Injunction sought to halt Cherokee district recall

November 15, 2010

The parched Cherokee Metropolitan District sure doesn’t lack for mudslinging.

A 4th Judicial District judge could offer the tiny-yet-troubled water district a little clarity Wednesday when he decides whether to grant an injunction in the recall effort against the district’s leader, Robert Lovato.

The ruling could halt a months-long saga to oust the 6-year board member, which began this summer when more than 500 valid signatures were collected to force a recall.

It could also allow residents to go forward with the Dec. 7 election, which was has been hit with delays.

The group circulated the petition amid several concerns, including that Lovato was serving on another water board with ties to Cherokee.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink ruled Sept. 1 on Lovato’s first protest that the election should proceed.

Lovato’s filing for an injunction, however, accuses the petition circulators of several wrongs, including turning in incomplete petitions and giving false information when asking for signatures.

He also accuses Balink of wrongdoing during the first hearing, including not investigating claims made by more than 20 people that the petition circulators were misleading.

“If (election circulators) had followed the rules, we probably would not be here today,” said Lovato, who has sternly denied any wrongdoing.

Balink said Monday he could not comment on pending cases.

Gayle Jones, spokeswoman for Concerned Citizens of Cimarron Hills and a defendant in the case, said several people with the group have been served summonses to appear at Wednesday’s hearing.

She dismissed the protest as self serving, adding it has only served to further strain the coffers of the district, which has been hard-pressed to find a reliable water source without dramatically raising water rates.

She said Sunday that she had not been served with a summons, as she has been out of town to see family.

Call the writer at 476-1654.

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