It took more than 7 months for Longview's Mayor to release controversial e mails from a city councilwoman. The e mails contained racial slurs and insulting language directed at others in the Longview city council. They were written in February and March and released last week.
Why didn't the Mayor release the racial e mails immediately? That's the very question black city leaders asked the day they also called for Karen Hailey's resignation.
"We are concerned with the timing of the handling of this inflammatory situation by the Mayor of our city," says Gregg county commissioner Danny Craig.
According to Karen Hailey, the answer centered around Ricky Childers and the desire by the Mayor and council members, Jay Dean and Tommy Finklea to have Childers removed. She says the Mayor was using her e mails against her to get her vote.
Karen repeated that claim in an apology letter to council woman Sidney Bell Willis: "For Tommy to come right out and ask me to vote with them to get rid of Ricky Childers- makes no sense. I did not want Childers to leave but Mayor Moore did."
But are those claims true? Several sources, close to the city council, tell KLTV 7 news, they are absolutely true. City manager Ricky Childers tells me he was aware of a plan several months ago, by some council members, to have him fired. He says it didn't surprise him, and called it "typical council politics".
During a meeting with black city leaders last night, the Mayor denied the claim. "Absolutely not," says the Mayor.
Whether they are false allegations or the truth, it is a reminder of the growing division within Longview's city council. We contacted council members Tommy Finklea and Jay Dean about the allegations today. They both denied the claims. When pressed on the issue, Finklea told our Amy Tatum that Karen Hailey is "mentally ill".