An attorney representing the targeted officials of a recall election calls Unite Norman’s cease and desist letter a farce, according to a letter released Wednesday.
Unite Norman formed in June to recall odd-numbered city councilors and the mayor. Enough signatures were verified to recall Ward 3 Alison Petrone. Ward 1 Kate Bierman and fellow councilors plan to file a challenge to the petitions in court.
Bierman said she intends to publish the names of petition signers on a website, she told The Transcript Monday.
On Tuesday, Unite Norman sent an email to Bierman asking her to cease and desist from publishing the names and claimed “doxxing” signers would put the safety of the public at risk. Bierman responded that the information was public record and publishing them would help residents know if their names were added fraudulently.
Bierman, Petrone, Mayor Breea Clark and Ward 7 Stephen Holman have retained legal counsel to fight the effort to recall their offices, hiring the Norman Wohlgemuth Group in Tulsa.
“Your instruction to ‘cease and desist’ is a farce at best,” Joel Wohlgemuth, of the Norman Wohlgemuth, wrote in his letter. “You have no authority whatsoever to direct anyone to cease and desist. Nor do you represent or speak for the citizens of Norman in any kind of official capacity. This is nothing more than self-aggrandizing rhetoric.”
Wohlgemuth accused Unite Norman co-founders Russell Smith and Sassan Moghadam of the same offense they leveled at Bierman.
“You assert that Ms. Bierman is utilizing publicly available information for the purpose of ‘shaming, intimidation and retaliation ... ’ that allegation is not only patently false, but it is defamatory,” the statement reads. “In fact, you are the ones who are engaging in a pattern of intimidation and harassment, of which your ‘cease and desist’ is merely the latest example.”
The attorney further instructed Smith and Moghadam to refrain from contacting Bierman or Petrone and directed them to contact his office for any communication regarding the matter.
Wohlgemuth ended the letter with a final warning.
“Moreover, if you elect to persist in this harassment, we shall proceed with all required remedial action,” his letter reads.
Wohlgemuth and Glenn Coffee, attorney for Unite Norman, did not respond to a request for comment at press time.
Mindy Ragan Wood