Quartzsite mayor-elect fears violence will erupt if he's not seated soon

Posted: Updated:

QUARTZSITE, Ariz. -- The small town of Quartzsite, west of the Valley, is having some big problems.

A handful of people gathered in front of the state Capitol Wednesday, carrying signs that said: "We need help Jan" and "Stop the corruption in Quartzsite."
 
“He's very straightforward, very honest, pays his taxes, and doesn't sleep around," said Quartzsite resident Jerry Wilcox. "He's a very good man.”

Those are a few reasons Wilcox recently voted for Ed Foster, 71, for mayor of the town of Quartzsite.

Foster was elected, but the town council is refusing to seat him.

“We're living in a dictatorship in Quartzsite right now," Foster said. "They are not elected and they don't have to be elected. They don't have to swear us in because nobody's going to do anything about it and they know that.”

Foster said the town council won't seat him because he owes $2,200 in court-ordered attorney fees.

When Foster held the seat in 2010 he lost a lawsuit over a recall election.

Patricia Workman was recently elected as a council member and sworn in by the council.

Workman supports Foster and the other elected council member found unqualified by council to hold office.

The town council suspects Councilman-elect Mark Orgeron of living out of town.

“I think they are afraid they are going to lose control, I really do, because we want to change a lot of things," Workman said. "We want to bring our tourists back.”

Foster said an FBI agent has contacted him about the current situation in his town.

The mayor-elect also said the town’s people are already talking about violence in Quartzsite.

“They want to take guns and take over town hall,” Foster said.

3TV reached out to the town council members and the town attorney. Only council member Carol Kelley spoke to 3TV.

Kelley told 3TV over the phone, "Everything town council has done is according to the statutes.”

A spokesperson for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said they can’t comment because the La Paz County Attorney's Office is leading an investigation.

La Paz County Attorney Sam Vederman sent 3TV the following statement:

"On Monday, June 4, 2012, the Town of Quartzsite Common Council held a Special Meeting to approve the canvass of the May 15, 2012 runoff election and judge the qualifications of Mayor-Elect Ed Foster, Council Member-Elect Mark Orgeron and Council Member-Elect Patricia Workman.

"The Common Council judged Ed Foster and Mark Orgeron to be unqualified to hold office and judged Patricia Workman qualified to hold office. 

"This office is currently reviewing the action taken by the Common Council at the Special Meeting.       

"I ask that all citizens remain calm and engage in respectful discourse while the review process occurs.

"The results of the May 15 runoff election are as follows:

"Mayor - Ed Foster received 401 votes (56.32%) and Jerry Lukkasson received 305 votes (42.84%).   

"Council Member - Mark Orgeron received 398 votes (29.03%), Patricia Workman received 387 votes (28.23%), Barbara Cowell received 305 votes (22.25%) and Joe Winslow received 264 votes (19.26%).”

Next Tuesday, Foster and Orgeron will be in federal court in Phoenix presenting their case to a judge.