitted the signatures to the committee instead of a lump sum, Hartrick replied, “pro signers do draw payments up front.”

Asked if anyone contacted Jim Frazier since most of that $23K came from him?” Hartrick responded, “have not contacted Frazier.”

When asked if the committee is still responsible for paying the signature gatherers for the signatures that they had gathered but weren’t paid for, Lindsey Amezcua responded, “No. The company was responsible for paying the gatherers. They are subcontractors under the company.”

Asked how much was raised and spent by the committee, “Right near $45K” she shared.

Asked if they thought Thorpe had paid the company to not turn over the signatures, Amezcua responded, “yes, I’ve heard from a few people involved that they wouldn’t be surprised if he was involved.” In addition, Cabrera replied, “Oh, yeah, that’s exactly what we thought. Even one of the pro signers thought so, also.”

Questions for Thorpe

The recall committee’s statement and following questions were sent via email to Thorpe Wednesday evening.

“Do you have any comment in response to the failure of the recall against you?

Did your Stop the #KAREN Recall for Mayor Lamar Thorpe 2022 committee pay the signature gathering company more money than what the recall committee was paying them to not turn over the signatures, as some paid signature gatherers have told recall organizers?

Questions for Householder

The following questions were sent to Householder Wednesday night: Recognizing the difficult situation the Thorpe recall leaders are facing why did you deny their request for an extension?

Since you have a clear conflict of interest as the mayor’s self-admitted “best friend” and that you “have each other’s back”, shouldn’t you have recused yourself from the entire process and either allow Deputy City Clerk Christina Garcia to make the decision, the county clerk or the Primo Master Municipal Clerk Stephanie Smith who was going to be brought in for the prima facia signature count, today to handle the extension request?

Questions for Frazier

Attempts to reach Frazier were unsuccessful prior to publication time, asking for any comment about the matter and if he would support an investigation into whether Thorpe paid the company to not turn over the signatures.

As previously reported, to date, Thorpe has only filed an initial Form 410 for his beat the recall committee on Dec. 9, 2021, prior to it being qualified. But he later boasted on his official Facebook page in mid-January that he had raised over $84,000. An Amended Form 410 was due within 10 days after his committee was qualified, which The only confirmation of any funds being contributed to his campaign

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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