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Website urges recall of Chowdhury

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By AJ Vicens

Three women are organizing an effort to recall school board member Vince Chowdhury in the wake of his conviction for third-degree assault.

Chowdhury, 48, pleaded guilty July 8 to misdemeanor assault after a June arrest on suspicion of choking and slapping his 16-year-old daughter. Though he has stopped campaigning for the Democratic nomination in House District 22, Chowdhury has not responded to the school board’s request that he resign his seat. His current term on the school board would end in 2009.

Lois Florkey, one of three women who created www.recallvince.com, said Chowdhury is not a proper representative for South Jeffco on the school board.

"If he wants people to leave him alone, he needs to step down off the school board," said Florkey, who until July worked for Camille Ryckman, Chowdhury's primary opponent in the House race.

Florkey, who says she's been actively following the school board since 1993, said Chowdhury does not belong on the board.

"I've never, ever had a school board member behave so egregiously and still stay on the board," Florkey said. "And that's over 15 years."

Florkey said that she and the other women involved with the website — Denise Mund and Deb Dempsey — are planning to hold a news conference outside the Aug. 21 school board meeting.

The women would need 42,752 verified signatures within 60 days of the petition wording being finalized to initiate a recall election. Florkey said Monday that the group had not yet begun collecting signatures.

Chowdhury has not responded to multiple calls for comment, though he told the Rocky Mountain News he has suspended his campaign for the House seat. However, since it was too late to remove his name from the Aug. 12 ballot, he’s willing to "let the people decide."

The website urging people to support a recall follows a July 8 school board resolution asking Chowdhury to resign and calls from current and former South Jeffco state legislators urging him to step aside.

School board president Scott Benefield would rather Chowdhury resign than face the expense and distraction of a recall election.

"The citizens have the right to do that," Benefield said. "That's how the process works. But it's going to cost a significant amount of money to run an election, and that's better put to kids in schools. Whatever happens, I hope he resigns before that happens."

Benefield said Chowdhury hasn't responded to any of his calls but has contacted the board secretary a couple of times to say he wouldn't be attending certain events.

Chowdhury received a supervised, one-year deferred judgment in the assault case and was ordered to complete anger management and parenting classes. If he completes the classes and stays out of trouble, the case will be dismissed in one year.    

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.