Missey Gets Settlement for Illegal Ballot Removal

4 Dec

After illegally being removed from the Arnold city council election ballot in January by city clerk Diane Waller, who played the puppet to city attorney Bob Sweeney’s puppeteer, Shaun Missey filed a federal lawsuit against the city, Waller, and Sweeney. A settlement in the case was reached in November and was just approved and announced. Missey gets $45,000 and Arnold also has to pay court costs and mediation fees. Most of this money comes from MIRMA, the city’s insurer. The city is only out about $2,000.

This surprises 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 would say he failed to pursue the proper remedy. But I think what is crucial here is not the removal from the ballot, but the media campaign Sweeney launched to defame Missey and defend his own actions. Sweeney’s past hypocrisy on the issue did not help, either.

Sweeney was forced to demean Missey in the media because his previous justifications for the ballot dismissal fell apart. First he cited state law, but in 2011 he passed around a memo that specifically said this law did not apply to municipal elections. He circulated the memo in order to defend Waller’s non-removal of city councilmen Randy Crisler and Bill Moritz from the ballot for –  wait for it – failure to pay personal property taxes. (This is why I say this is all Sweeney’s doing. He told Waller to do one thing in 2011; she wouldn’t have done the exact opposite two years later without his instructions). Then he said “Oh, I just found out that money from the personal property tax road and bridge line item goes to Arnold.” To which the city finance director, Deborah Lewis, said “no.” So that’s when Sweeney came up with his story that Missey was a swindler:

Sweeney said in the memo, “In short, Mr. Missey is apparently engaged in a marginally complex scheme to purposefully defraud the taxing authorities by rotating his vehicles and getting multi-year licenses; therefore, never declaring ownership of a vehicle.”

Sweeney said there is no case law specifically regarding disqualification for purposeful tax avoidance, but added Missey can take the matter to court.

Sweeney’s always happy to have people go to court, because his opponents have to pay out-of-pocket for lawyers, but he gets paid by the city. Cha-ching!

As for hypocrisy, along with Crisler and Moritz, Sweeney also let the name of Byrnes Mill mayor Susan Gibson stay on the ballot in 2013 despite her unpaid taxes.

So these factors combined, I think, to strike fear into Sweeney and the MIRMA folks, so a settlement was reached. Sweeney didn’t even make his usual boast to the Leader, that he had a great case and was just itching to go to trial, but MIRMA said no. Sweeney was not quoted in the article.

So once again, MIRMA is shelling out money to pay for Arnold shenanigans, like it did for Alicia Ott and Susie Boone. MIRMA dropped coverage for Ken Moss over this, which I said at the time made no sense. Perhaps MIRMA needs to think about dropping coverage for other Arnold figures.

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2 Responses to “Missey Gets Settlement for Illegal Ballot Removal”

  1. P H December 4, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    That’s “business as usual” in Arnold. Friend of the administration? They’ll jump through any hoops to see you in place. Look at even the recent “re-appointing Randy Crisler to council”. Once again, he was in arrears with his personal property taxes, and the mayor had to wait until the day before the council meeting to appoint him as he caught up with his delinquent taxes the previous day. Since this was a common occurrence, it was also pure hypocrisy on the attorneys part not to call him out on it in the press as he did Missey. But wait, Crisler was a crony of the administration and Missey wasn’t. There’s the difference!

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