(KTXL) — Shakir Khan is suing the city of Lodi, its mayor and council members, claiming there was “unlawful conduct” in removing him from his city council seat and officials are “ostensibly” appointing someone else to his seat.
The former Lodi City Councilmember is suing the three parties in federal court, according to the lawsuit.
The vacancy of Khan’s District 4 stemmed from his Feb. 16 arrest related to election fraud during the 2020 Election.
Hours after Khan’s arrest, Lodi Mayor Mikey Hothi visited him in jail and announced he obtained his resignation via a handwritten note both of them signed during the meeting.
Khan’s lawyer Allen Sawyer has denied his client’s resignation wasn’t valid, previously claiming he was coerced into signing the document.
Upon his release from jail, court documents say Khan sent emails to Lodi’s city clerk and the city manager, telling them he didn’t resign or authorize the release of any statement on his behalf.
The lawsuit argues Khan’s decision to signing the handwritten document “was not knowing, intelligent and voluntary” in a practical or legal matter. The lawsuit argues Khan signing the document was “a product of subterfuge, implied threats and promises.”
The lawsuit claims a proper resignation would’ve said “I resign,” “I am resigning,” “I hereby resign,” or “I resign as of [a particular date or time]” after Khan consults with his attorney.
According to court documents, the handwritten resignation letter says “the best course of action” is for Khan to resign, but the lawsuit argues that that the “best course is not the same as to commit to that course.”
The lawsuit also argues that it could be “an offer to resign” and the acceptance of resignation is “a matter of contract.”
During an investigation, officials from the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office said 41 ballots were found at Khan’s home. The sheriff’s office said about 23 names were registered to vote at Khan’s address and 47 others were registered at other addresses, but used Khan’s email and phone number.
Khan is also facing charges related to an investigation and arrest that took place before he was elected to the city council in 2020.
In 2020, Khan was arrested for illegal gambling, money laundering and tax evasion. Prosecutors in San Joaquin County accused Khan and his two brothers, Zakir Khan and Mohmmad Khan, of running illegal internet gambling hubs at two of his businesses.
Lodi City Council to hold special meeting for vacancy
The city of Lodi announced Monday its city clerk verified voter registration of all eligible applicants for the District 4 vacancy.
The city council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the LOEL Senior Center to interview candidates, hear public comment, discuss the candidates and possibly appoint someone to the vacant seat.
If the council needs more time, city officials said they will continue to discuss the candidates and appoint someone at its regularly scheduled meeting on April 5.
According to the city, here are the applicants that will be interviewed by the council:
•JoAnne L. Mounce