Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Inconvenient Bit Of Truth

One of the dumbest non-stories of the year actually got interesting. The Siren's kittens will recall the brouhaha over Mayor Dickert saying on local radio that an unnamed city employee had been fired for pilfering of some kind. Not the slickest bit of inside information to share publicly, but what are you gonna do?

Shortly after, former city employee Bill Bielefeldt filed suit in circuit court saying the Mayor was referring to him and he was now a victim of slander because he was the only recently employee fired and was not fired for embezzlement.

Eric Marcus
Political opponents of the Mayor believed this would be the undoing of his reelection ambitions. RacineUncovered, a local blog written by Beth David was the first to exploit the case as well as the entanglements of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program for which Bielefeldt had worked.

Alas, no one cared and Mayor Dickert went on to reelection winning more than 70% of the vote over opponent, Eric Marcus, in spite of David's firm and frequent endorsement of Marcus on her website.

Beth David
In June, lawyers for John Dickert asked the City of Racine be named third party defendants and the Mayor requested the courts to invoke a state of indemnification in which any damages from the suit would be covered by the city since he was acting in his role as Mayor.

On July 14th the city's Executive Committee voted to recommend the request for indemnity which will go to the full council on Tuesday. There is not much doubt it will it should. Dickert was clearly acting in his role as Mayor.

Yesterday, David wrote a breathless post saying the people of Racine should contact their Aldermen immediately stating:
"It’s time for residents to say enough is enough, these are our tax dollars being used to run this city into the ground."
That's cool, she feels differently than the Executive Committee on this issue, freedom of speech is a beautiful thing. However in all her numerous posts castigating John Dickert she has failed to mention she is named as a corroborating witness in Bill Bielefeldt's slander case. In fact she is named twice as a person willing to attest to Mr. Bielefeldt's humiliation and anguish.
Bielefeldt Deposition (click to enlarge)

Even more interesting, the Mayor's opponent and current Alderman Eric Marcus is also named twice as a corroborating witness and as the person who brought the entire matter to Bielefeldt in the first place - by Bielefeldt himself.

So why is this important or interesting?

The Siren guesses that Mr. Marcus and some of his supporters saw an opportunity to advance his chances of winning the Mayor's race with something admittedly foolish of the Mayor to say. Bielefeldt, smarting and perhaps bitter over his dismissal was a willing participant - he no doubt was ripe to go after the guy he blamed for losing his job.

Bielefeldt Deposition (click to enlarge)
Unfortunately, John Dickert has a pretty good attorney who understands the law. If Bielefeldt wins his case the people of Racine pay the damages not John Dickert.

So what is Marcus' role in all this? From Bielefeldt's own deposition, Marcus initiated the call that informed him of the radio statement by the Mayor and Marcus was a willing corroborating witness to the case. Neither Marcus or David have admitted or explained their role which is far from passive.
Bielefeldt Deposition (click to enlarge)

Was this a plan to disgrace the Mayor that backfired? If Marcus was party to an inept lawsuit to further his political ambitions that may cost city residents thousands of dollars he has some explaining to do.

Ahem, Mr. Lovejoy...that's your cue.