El Paso Police are investigating an incident that occurred Tuesday night at a West El Paso restaurant involving Mayor Oscar Leeser, his wife Leesa, Former District 1 City Council Representative Ann Morgan Lilly and her husband, E R “Rutt” Lilly.
According to EPPD, they were dispatched to the Thyme Matters restaurant located at 5857 N. Mesa around 8 p.m. Tuesday night to reports of an Assault by Contact. NewsChannel 9 spoke exclusively to Mayor Oscar Leeser Wednesday morning regarding the incident and he recounted his version of the events that unfolded before the alleged assault.
Leeser claims that he and his wife had just entered Thyme Matters when they greeted the Lillys. Mayor Leeser claims the two became “verbally abusive” toward him regarding the City Council decision to back out of the proposed Union Plaza neighborhood for the arena project earlier in the day.
“They were very confrontational with me because of the action that was taken. They literally looked at me and they blamed me for having to take action, because I would not support eminent domain, and they felt that those properties really weren’t worth much and why wouldn’t I support eminent domain, and I told them because those are peoples homes. And they got a little verbally abusive.” Leeser told NewsChannel 9 in an Exclusive interview Wednesday.
Eventually, the Leesers were seated at their table. A short time later, Mayor Leeser says Ann Morgan Lilly approached him again to discuss her disagreement with his vote. Ann Morgan Lilly left the table, and that’s when the Mayor alleges that Rutt approached him once again.
During the second interaction, Rutt allegedly attempted to pull the Mayor’s cell phone from his hand. Leesa Leeser, in an attempt to separate the two, had stood between the two men and was struck during the interaction.
NewsChannel 9 reached out to Ann Morgan Lilly and Rutt Lilly for comment Wednesday afternoon. Ann Morgan Lilly did acknowledge that the couple had been at Thyme Matters Tuesday evening. She stated that the incident was an “unfortunate event.”
Rutt Lilly indicated that Mayor Leeser was flashing the phone in his face, in a possible attempt to record the interaction between the two. Mr. Lilly called the accusations by Mayor Leeser “very childish and very immature.”
Mayor Leeser called EPPD to file a report against Mr. Lilly for the alleged physical contact with his wife during the incident.
El Paso Police investigators were seen at Thyme Matters on Wednesday morning collecting possible evidence from the scene. Mayor Leeser alleges that surveillance video from the scene backs up his claim of the alleged assault.
The manager of Thyme Matters declined to release any surveillance tape to NewsChannel 9, citing privacy concerns.
This is not the first time Ann Morgan Lilly has been involved in an alleged assault of a city employee. Two allegations were made against her, one in 2005 and 2013. In both cases, the District Attorney declined to press charges against her. It should be noted that neither incident involved her husband, Rutt.
At this time, no official charges have been filed against Rutt Lilly and no arrests were made. The EPPD investigation is ongoing.