Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
OMAHA—Mayoral hopeful Brad Ashford has picked up two potentially controversial endorsements: State Sen. Ernie Chambers and David Sokol.
Sokol, a former top executive at Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s one time heir apparent, spent much of the last two years in a highly publicized feud with Buffett.
Chambers has long been a lightning rod for disputes across the state. He recently launched one of his patented filibusters firing verbal shots at two former state officials, Christians and the Bible.
According to Ashford’s website Chambers says, “Some may call (Ashford) a dreamer, with which I concur. However, he is also willing to work hard and tirelessly to bring those dreams to actuality.” Ashford, a state senator from Omaha, has served in the legislature with Chambers for nearly 16 years.
Sokol says he’s contributing $2,500 to Ashford’s campaign, according to a January 22 letter and email.
“You and your family’s decades of selfless service rank you as uniquely qualified to serve as Mayor,” wrote Sokol.
Sokol and Ashford were members of the original MECA board which helped make the CenturyLink downtown arena and convention center (originally the Qwest Center) a reality.
Ashford helped gain “the communities support for what has become a cornerstone of the ‘new’ Omaha,” said Sokol.
Sokol resigned his Berkshire post in 2011 following what appeared to be an insider trading scandal.
But in 2012 the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped its investigation which led Sokol to tell the Wall Street Journal, “I will never understand why Mr. Buffett chose to hurt my family in such a way, but given that he is rapidly approaching his judgement [sic] day I will leave his verdict to a higher power.”
Prior to his falling out with Buffet, Sokol turned away from Mayor Jim Suttle, one of Ashford’s four opponents in the April 2 primary election.
Nebraska Watchdog reported exclusively that in a March, 2010 letter Sokol lashed out at Suttle.
“Jim, is your term of office going to be remembered for great accomplishments through collaboration? Or one filled with acrimony and further decay of Omaha’s historic ‘one for all’ attitude.”
Sokol then contributed $50,000 to the unsuccessful 2011 attempt to recall Suttle.
Sokol also had a stormy relationship with former Mayor Mike Fahey who tried but failed to have Sokol ousted from the MECA board.
Fahey argued that Sokol, who had moved to Wyoming, was no longer a resident of Douglas County and therefore unable to serve on the board.
When Fahey was told by private donors to the new downtown ballpark that if Sokol was out so was their money, Fahey cried uncle and Sokol stayed.
Fahey is also endorsing Ashford.
Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]
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