State files to dismiss recall petition

Published 1:30 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

ISLE OF WIGHT—A lack of signatures compelled the Commonwealth Attorney in Suffolk to file a motion late Thursday to have dismissed the recall petition against Isle of Wight County School Board member Herb DeGroft.

State code requires such documents must be signed by at least 10 percent of the registered voters for the targeted officer in his district and in the most recent election, where DeGroft was put into office.

For the Hardy District representative, 206 names were needed, according to IOW NAACP President Dottie Harris. She told The Tidewater News that only 201 signatures were valid.

“This is just a little glitch,” Harris said, adding that the petition will be refilled this week. Both she and Rosa Holmes-Turner, the team captain for the DeGroft petition, have said some of the collectors evidently had not turned in their sheets. But they believe those names will then be more than enough to recertify the petition.

DeGroft confirmed his attorney, Bill Nexsen, made him aware of the recent motion.

The Suffolk CA has taken the case because IOW CA Wayne Farmer had to recuse himself from the issue.

The hearing with Judge Carl Eason is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court, said DeGroft.

He and Newport District Supervisor Byron “Buzz” Bailey are the targets of recall because they were revealed to have privately circulated emails containing crude humor. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were the subjects of several of the pages.

Fellow board members and county staff were recipients.

Harris was given a copy of the emails by IOW school board member Denise Tynes, who reportedly received them anonymously. The revelation of the emails and calls for both men to resign were made during a May 16 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Both DeGroft and Bailey, who’s also facing a recall petition hearing on Monday, Aug. 12, have repeatedly apologized in word and print, but each has declined to resign. DeGroft, however, chose not to run for reelection this year. Bailey’s term doesn’t expire until 2015.