A city in Maryland reelected a mayor facing accusations of bullying, sexual harassment and mismanagement of the city budget.
The city of Seat Pleasant said Mayor Eugene Grant won Monday’s election by 39 votes in a race in which almost 800 residents voted, an election with almost triple voter participation.
“As long as I have breath in my body I will continue to fight for our people,” Grant said.
For 16 years, Grant has led the small city of Seat Pleasant, which borders Washington, D.C., and he's faced controversies — including allegations of sexual harassment and assault by a former city employee.
Those allegations led to the city council stripping Grant of his CEO powers.
Then residents compiled a report accusing the mayor of mismanagement of city funds. The county's office of law recommended the Maryland state's attorney formally review the report.
Grant says he's done nothing wrong.
“I'm going to stand strong and tall no matter what they say about me, no matter what kind of attacks they hurl against me,” he said.
Jaquita Riley, who lost to Grant, is a former city employee who says Grant fired her when she announced her run for mayor, which Grant denies.
“If anything that came from this race, I made people aware of the things that are going on in Seat Pleasant,” she said.
Riley said she will request a recount.
“I’ve received an enormous amount of support from people,” she said. “They are still hopeful that I will be in the mayor’s seat pending the allegations, that he will be found guilty of those charges.”
With the electorate divided, Grant said he's ready to bring the city together.
“You mark this word, I guarantee you that some of our detractors and some of our enemies that are in Seat Pleasant right now will become our friends,” he said.
The council amended the city's charter shortly after Grant was accused of sexual harassment so he will be going into office without CEO powers.