Columbia Heights council member sues city over February recall vote

The calls for a Columbia Heights city council member to resign are now being met with a lawsuit alleging the city ignored obvious legal mistakes.

Residents of Columbia Heights began collecting signatures in May to recall Councilmember KT Jacobs after she allegedly made an offensive phone call to City Council candidate Justice Spriggs in 2022.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Jacobs and her lawyer Gregory Joseph of Joseph Law Office PLLC announced their intent to file a lawsuit against the City of Columbia Heights for illegally pursuing the recall vote in February.

Joseph said the council should not have accepted the petition seeking a special election and the goal of the lawsuit is to stop the February election.

The council passed two resolutions calling for Jacob’s resignation over the past year. In September of 2022, an investigation from an outside firm found that Jacobs had called Spriggs on July 24, 2022, and allegedly questioned whether Spriggs was old enough to run for office, asked him if he was “really biracial” and whether he had been raised in a white or Black household. Days later, Jacobs falsely claimed on social media that a family member had placed the call, according to the investigation.

Jacobs was censured from the council in October 2022.

Jacobs spoke at the press conference and said her only goal is to make sure this never happens to another city council member.

Joseph categorized the case as a weaponization of the government and accused the city of ignoring obvious legal mistakes.

“The city was warned repeatedly that this was an unlawful effort in procedure and substance,” said Joseph. “The purpose [of the lawsuit] is to vindicate KT’s rights, cancel the illegal election, and put the law back above politics in Columbia Heights.”

Under the City Charter, a recall may be considered when malfeasance occurs. Joseph noted that they believe no malfeasant conduct by Jacobs happened.

The over 350-page lawsuit will be uploaded on Thursday afternoon in Anoka County District Court, said Joseph.

“This is a question of constitutional, statutory, and charter violations,” said Joseph.

“I just want to be treated fairly. I have tolerated being yelled at at the city council meetings while the Mayor completely ignored what the established policy was,” Jacobs said.

A spokesperson for the City of Columbia Heights said the city has no comment at this time.


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