COVINGTON - Bobby Sigman said Thursday he will remain in the Covington mayor's race despite announcing earlier this week that he would withdraw.
Sigman released a statement calling the story regarding his withdrawal "mistaken" and "unverified."
"I am certain many of your readers would hope this accurate story concerning my campaign gets the same amount of front page coverage as your mistaken unverified story which you printed in haste without getting any facts or quotes from officials with the city who would have told you, 'No, Mr. Sigman has not withdrawn,'" the statement said.
Sigman himself told the Citizen Tuesday he was withdrawing, following the release of an undercover video by the Covington Police showing him apparently purchasing stolen campaign signs of his opponent, Ronnie Johnston. But on Thursday, he said, "I meant I was withdrawing from the campaign, not the office." Asked point blank if he was denying the statements he made two days earlier, Sigman responded, "I don't know," and began laughing. He continued laughing loudly as he walked out the doors of the Citizen office.
Before he left, he also added, "I'm going to lose. I know it. It's not going to be a big deal."
In the statement he released Thursday, Sigman said,"When I thought it was best for me to withdraw, my supporters came forward in huge numbers to convince me to remain in the race."
Sigman never filed a notorized affadavit for withdrawal with the Board of Elections Office, Director Donna Morrison said.
Sigman was arrested the evening of October 12 following an undercover operation by police and charged with making false statements within a political subdivision, theft by taking and criminal trespass, all misdemeanors. On Tuesday, police released a video showing Sigman meeting an unidentified man at a Washington Street service station. The man, who was wearing a police video and audio device, got into Sigman's vehicle and directed him to a wooded area where approximately 50 Ronnie Johnston campaign signs were stashed.
Sigman shows no surprise that the individual had collected the signs, but instead points out a Johnston sign they pass en route, telling the man, "There's a dollar you missed."
Once at the site where the signs were piled, Sigman and the man load the trunk of Sigman's vehicle with the signs and the man directs Sigman where to take him. When it comes time to pay the individual for the signs, Sigman offers him a $50 bill, but the man argues with him, saying Sigman had promised him $2 per sign. Sigman tells him he only agreed to pay $1.
"It's obvious there was a deal and you can hear the negotiations," CPD Capt. Ken Malcom said at a press conference. "If an arrest had not taken place, we believe the sign thefts would have continued."
Malcom said the CPD investigation into this incident before Sigman's arrest lasted only a day. A citizen reported someone stealing her Johnston sign out of her yard and the police were able to locate that person and gain information that led them to Sigman.
In the statement released to the media Thursday, Sigman alleges that he's heard reports in recent days of "reports to law enforcement over the years, some even including videos of candidates taking other candidates signs, only to have law enforcement respond with, 'We don't think this type of thing is important enough to warrant spending our time on.' I suppose anyone can see with the amount of time and effort that was put into this recent issue by local law enforcement points out how politically motivated these actions were."
Sigman goes on to say that if elected mayor, Police Chief Stacey Cotton "would not be appointed to the City Manager's job when Mr. (Steve) Horton leaves next year. I am intent upon hiring a firm to search nationwide to find the best possible experienced candidate for that job."
When asked to comment, Cotton said: "The only comment I have is the police department was presented with a complaint from a victim that a theft had occurred, officers investigated and made a case against Mr. Sigman. I stand by our officers. I personally don't have any comment on the rest of it."
News Editor Barbara Knowles contributed to this story.