I think it's BS. Google turned up nothing on such a recall. Electra seems to inspire such hatred among "real" cyclists, but what's funny is that everyone, from fixed gear to recumbent to roadie to comfort-bike commuter, all consider themselves the "real" cyclists. I consider myself "real" and have paid my car-free, commuting dues as well as anyone, and I like the Townie. As a matter of fact, I've got one on layaway at the LBS.
I wanted to try out the Nexus hub as well as "flat foot technology" for my commutes. I religiously clean my drivetrain once a week, and it seriously makes chainrings, cassettes and chains last a heck of a lot longer, but I wanted to have a three speed hub for comparison's sake. Also, I work construction, and sometimes "aero" is the LAST posture I feel like crunching my back into! At $400, it's really not a bad price when you take into account that it's got a Nexus hub, which run a little higher than the Giant Suede's derailleur gears. At $400, I won't feel too terribly bad if I hate it, then I could use it as a beater without feeling bad.
Seriously folks, in countries where commuting is "normal," unlike the US, these kind of bikes are a dime-a-dozen. I like the Townie because it's designed for practicality AND beauty, though. To each their own, I say.