Sweeney Loses in Court in Ballot Suit

20 Feb

The lawlessness behind Bob Sweeney’s removal of candidates from the April ballot over their personal property taxes was proved once and for all Friday, when Jefferson County Div. 3 Circuit Judge Nathan Stewart sided with North Jefferson County Ambulance District (NJCAD) board candidate Ron Woehrle, and ordered him to be placed back on the ballot. Stewart ruled:

“Section 115.305 is the controlling statute and applies to this (Woehrle) case,” Stewart wrote in his ruling. “Woehrle is not prohibited by 115.342 from running for the North Jefferson County Ambulance.”

This is what I have been telling you, gentle reader, all along. This is also what Bob Sweeney told Arnold City Clerk Diane Waller in a memo in 2011 (the statutes treat municipalities and special districts – fire, ambulance, etc. – identically). Of course, that was when it was his cronies were the ones who were late on their taxes. This year, when the candidates who were late on their taxes were ones that threatened his schemes, Sweeney did a 180 and decided that the law did apply to cities and special districts. Another topic on which he changed his mind was whether or not it is the city clerk’s job to investigate tax status of candidates.

While the Leader has made no mention whatsoever of Sweeney’s actions in 2011, Arnold Patch, to its credit, has done a little digging. They quoted Arnold Finance Director Deborah Lewis, who completely blew up Sweeney’s thin justification for his electoral interference. She said that Arnold in fact does not receive direct payments from personal property tax receipts. Patch also acquired this revealing memo from Sweeney, which revealed the bankruptcy of his position:

His original justification in tatters, Sweeney had to come up with something new. This memo contains no legal citations, besides reference to a law that Sweeney concedes does not apply here. This is because he has no case law or statute to back him up. He uses this memo to further smear disqualified Arnold City Council candidate Shaun Missey (“apparently engaged in a marginally complex scheme to purposefully defraud the taxing authorities”) and place responsibility for this act squarely on Waller (“Diane, as the election authority, is disinclined to certify Mr. Shaun Missey”). But Sweeney gave Waller her marching orders in 2011: do nothing. At some point, he must have told her to do differently this time around. He also tries to deflect blame for his completely incorrect understanding of Arnold finance by saying “staff initially understood that a portion of the tax funded the road and bridge line item of the City’s income.” Substitute the word “Sweeney” for the word “staff” to make this sentence correct.

The gist of this memo is that this is an unprecedented case that the law simply does not know how to handle, and that Waller’s action (no doubt done at his urging) was “perfectly reasonable.” Wrong. As Judge Stewart pointed out, the law is clear. Missey’s removal from the ballot, obviously done for political reasons, was unlawful. Unfortunately, as absentee voting for the April election has begun, it appears that this injustice will stand and Missey will remain off the ballot. But Woehrle will run, and hopefully win.

Sweeney needs to be fired. Now. By both Arnold and the NJCAD.

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4 Responses to “Sweeney Loses in Court in Ballot Suit”

  1. wrongonred February 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Note the date, Wednesday the 13th. He told the Patch he had sent a letter on Friday the 9th, or Monday the 11th. So, when the Patch asked for such a letter, it did not yet exist. Did Sweeney lie, or did the Patch lie? I care about as much for Gassaway as she cares about the ethical responsibilities of Journalism, but that said, I am not sure she is the one lying here. Though previously, she did claim to have an entire copy of the PIS Investigations report, however, according to my sources, none had yet been put together, just the summary at that time. So, either my well placed sources were lied to, or the Patch ran with the summary, and then lied in an attempt to bolster its false conclusion…..

    It is like being in the room with 2 liars, and trying to determine which is telling the truth.

    You would have thought this might have raised a few further questions from the Patch, given the memo clearly was drafted after their request. I know a real reporting with an ethical obligation to the truth would.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  3. Missey Gets Settlement for Illegal Ballot Removal | Jefferson County Penknife - December 4, 2013

    […] me a bit. I thought that, since Missey did not challenge his ballot removal in court (the way Ron Woehrle did, successfully, also against Sweeney, in a race for North Jefferson Ambulance board), that the judge […]

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