Recall groups wanting to oust Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield criticized him Thursday for hosting a $250 dinner to help him raise defense funds against the effort.
The private event was held Thursday night at the home of Capital Toyota dealer Bob McKamey.
Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, said in a news release that the mayor was sending the wrong message to Chattanooga residents.
“Fifteen thousand people say Littlefield is going the wrong way. So he throws a party?” Folkner stated, citing the number of people who signed a petition to recall the mayor.
Richard Beeland, spokesman for the mayor, said Thursday the city would not comment.
Several leaders of the recall effort made statements in the news release, saying Littlefield was placing power over the will of the people.
“Ron Littlefield’s sympathies lie with himself,” said Charlie Wysong with the Chattanooga Tea Party. “When he needs money, he takes it out of the taxpayer’s hide, or runs to his friends for a fundraiser.”
Littlefield faced a recall last year after three groups — Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Chattanooga Tea Party — said they acquired more than 15,000 signatures to force a ballot question about whether the mayor should be recalled.
A Circuit Court judge later struck down the recall effort, saying not enough signatures were acquired under state law. The recallers have appealed and are awaiting a decision from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
The mayor organized the Thursday night fundraiser weeks ago, saying he needed to raise more than $50,000 to help pay for his legal defense from the recall effort.
“I find it appalling that Littlefield asks the citizens to pay his legal fees for his personal legal action,” said Phil Grubb, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. “It’s insulting when he claims he’s not a wealthy man. He makes five times what the ordinary police officers are paid.”
Littlefield’s salary is $146,607, according to city records.