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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here
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.
- 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.
- 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.