By Lourdes Zavaleta
GROVES — Mayor Brad Bailey had a profanity-laced outburst Monday, June 11 while discussing a petition to recall gay City Councilman Cross Coburn.
“I’ve taken plenty of ass chewings, and I can take it, but I won’t be humiliated,” Bailey said during a council meeting in the Southeast Texas city.
Jill Pierce, Coburn’s attorney, attended the meeting with her client and began filming Bailey after he pointed at Coburn while discussing the petition. (Watch Pierce’s video below.)
Both Bailey and his wife signed a petition to recall Coburn, after the 19-year-old councilman was outed as gay by someone who sent his nude Grindr photos to City Hall in February. Bailey’s wife also allegedly helped circulate the petition.
Pierce said she believes the mayor’s actions at the meeting were inappropriate.
“He was so angry that it just reinforced my belief that he doesn’t like councilman Coburn because of his sexuality,” Pierce said.
On May 23, City Clerk Kimbra Lowery rejected a petition to recall Coburn, saying it didn’t have enough valid signatures. On Monday, organizer William Howlett re-filed the petition.
If Howlett’s new petition is found to be sufficient, council members could certify it at their June 25 meeting. Coburn would then have five days to resign or face a November 6 recall election.
Pierce said even if the petition is found to be sufficient, there will not be a recall election because of legal issues.
“I’ve read the city ordinance very carefully about recall petitions, and I believe from day one Mr. Howlett violated the city ordinance,” Pierce said. “He has not strictly complied with the recall petition procedures. I cannot say more until we challenge it in court.”
Pierce also said a private investigator is working to determine who sent the photos, and she believes the perpetrator works for the city.
Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 21.16, known as the “revenge porn” law, it is a class-A misdemeanor to distribute nude photos of another person without their consent.