Antioch Mayor doesn’t attend council meetings he attempted to cancel preventing quorums

Thorpe’s & Householder’s meeting cancellation and adjournment notices posted on their official Facebook pages on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

Leaves it to two councilmembers to adjourn meetings

Special meeting called for Friday at 4:30 p.m.

DA’s Office says no Brown Act violation, but complaint can be filed with county Grand Jury for investigation of possible “malfeasance, nonfeasance, or misfeasance” by Thorpe

Mayor knowingly incorrectly announced it was canceled on Facebook, when challenged by City Clerk Householder he deletes her and other’s comments then blocks her

Again, limits who can comment on one of his posts

City manager also didn’t attend, won’t say where he was

By Allen D. Payton

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe attempted to cancel the publicly noticed first Closed Session and Regular Council meetings of the year scheduled for that night. Yet, after being informed by the city attorney in the early after that the meetings couldn’t be cancelled because they were publicly noticed, three hours later Thorpe posted on his official Facebook page that the regular meeting was cancelled. Then he just didn’t show up. Neither did City Manager Con Johnson whose performance evaluation was scheduled for the Closed Session that began at 6:00 p.m. (See related article)

Thorpe claimed in an East Bay Times article that the meeting had to be cancelled because “Councilmember Mike Barbanica was sick and two other council members — Monica Wilson and Lori Ogorchock — had requested to attend the meeting virtually” and that would prevent a legally required quorum of at least three members to attend in person to hold meetings.

Barbanica informed city management staff around 3:00 p.m. that he would also be in attendance. Thorpe was seen inside City Hall on Tuesday, so he was in town and could have attended the meeting. While on Monday Ogorchock said she wanted to attend via Zoom due to a sinus infection, on Tuesday she told the city attorney she would be at the meeting. Thorpe was seen inside City Hall on Tuesday, so he was in town and could have attended the meeting.

City Attorney Informed All Councilmembers Meeting Couldn’t Be Canceled Before Beginning

At 1:53 p.m. that day, City Attorney Thomas L. Smith emailed all five council members and copied City Manager Con Johnson, Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore and City Clerk Ellie Householder, informing them the meeting would have to be called to order first before being canceled. He also offered alternatives of what could be done with the agenda items. Thorpe responded to his email about 13 minutes later.

“On Tue, Jan 10, 2023 at 1:53 PM Smith, Thomas Lloyd…wrote:

Dear City Council Members,

Because the meeting has been noticed and the agenda has been published, tonight’s meeting will need to be called to order before being adjourned for lack of a quorum (canceled).  If no council members are present, the City Clerk can call the meeting to order and adjourn the meeting for lack of quorum.

Here are some options for next steps:

  1. The Mayor can call a Special Meeting, where certain agenda items could carry over and others would move to the next regular meeting;
  2. The Mayor or City Clerk could adjourn today’s regular meeting to a specified date and time where all agenda items would carry over; or
  3. All agenda items could be carried over to the next regular City Council meeting.

Thank you.

Thomas Lloyd Smith

City Attorney”


Thorpe Received, Responded to Smith’s Email

From: Lamar Thorpe <>Date: January 10, 2023 at 2:06:43 PM PSTTo: “Smith, Thomas Lloyd”
Cc: “Bayon Moore, Rosanna”, City Council, “Garcia, Christina”, “Johnson, Con”
Subject: Re: Tonight’s Meeting: Quorum Required to Be Present at Antioch City Hall and Requirement for Teleconferencing Participation (AB 2449/Government Code 54953)CAUTION: This email originated from outside your organization. Exercise caution when opening attachments or clicking links, especially from unknown senders.

My last email provides next steps. Please re-read for any clarity. -LT”


Barbanica Wasn’t Feeling Well Tuesday Morning, But Felt Fine Tuesday Afternoon

While Barbanica confirmed he was not feeling well and informed city management staff Tuesday morning, he told this reporter he was feeling better in the early afternoon and he sent texts to Johnson, Bayon Moore and Smith informing them he would be attend the meeting.

“I first texted at about 11 am that I wasn’t feeling well and going to Zoom in to the meeting,” the District 2 Councilman said. “But by about 2:30 pm I was feeling better. So, I texted the city attorney at 2:59 p.m. and the city manager and assistant city manager at 3:12 p.m. informing them I was fine, and I would be at the meeting. I followed up with the city attorney with a phone call.”

Ogorchock Planned to Attend Via Zoom, But Decided to Attend in Person

Ogorchock said she had spoken with the city manager’s administrative assistant on Monday about attending via Zoom.

“But Thomas told me on Tuesday if I didn’t show up, we wouldn’t have a quorum,” she explained. “So, I said I’d be there. I wasn’t sick. I had a sinus infection and didn’t want to sit there blowing my nose, and I had partially lost my voice.”

Wilson Was Traveling, Torres-Walker’s Whereabouts Unknown

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson was traveling, and her flight was delayed. There’s no word on where Torres-Walker was and why she didn’t attend. Efforts to reach the District 1 councilwoman asking her where she was and why she didn’t attend the meeting were unsuccessful prior to publication time.

Thorpe Posts Cancellation Notice on Facebook About 5:30 p.m. Householder Refutes It

At about 5:30 p.m., Thorpe posted on his official Facebook page, “This evening’s regular city council meeting is canceled. Jan 10, 2023.”

City Clerk Ellie Householder, who had a falling out with her former best friend last year, challenged Thorpe in a comment below his post writing, “Tonight’s City Council meeting is not ‘cancelled.’ It is anticipated there may not be a quorum, however, the only way to determine that is at the meeting itself. Stay tuned for updates!”

Later, on her official City Clerk’s Facebook page, Householder wrote, “Tonight’s City Council meeting is not “cancelled.” It is anticipated there may not be a quorum, however, the only way to determine that is at the meeting itself. Stay tuned for updates!”

Thorpe Ignores Questions, Deletes Reporter’s Comments

Attempts to reach Thorpe Tuesday night were made asking him why the meeting was canceled, including in a comment on his official Facebook page below his post, if he was sick, out of town and unable to attend via Zoom or because he knew there weren’t three votes to pass what he wanted on the agenda. The mayor did not respond. That and a previous comment by this reporter below that post informing him and the public that Thorpe didn’t have the authority to cancel a publicly noticed council meeting have also since been deleted.

However, Thorpe has left a comment by Times’ reporter Judith Prieve Gutierrez of a link to her article about the meeting being cancelled below his post, as well as another comment by this reporter in response to another person’s comment. However, that person’s comment has since been deleted. But it’s not clear if Thorpe or that person deleted her comment.

Blank Antioch City Council meeting livestream Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2013. Source: City of Antioch website video screenshot.

Only Two Councilmembers Attend, Adjourn Meetings

Ogorchock and Barbanica attended the Closed Session meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. but had to adjourn the meeting because Thorpe didn’t attend. Neither Johnson nor Police Chief Steve Ford were in attendance. The two councilmembers, Smith, Bayon Moore and Householder waited around until 7:00 p.m. for the regular council meeting.

Barbanica said Smith asked them to wait for 15 minutes to give other council members the chance to attend, both he and Ogorchock said they had been waiting around since 6:00 p.m. and weren’t going to wait any longer. Because Ogorchock was the ranking member in attendance, having served longer on the council, she chaired the brief meetings. Barbanica made each of the motions to adjourn, Ogorchock seconded them, and they voted to adjourn the two meetings.

While the meetings were aired on Comcast cable TV Channel 24 according to technician Ronn Carter, the 7:00 p.m. regular meeting did not appear on the livestream on the city’s website. Householder was informed of that and later said there might have been a glitch but would look into it. The meetings will air again on Comcast Channel 24 tonight, Thursday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Householder later posted another comment below Prieve Gutierrez’s comments writing, “hey Judy! The meeting was not ‘canceled,’ it was simply adjourned because of lack of quorum. Council members Barbanica and Ogorchock were there. The mayor cannot cancel a meeting, and this fb post was not an official cancellation. Feel free to reach out if you want more details!”

That comment was also later deleted.

Official Announcement of Adjourned Meeting

Then at 7:20 p.m., Assistant City Clerk Christina Garcia emailed the council members and all city staff that the meeting had been adjourned due to a lack of a quorum.

“From: Garcia, Christina
Date: January 10, 2023 at 7:20:17 PM PSTTo: All City Employees
Cc: City Clerk, webmaster
Subject: Antioch City Council Meeting for January 10, 2023 – No QuorumGood evening Mayor, Council and Staff,

Please find attached the Order of Adjournment due to lack of a quorum, for the regularly scheduled Council Meeting of January 10, 2023. 

Thank you. 

Christina Garcia, CMCDeputy City Clerk | City Clerk Department”


Householder then posted the notice on her official Facebook page. ACC01102023 – No Quorum Notice

Householder Claims Thorpe Deleted Her Comments, Blocked Her on Social Media

Then on Wednesday, Householder wrote on her personal Facebook page about her former best friend, “Antioch’s Mayor Lamar A. Thorpe deleted my comment on his public post noting that last nights [sic] City Council Meeting was adjourned, not ‘cancelled.’

Seems weird to me that a mayor would block the city clerk from posting factual information about City business [sic] on his official social media pages.

I have also been blocked on his official Instagram and Twitter accounts.

As Antioch’s City Clerk, I am gravely concerned that the keeper of the city’s record, me, is intentionally prevented from accessing the record.”

In addition, at the end of the thread below the post about the meeting being canceled, on Wednesday night it reads, “Mayor Lamar A. Thorpe limited who can comment on this post” as he’s done multiple times previously.

Special Friday Council Meeting Called

Barbanica said on Wednesday that he was called by city staff about attending a special meeting this Friday to which he replied he would not attend but would be at the next regularly scheduled council meeting. Ogorchock said she was asked if she could attend a special meeting Friday at 4:30 p.m. and said she could, but “it was unfair since not all residents could attend nor would it be televised on Comcast TV Channel 24.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the special council meeting was noticed for Friday at 4:30 p.m. See agenda here – 011323.pdf (

Questions for Thorpe

Thorpe was emailed additional questions Wednesday night asking, “Where were you during the council meetings at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., last night? Were you in Antioch? If so, you received the email from the city attorney around 1 p.m. that you couldn’t cancel the meeting, why did you post what you did over four hours later and not attend the meeting? Was the real reason because you feared you didn’t have the three votes to get what was on the agenda passed?”

In addition, questions were emailed to Thorpe about deleting Householder’s and this reporter’s comments on his official Facebook page and blocking her from his social media accounts. He was asked, “Why did you delete them instead of merely responding to or ignoring them? Who are those that are still allowed to comment? Who isn’t allowed? How do you make the determination of who you allow and don’t allow to make comments on your official Facebook page? Will you stop limiting who can comment on your official Facebook page, deleting comments and blocking people from your social media pages, including the city clerk?”

Questions for City Staff

City Attorney Smith was emailed questions Wednesday night and called on Thursday afternoon asking about the council meetings, “did Mayor Thorpe violate any state law including the Brown Act by attempting to cancel them and announcing the 7 p.m. (regular meeting) was canceled on his official social media page? If he was in town and able to attend the meeting, did Lamar violate the state’s Brown Act open meeting law or any other state law(s)? What other legal ramifications might there be for his lack of attendance at the meetings?”

In addition, because it’s been reported Thorpe was seen at City Hall and spoke with the city attorney on Tuesday, Smith was asked, “did you meet with or see Mayor Thorpe in person at City Hall or anywhere else in Antioch at any time, Tuesday prior to the meeting?”

Emails were also sent Wednesday night to Johnson and Bayon Moore asking the same question, if they met with or saw Thorpe in Antioch prior to the meeting.

In addition, Johnson was asked, “why didn’t you attend either of the Closed Session or regular meetings after having received the email from Thomas that the meetings could not be canceled before being called to order? Did you know Lamar was not going to attend the meetings? Where were you between 6:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., Tuesday night?”

None of them responded prior to publication time on Thursday afternoon.

Questions for Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

Questions were also emailed Wednesday night to Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen who handles public corruption cases and CCDA PIO Ted Asregadoo asking, “Did the mayor violate any state law including the Brown Act by attempting to cancel both the Closed Session and Regular meetings and then announcing the 7 p.m. Regular meeting was canceled on his official Facebook page prior to the meeting? If the mayor was in town and able to attend the meeting, but he didn’t, did he violate the state’s Brown Act open meeting law or any other state law(s)? What other legal ramifications might there be for his lack of attendance at the meetings?”

They were also asked, “If the mayor didn’t attend and attempted to cancel the meetings because he knew there wouldn’t be three votes to pass items he placed on the agenda, is that considered public corruption? If so, what are the consequences?”

DA’s Office Says No Brown Act Violation, Complaint Can Be Filed With County Grand Jury for Possible Investigation

In response to the questions sent to the DA’s Office Asregadoo wrote, “I spoke with Steve about your Brown Act violation questions, and he does not see anything criminal or in violation of the Brown Act regarding the lack of a quorum at the Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday.

However, a grand jury could consider investigating the lack of a quorum for malfeasance, nonfeasance, or misfeasance. A member of the public would have to submit a Complaint Form to the court to start that process.

As far as consequences go if a civil grand jury recommends charges, you can see a fairly recent example in the case of Gus Kramer. Though the trial ended in a hung jury, you can see how the process played out.”

Asregadoo was then asked, “before an investigation of possible public corruption occurs it requires direction from the Grand Jury?”

He responded, “It depends. Not every violation requires impaneling a grand jury. But in the questions you asked – which were specific to the lack of a quorum at the Antioch City Council meeting and possible Brown Act violations — Steve did not find anything criminal or in violation of the Brown Act.

However, if the public thinks there are violations of malfeasance (or the others mentioned), they can fill out a Complaint Form that the court will review. If the court thinks the complaint rises to the level of impaneling a grand jury, then they likely will. The DA will then review a grand jury referral and make a charging decision after that review.”

Please check back later for their responses and any other updates to this report.

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the attachments to this post:

Blank Antioch City Council mtg livestream 01-10-23

ACC01102023 - No Quorum Notice
ACC01102023 – No Quorum Notice

Thorpe’s & Householder’s mtg notices 1-10-23

EHouseholder personal post 01-11-23

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