Corrupt Town Council Prevents Election Winners From Taking Office

Doug Book
The Western Center for Journalism

In what has become one of the most corrupt small towns in the United States, the new Mayor-elect and the winner of a seat on the Town Council were prevented by that Council from assuming their newly won offices. On May 15th, Ed Foster won the municipal election for Mayor of Quartzsite, Arizona, and Mark Orgeron won a seat on the Town Council. But at its next meeting, the Council refused to seat either of the two winners. Foster was told he could not be Mayor because he still owed the City of Quartzsite court-ordered attorney’s fees from a prior suit against the town. And although Orgeron teaches at the local school and has lived in Quartzsite 5 days each week since 2009, the Council claimed he was not a “legal” resident of the town as he still owns a home in Yuma.

In 2011, a video taken at a Quartzsite Town Council meeting was posted on the internet and immediately went viral. Jennifer Jade Jones, a local political firebrand and publisher of the Desert Freedom Press, was manhandled by police at the Council meeting, even though the Mayor had recognized her to speak.  It seems Town Council members did not wish to hear what she had to say about rampant corruption in the town. Leading the charge to have her removed from the room were Council members and Quartzsite police chief Jeff Gilbert. One week later, Mayor Foster—the same Ed Foster who just won re-election—was removed from office during a secret meeting of the Council.

And it was apparently some secret meeting; for Council members also declared a “State of Emergency” in the town of Quartzsite. They put Police Chief Gilbert in charge and then decided the state of emergency gave them the right to hold additional meetings without public notice, along with the power to prevent public comment during regular Council meetings…

The article continues at The Western Center for Journalism.

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