Home  >  Nebraska  >  Chambers and Sokol back Ashford for mayor

Chambers and Sokol back Ashford for mayor

By   /   February 25, 2013  /   17 Comments

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

OMAHA—Mayoral hopeful Brad Ashford has picked up two potentially controversial endorsements: State Sen. Ernie Chambers and David Sokol.

Ernie Chambers

Ernie Chambers

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.

David Sokol

David Sokol

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]

To subscribe to news updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no charge, click here











Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Darth Watchdog

    Ernie Chambers endorsement = kiss of death

  • Kevin

    I would not accept the endorsement of a racist.

  • LukeinNE

    So Ashford is going after the angry person vote apparently?

  • Hunyock

    To answer the question posed by David Sokol to Mayor Suttle about his legacy. I think that Mayor Suttle will be looked back and see a mayor who got stuck with an city budget that was $40 million in the hole and an economy that was dropping like a stone.

    Mayor Suttle made the right choices for the city and kept Omaha from suffering through a recession that decimated much of the country. Our budget is in the black, new business continues to move to our city, our unemployment is the lowest of the 102 cities with populations over 500,000. Forbes magazine named Omaha the most affordable city in the US just last year and WallSt 24/7 just named Omaha the 16th best managed city in the U.S. just a month ago.

    When a major flood threatened our city a couple of years ago, the mayor organized and ran a plan to protect our city and succeeded with little affect to us. Mayor Suttle has also spent many hours in fighting the 1.2 billion Federally unfunded sewer separation mandate that effects everyone who pays into MUD. He has traveled to Washington 3 or 4 times and is the lead spokesman of all the cities that are effected by this mandate. Suttle has also worked hard with city planners and has begun many projects like the Crossroads, Elkhorn Downtown revitalization and the new Business Center in North Omaha among many others. These and many others will help keep Omaha growing at a healthy rate.

    People may complain about the man, but the results of the last four years are all around. Omaha has done very well during these troubling times and much of the credit should go to Mayor Suttle for good management of the city. I just hope that the voters see how healthy the city is and give the Mayor some of the credit when it comes time to vote.

  • Hunyock

    If you doubt my words, just check out that today, the Brookings Institute stated that Omaha has weathered the recession better than any other U.S. City. Thank to all who worked through these times and to Mayor Suttle. There is Jim Suttle’s legacy in a nutshell Mr. Sokol.

  • Kevin

    Suttle will also be remembered as the mayor who proposed new taxes as the fix-it means for many problems. And don’t forget the fire contract fiasco that has blame aplenty to go around, some of which was his (as well as the city council).

  • Hunyock

    You mean the Restaurant tax that seems to have not affected anyone since restaurants revenues are growing because our overall economy is growing. When are you going to realize that it is about spending, taxes are just a result of that.
    You mean the raises to help keep Pam Spacaratella who has been proven to have saved millions to the Omaha economy and was worth her weight in gold to Omaha. Stothert chased her off and the city is worse off because of it. By the way, the Mayor can do whatever he wants with his budget and there is nothing secretive about it and he does NOT need to go through the City Council to do it.
    Do you mean the fire contract that Stothert took over and gave us the same contract 18 months later except for the fact that she said that she made the firefighters pay more into their pension but neglected to say that she also gave the firefighters higher wage increases that more than make up for the added deductions.. If the mayor had negotiated in bad faith, why isn’t this contract better because the OWH says it isn’t.

  • Mr Sokol does not even live in Omaha any longer. MECA is the worse thing to happen to Omaha since the 1978 blizzard.
    Why would Mr Ashford ask for the endorsement of the disgraced former Berkshire Hathaway exec? Sokol thought he was the king of the city, and the mayor was just one of his pawns.
    We saw how that hubris came out.
    Where did Mr Sokol get the money he gave to Creighton and Nebraska and donated to anti-Suttle? Did he get it from insider trading?
    Ashford is looking at a 5th place finish in this race.


  • chuck drew

    Ola Hunyock, You are obviously one of Suttles drones! The fact is, that Suttle has done basically nothing for the city other than keep it going No Where! Everything you state that he has done has nothing to do with him. One thing that he has done however, is to feed a lot of federal $$$ into unnecessary road pavings!

    Question; What about the Major EPA Sewer project that other cities took care of 50 years ago??

    The bottom line is, is that Suttle is a totally unimaginative dolt!

  • ProgressiveOasis

    Wow! Killer endorsements from a crook and a schnook…should really give Ashford a boost with those who admire his failure as a businessman and long history of living off the taxpayers.

  • Freddy

    Brad Ashford must be thrilled with his latest endorsements…a racist
    Marxist and an unindicted insider trader. Almost makes Mayor Moron look

  • Eddy

    I used to support Ashford but and now supporting Jean Stothert. He is all over the board! What a clown!

  • Teddy

    Brad Ashford just pushed the eject button by soliciting their support. His campaign is over!

  • Hunyock

    So, let me get this straight. You want to blame Mayor Suttle for all the newly paved roads in Omaha instead of the bad ones that were there before. Mayor Suttle has had more roads paved in the last four years than the last 3 Mayors combined, but if you want to go hatin on it, be my guest.

    About the Unfunded Sewer Separation mandate, Suttle is the ONLY mayor since it became an issue many years ago to actually start work on it while at the same time, he has gone to Washington four times to fight against it being up to the taxpayers of Omaha to pay the whole $1.2 billion. True that this cost wouldn’t have been so high if some of the previous mayors had done something about it, but that is not Suttles fault. Work on this has been going on for the last couple of years. He has even offered up new plans on the design that would save the taxpayers money.

  • ProgressiveOasis

    BTW, having the SEC decline to prosecute is not exactly the same thing as being declared innocent Mr. Sokol. You front ran the Lubrizol acquisition by Berkshire and everyone knows it…now and forever. I hope destroying your career and reputation was worth the “peanuts” you got for front running the deal…talk about throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars in future earnings…amazing!

  • Rich

    Can you imagine a new world?
    Chambers as chief of Police and Sokol as Finance Director.

  • Exactly PO.. Sokol thought his s… did not stink. His sending the Royals to Sarpy hurt Omaha badly.