A recall effort was launched Wednesday against embattled North Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Catherine Ramsey.
The recall paperwork was filed shortly before noon. It lists three city residents behind the effort. The recall committee will need to collect 1,984 signatures by June 9 to recall Ramsey. Ramsey was elected in 2011, so the recall effort will need to gather signatures from people who voted in that election, and those signatures will be checked to make sure they are valid. If there are enough signatures, a special election will be held.
The group’s website — removeramseynow.com — contends the judge wastes city money. It highlights multiple lawsuits that have been filed against the judge.
The recall effort is largely funded by the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association, according to the union’s president Mike Yarter.
Ramsey is one of two Municipal Court judges in North Las Vegas, and this is her first term. Municipal Court handles small civil and criminal matters and the judges are elected at-large to six-year terms. Ramsey is the first female Municipal Court judge in North Las Vegas, according to the city’s website.
Ramsey contends, through a statement by her attorney, that the recall is politically motivated.
The city officials’ disdain for the judge is well-known. Mayor John Lee has made comments during City Council meetings calling her behavior immoral and has asked the city attorney if there was anything the council could do about the judge.
“It has been no secret that certain forces within the Mayor’s office have had a very personal agenda against Judge Ramsey as a result of her vigilant opposition to the many efforts to usurp the Court’s resources,” said Ramsey attorney Edgar Carranza in a statement.
“Ramsey has made it clear that she would not idly sit back and allow the City of North Las Vegas to try to ameliorate its vast economic problems on the back of the Court by taking monies from the Court’s accounts and earmarked for Court related projects.”
Ramsey’s stance has resulted in a “systematic campaign” against her by the city, he said.
The statement also contests claims highlighted by the recall effort, including the city’s assertion that the judge had missed an inordinate amount of work days.
Carranza said the city failed to disclose that many of the judge’s absences were to attend city events and mandatory conferences.
Political consultant David Thomas represents the recall group, which is chaired by Bob Borgersen. Five people serve on the committee, according to the group. The news release doesn’t list the names, but Betty Hamilton and Michael William Moreno, with Borgersen, are on the recall paperwork filed with the city clerk.
Thomas said the recall won’t be cheap and estimates it will take $25,000 to get the needed signatures. Thomas does not have a list of contributors to the recall done yet but said he will share that information when it’s ready.
Thomas, who is known for running judicial campaigns in Clark County, said he was busy with the November election and got around to reviewing Ramsey’s record in January.
“This has been percolating for months,” he said. “I just, to be honest, was consumed with other work.”
He has been working with the recall committee for six weeks and is still collecting money and names to make the recall a reality.
There have been three unsuccessful judicial recall efforts in Nevada since 2003 that submitted signatures, according to Nevada secretary of state spokeswoman Catherine Lu.
Supporters of two other efforts filed intent paperwork but never submitted signatures.
The city of North Las Vegas has not yet responded to a request for comment on Ramsey’s remarks that the city is behind the push for her removal.