Supreme Court ruling today awarded full attorney fees to citizen advocate Russell Biggs, after the Anchorage Municipal Clerk obstructed and delayed 10 months the release of a recall petition against Assembly member Meg Zaletel.
The blocking of the citizen recall effort against Zaletel cost the city $30,000 in legal fees, as well as another $100,000 for a special election that had to be held, when the delay prevented the recall from being placed on a regular election ballot.
The recall was prompted after Zaletel and leftists on the Assembly improperly closed the Assembly chambers to the public in July of 2020. The public could not witness the diversion of millions of dollars in CARES Act funds that were funneled to special project of the former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and his Assembly allies.
Zaletel joined the municipal lawsuit in an attempt to block the recall petition. Biggs appealed this issue to the Supreme Court of Alaska, where Zaletel and Clerk Barbara Jones lost. The recall effort went forward, but the delays cause by by the Municipal Clerk Jones and Zaletel, led to the recall having to go to a special election, which gave Zaletel time to get national Big Union money to help her. Because it was a low participation election, she was able to survive. The delays worked.
The Recall process is incredibly difficult, expensive, and time consuming, Biggs said. It should not be made harder by highly partisan meddling of the Anchorage legal team and should not take a court case costing tens of thousands of dollars to work the mechanism that is available to citizens that allow them to hold their Assembly members accountable for clear violations of law.