MANOR, Texas - At a board of trustees meeting Monday, allegations were thrown out about a door being held to prevent a potential Manor ISD board of trustees candidate from submitting her application to be on the ballot.
LaKesha Small, who was planning on running for Place 4 in Manor ISD, said she was notified by the district her candidate application was rejected because it was submitted 25 seconds past the deadline. She had 30 days to turn it in.
"The law states that you have to have a completed application submitted at 5 p.m. Not one second after 5, not 10 seconds after 5, not 25 seconds after 5," Manor ISD Place 1 Board of Trustee Sam Samaripa said.
The NAACP said in a statement to the school district’s attorney, "You allowed egregious and illegal interference to decide that select candidates be placed on the ballot, despite bullying and illegal intervention."
"If they get that video, they can see what actually transpired," Samaripa said.
FOX 7 Austin requested the video, however, were not allowed to have it. FOX 7 Austin Reporter Meredith Aldis was able to view it with audio.
In the video, Laura Perez, the District’s Executive Assistant, is seen walking to her office at 5:00:47 p.m. saying she’s going to the boardroom, and she’s all done.
At 5:01 p.m., Small is heard saying she was there at 5 p.m. Small said," I was standing right there."
Perez said, "I saw you pull up, but it was literally after 5 p.m."
After what appears to be Perez talking on the phone with the district’s attorney, Perez accepts Small’s application at 5:04 p.m.
At 5:10 p.m., she tells Small she’ll call her when they’re going to do the drawing for name placement on the ballot.
Community members accused Manor ISD Board Trustee Sam Samaripa of holding the door, so Small couldn’t get in. The video doesn’t show that.
"I think it's just mudslinging, causing an uproar, because I'm up for election, so I think they're trying to make me look bad, so people won't vote for me," Samaripa said.
When the board meeting finished, Samaripa is seen on video walking down the hall to Perez’s office to get clarification about what the attorney told her on the phone.
At 5:21 p.m., Samaripa said, "I want a legal statement from her saying that was ok and if we have to look at the cameras we will. I’m going to take this to the Texas Ethics. I’ll do it. This is b.s., I’m sorry, but this is."
Samaripa had a different message on Oct. 19, "She would have been on the ballot, and I would have been enthusiastic about the whole thing because in a democracy we need the people to choose the best candidates."
FOX 7 Austin is still looking into what happened between 5:04 p.m., the night the application was accepted, and the next day when it was rejected.
At the time of this reporting, FOX 7 Austin reached out to LaKesha Small on the phone. She said she’s waiting to comment until she hears back from an attorney.
LaKesha Small is running as a write-in candidate for Place 4. Samaripa is running for re-election for a different seat, Place 2. Election day is Nov. 8.