Lingenfelter apologizes for derogatory comments, Council seeks to move on

Travis Lingenfelter and Monica Gates

Travis Lingenfelter and Monica Gates

Clarification: Kristi Turman wasn't concerned about the video being released. Turman was concerned about Travis Lingenfelter's comments in the video. The story has been to reflect those sentiments.

KINGMAN – City Councilman Travis Lingenfelter apologized publicly Tuesday for derogatory comments he made to his ex-wife about a year and a half ago while dropping off his son during a custody exchange, which prompted Mayor Monica Gates to call a special meeting.

The council unanimously approved a resolution at the meeting to affirm the values of “diversity, equity and inclusion” in every aspect of the city’s governance, operations and services.

Gates called the meeting after a video of Lingenfelter’s comments emerged on YouTube and shared on Facebook Sunday. Comments were posted on Facebook by both Lingenfelter and Kristi Rose Turman, who has initiated a recall petition for the councilman.

Lingenfelter has become the center of controversy on a number of fronts, including his pursuit of changes in operations and management at Kingman Airport Authority.

Turman is the fiancée of Dwayne Patterson, real estate agent with ReMax Prestige Properties and member of the KAA board of directors.

“It’s a good stance for the city to take,” Turman said after the diversity resolution was passed. “The expectation was that it was already in place. The goal of course is that we as citizens respect how we address each other.”

Turman said she did not know who anonymously posted the video of Lingenfelter’s exchange with his ex-wife in which he makes a racial slur about the nationality of her new boyfriend. The identity of the user that posted and shared the video on YouTube and Facebook has not yet been identified.

“Whoever put out the video, I don’t know what their thought process was,” Turman said.

That doesn’t detract from Lingenfelter’s comments.

“I think the community has cause for concern,” she said. “He (Lingenfelter) did say it was over a year ago and he wouldn’t continue that behavior.”

Lingenfelter said the content of the video was taken “completely out of context,” and that the incident happened well before he decided to run for City Council.

“I went through a very difficult divorce and aftermath, and it was the most painful time I have ever experienced in my life,” Lingenfelter said at the meeting. “Back then I was feeling frustrated and hurt because there was nothing I could do to protect my son from what was going (on), and I used a mean term. It was wrong and I didn’t truly mean it.

“When we are deeply hurt and upset, we have all said things that we do not mean, and anyone that says they haven’t at some difficult point in their life is lying.”

Gates said it was the content of the video that precipitated the adoption of the resolution embracing diversity.

“Whether said in anger or taken out of context, we as a community cannot defend nor will we tolerate language that is hurtful and derogatory,” she said.

“I am hopeful that the adoption of this resolution, coupled with the signed commitment to adhere to the council’s Code of Ethics and Conduct, will enable us to move beyond this recent spate of negativity and get back to the business of the city.”

Lingenfelter is also embroiled in a dispute with Kingman Fire Department over his complaint that firefighters Tom Flanagan and Marc Johnston made “crude comments” to emergency room medical staff, specifically Lingenfelter’s girlfriend, Jordan Grubbs, at Kingman Regional Medical Center, according to Kingman Police Department records.

The “crude comments” stem from texts and photos - sexting according to KPD - from Grubbs to Johnston that Johnston shared with his co-workers, Grubbs stated to the police.

The complaint was investigated by KPD, KRMC’s human resources manager, and city of Kingman Human Resources, and was determined to be untrue. Grubbs had dated Johnston in the past, but had been dating Lingenfelter for two months and was in the process of moving in with him.

The issue proceeded into the city of Kingman with Johnston claiming he was fearful for his job. Lingenfelter has been told to stay away from Johnston and KFD stations.

“It all comes down to me pushing for changes at the airport,” Lingenfelter said at Monday’s meeting of the Conservative Republican Club of Kingman. “That put a target on my back. They’re going to go personal and they’re going to go ugly. I’m going to continue doing the job you elected me to do.”

Councilwoman Jen Miles said council members are not expected to agree upon every course of action. However, they should be held to a standard of civility moving forward on contested issues.

“I would ask that those who are working to sway opinion against any one of us to stay true to civility and ethics,” Miles said. “It is very easy to fall into the trap of name-calling and character denigration. Let’s raise the bar.”