4

UPDATE: AZ Supreme Court Rules That Nowakowski Recall Election Won't Go On

Sean Sweat, the founder of the Urban Phoenix Project
Sean Sweat, the founder of the Urban Phoenix Project
Jim Louvau
^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.


UPDATE (March 20, 2010, 1:09 p.m.): The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that invalidated a recall petition against Phoenix City Council member Michael Nowakowski, ensuring that a recall election against Nowakowski won't take place in May.

"In the spirit of ‘Team Phoenix’, I invite those who were working on the recall effort to meet so we can begin to work together to find ways to make Phoenix and particularly District 7 an even better place to live and have a business,” Nowakowski said in a statement. 

Original story follows:

—-

The recall election of Phoenix City Council member Michael Nowakowski might not happen after all, thanks to a successful lawsuit filed by his sister.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz on Monday ruled that the group attempting to oust Nowakowski missed a step in the process, invalidating the recall petition.

Urban Phoenix PAC submitted 2,361 signatures to recall Nowakowski in December, citing his involvement in a land deal that raised conflict-of-interest questions, and a video of him speaking out against LGBT rights. The Phoenix City Clerk validated the signatures in early January, setting up a recall election for May.

Rosa Maria Morales, Nowakowski's sister, filed a lawsuit five days later, claiming that Urban Phoenix PAC violated state law governing petitions by:

1. Failing to attach a copy of the petition to signature sheets.

2. Neglecting to file a copy of the petition when submitting a serial number application.

3. Not including a notice on petition sheets that each signee was a qualified voter in District 7, which Nowakowski represents.

Judge Mroz ruled in favor of Nowakowski and his sister on the first claim and said she did not have jurisdiction on the second and third claims.

Urban Phoenix PAC, lead by activist Sean Sweat, has ten days to appeal the ruling.

In a text message, Sweat said he was "at work" and could not "focus on this at the moment." He added that he would need to speak with his lawyers to figure out what a potential appeal would look like.

In a statement, Nowakowski said, "I thank God and greatly appreciate the support of my family and so many in the community through this process, and invite those who were working on the recall effort to meet so we can begin to work together to find ways to make Phoenix and particularly District 7 an even better place to live and have a business."

"The takeaway from this ruling is if you want to recall someone and overturn a previous election, you have to do it justly. There are rules of how to do a recall and you have to follow those rules,” said Kory Langhofer, an attorney representing Morales.

The recall effort has fueled a public feud between Nowakowski and Sweat, with the two trading barbs and accusations. Sweat claimed in November that the council member's office contacted his employer, Intel, to get him in trouble for his political speech. Nowakowski and his allies have maintained that Sweat is smearing them.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.