Local church-affiliated group in legal trouble
POSTED: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 6:26pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 9:35am
EL PASO (KTSM) — A church affiliated group in El Paso was supposed to be the target of a grand jury inquiry today but the District Attorney's office pulled the case at the last minute.
The leader of the El Pasoans for traditional family values, Bishop Tom Brown said the group didn't do anything wrong, and even though he said today was a successful day, his worries are not nearly over.
As News Channel Nine reported, the group tried to recall Mayor John Cook and two city representatives who voted to restore health benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees, back in 2011.
This was after voters passed a ballot initiative ending the practice in November 2010.
District Attorney Jaime Esparza is looking into possible criminal violations of the election code because the group gathered their petition signatures in local churches.
The DA’s office subpoenaed Brown to testify before a grand jury Tuesday, but according to Brown, that never happened.
"We won a great victory,” he said. “The DA backed down and decided not to pursue a grand jury like he threatened."
The DA’s office didn't comment because of the ongoing investigation. And when we asked Brown why they circulated the petitions in churches he had no comment.
The recall efforts were over turned by a State District Judge stating that organizations aren't allowed to use tax-exempt organizations such as a church to contribute to recall campaigns.
Felony charges are still pending.