A Forest Hill council member scored a victory in state district court Wednesday when a judge ruled that the city cannot go forward with a recall election.
Stephanie Boardingham, who was elected to the council two years ago, was the subject of a recall petition alleging abuse of power. The petition accused Boardingham of using tax dollars to pay for car rentals and hotel stays and of voting on matters related to her flea market business.
In July, Boardingham sued Forest Hill alleging that the petition did not give specific reasons for the recall and that the petition was addressed to the city and not the city council.
Visiting judge Vicki Isaacks agreed, and issued a temporary injunction which stated that the recall election would harm Boardingham, and that the petition did not outline specific reasons for the recall as specified in the city’s charter.
“Defendant City Council had no authority or duty to place Stephanie Boardingham’s recall on the ballot because the petition is not addressed to the City Council, City of Forest Hill, and it does not state any specific act of Councilwoman Boardingham that are grounds for removal,” Isaacks’ ruling stated.
Harold Hammett, an attorney representing Boardingham said he has contacted Tarrant County elections officials to inform them that the recall election should not be on the November 6 ballot.
“I am very pleased and grateful about the judge’s decision,” he said.
Robert Maris, an attorney representing Forest Hill said there are currently no plans to appeal the ruling.
“We had no position regarding the petition. We did not prepare it. We wanted to defend the actions of the city secretary and city council,” he said.
“The order certainly doesn’t find that the city council and city secretary did anything wrong.”
Geralf Joubert, who initiated the recall petition last winter was elected to the city council in May.
He also served as mayor until he was narrowly defeated in 2017.
Joubert said the council will follow the judge’s ruling.
A special prosecutor is also investigating allegations that Joubert did not properly witness signatures on the petition to recall Boardingham.
Samantha Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County District Attorney wrote in an email to the Star-Telegram that the district attorney’s office recused itself and that Anthony Lions, a Dallas attorney is conducting the investigation. Another councilmember Carlie Jones works in the district attorney’s ofice.
Joubert said he is aware of the investigation, but said no one has contacted him to ask questions. Forest Hill has had three recall elections previously.