Mayor Rebecca Jimenez shouted back at audience members at the Town Council’s Thursday night meeting after residents demanded that she resign.
“We were never friends,” Jimenez shouted to a woman in the crowd. Guadalupe, which covers less than one square mile, has a population of 6,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The town is located approximately three miles southwest from downtown Tempe.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security alleged in 2014 that Jimenez received food stamps to which she was not entitled, by not reporting that her children’s father was living in the family home. The father’s income, had it been reported, would have disqualified Jimenez from receiving such aid, the DES said.
A grand jury indicted Jimenez on four felony counts, including welfare fraud. Those charges were dropped this summer after Jimenez pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor possession of a forgery device. She was sentenced to unsupervised probation and will re-pay more than $5,000 to the state, according to the DES.
Vice Mayor Andrew Sanchez announced to the crowd Thursday that he has started a recall petition against Jimenez. Sanchez, who showed an old photo of him wearing a “Rebecca Jimenez for Mayor” t-shirt, said he already has one-third of the 180 signatures he needs to put the recall to a public vote.
Jimenez told ABC15 before the meeting that she will not resign. She did not comment as she left the meeting.
"It just becomes very dangerous rhetoric when you use me to get your 30 seconds of fame,” Jimenez told Sanchez during the fading moments of the meeting.
Sanchez said after the meeting that he would resign in exchange for Jimenez’ resignation.