Court date set in Martin election battle
by Jack Latta
A motion to dismiss has been filed by the attorneys for Sam Howell in ex-Mayor Thomasine Robinson’s court battle seeking a recount in the recent Martin city mayor’s election.
Thomasine Robinson filed suit last month in Floyd Circuit Court seeking both a recount, and for the election results to be set aside. On December 10, Sam Howell’s Attorney, James D. Adams II, filed a motion dismiss stating that the complaint fails to “state a cause or action upon which the court may grant relief.”
A court date has been set for Friday December 28, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge John D. Caudill to hear arguments for and against the motion.
If the court does not see cause to set aside the election results on December 28, it is likely that Sam Howell will be Mayor on January 1. Howell has already stated that upon taking office, one of his first acts will be to request an audit from the State Auditors office of Martin city government.
The city of Martin has been plagued the last several years with allegations of misuse of funds and environmental concerns regarding the cities waste water treatment plants. The city was cited numerous times since 2006 about its non compliance with Kentucky Division of Water regulations regarding the operation of their sewer treatment.
Robinson is seeking a recount in the 2012 mayor’s race in which she lost to challenger Howell by a margin of three votes. The initial margin was five votes, but following a recanvass, Robinson picked up two previously uncounted absentee ballots, which brought the total to 161 for Howell to 158 for Robinson.
Martin’s defense team claims that there were several “irregularities” with regard to the election, including improper assistance, and a failure on the part of election officials to respond to voter challenges. Her attorney’s claim that at least 19 persons voted in the Martin city race who were not residents of the city.
Robinson also says in the complaint that Howell used voter intimidation when he allegedly promised political favors to both a Martin city police officer and tenants of a federal housing project.
Officials with the state Attorney General’s office said that they received only five calls during the 2012 election in Floyd county. Three of those calls were procedural in nature, said officials. One was related to a polling official, and the final complaint alleged vote buying or selling.
Thomasine Robinson had run unopposed in the previous two elections in the city of Martin. She was appointed Mayor in 1998 after then Mayor Allen Wicker stepped down. Robinson ran on her own in 2000 and won.
Following the recanvass, Robinson’s husband, James Robinson, was arrested after allegedly threatening Sam Howell with physical violence. Robinson recently plead not guilty, and is confined to home arrest while awaiting an April court date.
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