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Seattle man claims he was fired for launching recall effort against Councilmember Kshama Sawant

One man created a petition and website to recall his city council representative Kshama Sawant, and said he was fired from Three Dollar Bill Cinema because of it.

SEATTLE — A Seattle man claims he was fired for launching a recall effort against City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

Ernie Lou said was "crushed" after he was fired from his contractor job with Three Dollar Bill Cinema after putting together a website and raising money for a Sawant recall effort earlier this month. 

"She is the leftist version of the right-wing version of Trump," he said. "She's a cancer in Seattle."

Lou said he was fed up after recent demonstrations, which included a sit-in at City Hall and march to the home of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.  

Those are just two of six charges he levels against the sitting council member in his long-shot effort to recall her.

"She was leading the protestors. She was egging them on. That's not her role," he said.

Lou said the effort has raised $30,000, although the city's Public Disclosure Commission shows no donations have been reported. 

He is asking for donations for less than $25, which he said is to make sure there is a grassroots effort to unseat Sawant. However, Seattle Municipal Code also allows for those types of donations to be made without the sender having to provide a name, address, employer, or typical reporting procedures.

Not long after Lou started the website, he said he was told that his services were no longer needed at Three Dollar Bill Cinema and it was all related to his recall push.

However, the organization disputed the claim on Tuesday, with a statement that read in part: 

"Three Dollar Bill Cinema (TDBC) is saddened that an inaccurate media story is being played out in news outlets and on social media about Ernie Lou’s departure from TDBC. This inaccuracy is causing distress to people within our community and also our small non-profit organization. Mr. Lou — a longtime volunteer to TDBC and valued member of our community — was hired as a short-term contractor to help us fundraise during these challenging times due to COVID-19. While we can’t speak publicly about the specifics of employment matters, we want to clarify that Mr. Lou’s departure is not connected to the recall Kshama Sawant initiative."

It will take several steps for any sort of measure to make it to the ballot, and Lou said he will continue to push for Sawant's recall despite the setback.