Omaha Public Radio News
12:36 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Judge denies Mayor's request for restraining order

Omaha, NE – The process of verifying more than 37,000 signatures submitted by the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee will continue.

Douglas County District Court judge Peter Bataillon denied a request from Mayor Jim Suttle for a temporary restraining order. Suttle sought a 75 day delay in verification of the signatures while alleged fraud and misrepresentation were investigated. During a court hearing Wednesday morning, Suttle's attorney, Vince Powers, presented evidence he said shows petition circulators lied to signers or misrepresented intent. Powers argued that moving forward with the verification and notification would cause irreparable harm.

In his ruling, Judge Bataillon said the verification process should continue in accordance with the law. He urged Powers to present any evidence of alleged fraud or misrepresentation to Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps. Another hearing is scheduled for December 20th on a request for a temporary injunction. If that's granted, it could delay a recall election.

Phipps says the verification process will be complete by Saturday, when the final number of valid signatures is announced. After that, Mayor Suttle and the City Council will be notified. It's up to the City Council to set a recall election within 30 to 45 days.