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Tempe Removes Councilman Kolby Granville From Office After Alleged Misconduct

Tempe Council Council voted unanimously Friday to remove Councilman Kolby Granville from office.

The decision was came almost a year and a half after former students of a Tempe charter school where Granville taught alleged after they graduated, but were still under 21, Granville furnished alcohol and made unwanted sexual advances.

“I believe the women,” said Councilwoman Lauren Kuby. “Councilmember Granville has lost the trust of this body and the trust of the community.”

Granville’s lawyer Jay Calhoun said the removal process was biased, unfair and did not afford her client due process.

“Councilman Granville was held as a scapegoat for all sexual assault,” Calhoun said in a prepared statement.  

Granville abstained from the vote. He was first elected in 2012. Bicycle infrastructure, little free libraries and affordable housing were among the issues Granville advocated for while on council.

Tempe City Council will hold a special meeting Monday at 4 p.m.  to discuss filling Granville’s seat. The council can appoint a replacement to serve out Granville’s term through June 2020 within 30 days. After 90 days the council can call for a special election.

The council considered an investigation from an outside lawyer, a report from Phoenix police, testimony from the public and other documents in making their decision. Granville was not charged with a crime after victims said they would not testify.

A change to the city’s charter approved last fall gave the council the power to remove one of its members for unlawful conduct involving “moral turpitude, fraud or corruption,” with five of seven votes.

The city’s investigation stemmed from allegations made by former students of the Tempe charter school where Granville taught. Tempe Preparatory Academy fired Granville in December 2017.

Granville maintained in an interview the lawyer hired by the city he did not give the women alcohol. He did date one of the women.

“There is serious concerns of a pattern of behavior that misuses a pattern of authority as a teacher, lawyer and a council member,” said Councilwoman Robin Arredondo-Savage Friday.

Dozens of community members weighed in during public comment — a few defended Granville’s integrity, but most called for his removal.

“While the city council values the opinion of our residents and the public concerning this matter, opinion is not evidence and will not be considered evidence for the purpose of this hearing,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell told the audience as the meeting started.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.