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Breaking News: Suttle’s Opponents at Odds With Each Other

By   /   December 8, 2010  /   News  /   20 Comments

UPDATE: John Chatelain’s full statement  (bottom of page); statement from Jim Cleary (see below in red).

At least two of the men who want Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle recalled, one who might run for Mayor, are now fighting each other.

Attorney John Chatelain, one of the founders of the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee, is accusing Dave Nabity of using the recall to foster Nabity’s possible campaign for Mayor.

Nabity, who says he’s not running for Mayor “yet”, tells Nebraska Watchdog that Chatelain’s allegations are “ridiculous.”

Nabity admits however that without Suttle’s recall, Nabity would have to wait until at least 2013 to run for Mayor.

Two of the main consultants behind the recall are Jim Cleary and Pat McPherson, both close associates of former Mayor Hal Daub. Daub is often mentioned as a candidate for Mayor if Suttle is recalled.  Nabity was asked by Nebraska Watchdog if he thinks Chatelain is helping Daub by pushing Nabity out. Nabity answered, “It has crossed my mind, but I don’t want to get into all that.”

Following Nabity’s comments, Cleary issued a statement to Nebraska Watchdog. According to Cleary, “To stay true to the original promise made by the committee to stay independent from any candidates who might run in a Special Election if Mayor Suttle is recalled, I had already made the decision that I will not work for any candidate in that election.” 

In a two page statement Chatelain says during the recall petition drive Nabity said “if he wasn’t allowed to ‘take control’ of the campaign and put paid staffers and consultants of his choosing in place, that he would take ‘his donors’ and form a second recall organization.”

Nabity, who insists Chatelain is manufacturing a story, says it is possible that in the short term Suttle will benefit from this feud.

Chatelain says his fight with Nabity does not have any bearing on the legitimacy of the “28,720 validated signatures, although it’s possible that Mayor Suttle’s attorney may try to spin it that way.”   

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

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John Chatelain Statement

Dec. 8, 2010

 John is the treasurer of the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee, one of its founding members, and one of four principals who created the committee with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.

 Preliminary Comments 

  • All statements by me pertain to committee activities that occurred during periods other than when I represented the committee as its attorney from Nov. 30-Dec. 8th.
  • As one of the principals of the committee, I am authorizing our consultants, Jim Cleary and Pat McPherson to speak to the media to verify any of this information on which they may have knowledge
  • My reason for issuing this statement is to protect the integrity of our committee and our effort and because I believe that the truth needs to be told.
  • In my opinion, nothing in this statement in ANY way has any bearing on the legality or the validity of the 28,720 validated signatures, although it’s possible that Mayor Suttle’s attorney may try to spin it that way.

 Our Promise to the Citizens

  • When the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee began this effort last September, one of the important promises we made to the citizens of Omaha was that this was a true grass roots effort and that we were not a front for anyone’s mayoral ambitions. 
  • That promise has been broken by some and has jeopardized the integrity of this committee.  Today, I want to set the record straight to restore that integrity.


David Nabity’s Involvement

  • Early on, Dave Nabity had contact with members of our group.  He was frequently told that he should keep his distance from the committee, in light of our promise of neutrality and his possible candidacy for mayor, should the Recall be successful.
  • About two weeks into our petition campaign, Dave told members of the committee that he had talked to potential donors who were interested in funding a paid effort to supplement the volunteer effort.
  • Approximately $200,000 was raised toward that effort.  There was nothing untoward about that, but Mr. Nabity later attempted to use those bundled contributions to wield power over various activities of the committee.
  • Dave independently hired Paul Jacob of Citizens in Charge and said that Paul’s payment would be “taken care of” and that it need not be a concern of the committee.
  • It was during this time that Mr. Nabity attempted to have more and more influence over the committee’s efforts, often attempting to micromanage various aspects of the effort.
  • Mr. Nabity insisted that money to pay the paid workers be funneled through an entity other than our committee treasurer.  Initially, there was a legitimate reason behind this, as checks needed to be written to temp workers at the end of each day.  The two LLCs are:
    • SRW LLC owned by Sarah Weir
    • Polish Enterprises LLC owned by Paul Vojcheshoske.                                                                                                                                   
  • At one point, Mr. Nabity insisted that I give up my position as treasurer. This occurred at a meeting on Nov. 22nd.  I refused to do so.
  • At the same meeting, Mr. Nabity also attempted to completely take over our committee’s activities.  He stated that if he wasn’t allowed to “take control” of the campaign and put paid staffers and consultants of his choosing in place, that he would take “his donors” and form a second recall organization.
  • At that point, we began to suspect that Mr. Nabity was putting his own mayoral campaign team in place and wanted to control the recall campaign through it.

The Donors

  • Those who made the significant contributions to the campaign did so in good faith and we are extremely grateful to them.  There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of them acted with anything other than honest intentions.
  • It appears that Mr. Nabity took advantage of their generosity in order to position himself in the recall effort in such a way as to enhance his own mayoral ambitions and compromise the integrity of the recall campaign in the process.

The Recall Election

  • I believe that the Recall Election will go forward and that come spring Omaha will have a new mayor.
  • Exactly what role this committee will play in that effort is still to be deteremined, but it is critical, in my mind, that we go forward with our integrity and neutrality in tact and that we live up to the original promise that we made to the citizens.


  • Just speaking for myself, I continue to believe that Omaha can do much better than Mayor Suttle.  If Mr. Suttle is removed from office by the voters, I think that the selection of a new mayor should occur in a fair and balanced way, which is why I am making this statement.



Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Max Webster

    Dave Nabity is a friend of mine, and I have never heard him say that he is interested in running for mayor. I’m not sure John Chatelain is doing other than carry the water for Hal Daub.

    Hal Daub had his chance to be mayor and because of his poor leadership, he has been rejected by Omaha voters the last two times he ran. Plus he’s much older now and who knows what kind of health he’s in.

    David’s a relatively young man and is still happily married to his first wife. I think Hal is on wife number 2.

  • bw1

    this is hilarious — the bickering of the backers of this campaign will make it so that during the run off Suttle will be re-elected due to the division within the repulicans in town

  • bobsee

    Seriously? The Wife #2 comment…if that has anything to do with being a qualified candidate for mayor please explain. Maybe she was recalled and unfit for duty. I almost forgot how backwards this city really is.

  • TexasAnnie

    Seriously? The backwards city comment…if that notion could have been forgotten y’all wouldn’t need a recall. Suttle wouldn’t even be Mayor…

  • James

    This type of reporting is starting to sound like old ladies “gossip.” Just the facts, ma’am. Not “he said, she said anymore…please!” Seriously!

  • OFD & Proud

    Just as I have suspected all along. Appears there was an anti-union agenda behind this whole thing. But that’s okay, in the meantime we will just continue protecting and serving the citizens and community 24/7, without a current contract, without any pay increases, and without the support of the Republicans. Oh, and if you Republicans have a EMS or Fire emergency in Omaha, we will still respond.

  • OFD & Proud

    Just like I thought, an anti union agenda behind this attempted recall of OUR MAYOR. But that’s okay, we will continue to protect and serve the citizens and our community 24/7 without a current contract, without any pay increases, and without the support of the Republicans. Oh, and by the way, if you Republicans have a EMS or Fire emergency, we will still respond.

  • tdanny

    All you anti-recall folks must have been wrong in believeing that the pro-recall folks are republicans. It is obvious the way they fight and bicker with one another that they MUST be democrats!!!

  • Rich

    James, I agree

  • Drew

    This is simply not news. This is typical of ANY political organization. People get their egos in a bent instead of thinking things through. Watch. 3 months from now both men will have little memory of this exchange.

  • http://google Omaha Thinker

    Watch the local Omaha scandal sheet and AP ditto head make hay with this.

    They refused for 8 years to expose M. Fahey for the figurehead he was as Mayor. They still seek input from the real decision maker of that regime, a prof of “political science” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) at UNO. I won’t be surprised if somehow the paper doesn’t attempt to grace us with the wisdom of Chuck Hagel and Bob Kerrey on the recall which they manage to do on other mundane issues on a far too regular basis.

    Further, all the claims by demoncrats that Suttle is just attempting to fix a mess he was left with is rot. He was active as a councilperson for 4 years of Faheys tenure and because of their closeness as political allies he had to be aware and complicent in any and all spending, contract, budget decisions.

  • Jazzee

    I don’t understand why John just didn’t go have a beer with Nabity and iron this out. The purpose of going public rather than acting like adults doesn’t add up.

  • Rob

    Jazzee, I think the answer is spelled D-A-U-B. Nabity might be getting out in front and someone wanted to bring him back to the pack.

  • Icon

    Hey Joe,

    I’d like, & I’m sure the other 20 people that read your site it might also, a little Backstory on you & your site, SVP. Just for whom are you Spinning? From occasionally reading & watching, I’d have to say some Dem??? but it’s a fair mix of Doublespeak, sort of??? Care to come clean??? Or if anyone out there knows the answer to my question, feel free!!!!

    Suggestion: how about a hit counter on the site so we can watch you grow???

  • Jerry

    Your a fool to believe that Nabity’s ultimate goal from the very beginning of all this wasn’t a bid for the Mayor’s seat. Why do you think he demonized the public safety workers? It wasn’t to expose shennanigans it was to hobble them as political powers. He’s clearing a path to the Mayors job so he and his business buddies have complete control of Omaha’s political landscape.

  • Bob Smith

    This, and the debacle at Trinity Church a couple of years ago, just goes to show that Nagity only cares about himself and attempts to destroy those that do not agree with him. It is clear he is a divider. It is not possible for him to get over his own ego. In all true sense of the word Nagity is Hypocrit.

  • http://google Omaha Thinker

    bob smith the wannabe fireman is back. any doubt he is really a she who lives in washington county?

  • leslie

    Signatures are collected and now people are tripping over themselves vying for a job that isn’t even vacant yet!!

    Stick them all on an island in the middle of nowhere and see who can gain control. There’s you’re new leader.

  • leslie

    That should have been “your” new leader. Literally… I’m watching this soap opera from Lincoln.

  • PBL

    I know John Chatelain and he isn’t carrying water for anyone. Furthermore, not all of the petition signers are Republican and not all of the recall signers are anti-union. They ALL want this bad Mayor out!! The same Mayor OFD & Proud claims as “OUR MAYOR”; the Mayor bought and paid for by the unions; just like the absentee Mayor (Fahey) was.