Saturday, July 19, 2008


After attending the last council meeting Monday July 7, 2008, we at Freedom Of Speech decided to have a wait and see approach and do some more research about the issue of the Redistricting of New Albany.

Several comments have been said by both Council members, plaintiffs and the Redistricting committee.

Our intentions are to put the pieces together and see what we come up with.

Are these the key plaintiffs in lawsuit?

Randy Smith
Roger Baylor
John Gonder - Council member
Jeff Gillenwater
Lloyd Wimp

Ruthanne Wolfe - wife of Councilman John Gonder


Stephen Beardsley - Attorney for Plaintiffs
Jerry Ulrich - Attorney for Defendants

Source: Federal Court document

Freedom Of Speech would like to point out:

for well over a year our previous City Council had been trying to resolve the redistricting problem before this committee was even formed.

We feel that when an elected officials take the oath of office they should be held liable and accountable for THEIR actions.

This underhanded way of doing the PEOPLE'S business in New Albany is unacceptable.

Freedom Of Speech can only present to you our readers the FACTS of the redistricting matter.

Federal and State laws have been broken, taxpayers have been billed for Plaintiff's Consent Decree, and illegal meetings and much more.

What we have been reading, hearing and seeing over the last 1 1/2 years, is nothing but purely a political movement "to influence an election or to take out certain elected council members" in our opinion.

You be the judge!

In 2007 the Elected Council members were as followed: Larry Kochert , Dan Coffey, Bill Schmidt, Steve Price, Beverly Crump, Jeff Gahan, Donnie Blevins, Kevin Zurschmiede and Jack Messer.

On or around September 2007 Plaintiff Jeff Gillenwater reply's to Council President Larry Kochert's remarks in Saturday's Tribune:

Kochert accused the plaintiff's in the case of being political "wannabes" Gillenwater stated in his response " But, allow me to be blunt, Council President Kochert's bad faith bargaining thus far has created a strong impression that the council has no intension of committing to a fair and legal redistricting process."

What the plaintiffs weren't telling were the entire facts. Deep throat told us: "every time they meet at the federal court house meetings the plaintiffs would change to a new or additional demands."

On September 20, 2007:

Lloyd Wimp [plaintiff] presented another proposal for the redistricting.

Let's look at the facts:

Attorney Fee date - October 4, 2007 - Description: Tele. conference w/Mr. Messer re: resolution

Attorney Fee date - October 5, 2007 - Description: Conference w/ Mr. Messer re: amended Consent Decree; Draft Amended Decree; revise original Decree; prepare Resolution; prepare Ordinance, forward to Mayor
Attorney Hours: 3.80
Attorney Amount: $570.00

Attorney Fee date: - October 9, 2007 - Description: Re-draft Resolution/Consent Degree, Conf. w/Mr. Messer, meetings (2)
Attorney Hours: 3.80
Attorney Amount: $570.00
Attorney: Ulrich & Vidra

Source: Bills submit to Controller Garry

Taxpayers, are you still with us?

Atty. Jerry L. Ulrich was defendant's attorney, not plaintiffs attorney and he was drawing up agreements for Councilman Messer for the plaintiffs. Was he doing work for plaintiffs and defendants and charging us taxpayers? Did Mr. Messer take it upon himself with out council approval to do this?

Question Mr. Smith: Why didn't Plaintiff's own attorney Bearsley draw these agreements up?

What authority did Councilman Messer have to negotiate and who gave him the approval to run taxpayer's tab up?

October 18, 2007: Mr. Kochert stated the way Mr. Messer got to be chairman of the redistricting committee was that he came up to him after the meeting and told him that he was going to be the chair.

Source: Council minutes

Check out the date of legal services and the date of Mr. Kochert's comments.

Is this not a case of Conflict of Interest on Council Attorney Ulrich's part?
Whose side was he on anyway?

Based on legal bills submitted to Controller Garry by Attorney Ulrich, we taxpayers carried the tab without approval by our council.

Hell fire, whose side was Messer on anyway?

Did Councilman Messer cut a deal with the plaintiffs before the November election?

Taxpayers, are you still with us?

Keep reading: this is starting to get interesting!

R07-35A states: IT IS SO ORDERED, Response: All discussions and deliberations on the issue of redistricting between members of the City Council shall take place only at regular or especially called meetings of the Council with notice to the public at least 48 hours in advance.

Source: Public record

On December 27, 2007 Mr. Messer stated that they did have a piece of paper that the plaintiff's signed and they could have been done with this lawsuit and the judge isn't happy with this ordinance and if they don't rule in favor then they will still be dealing with it next year and they had to push this through at the last hour makes no sense and that they option to take care of this and they chose not to take it.

Source: council minutes

What paper is Councilman Messer talking about?

Document B - Consent Decree

Reviewed, Signed and approved by the following:

Peter A. Vogt
Jeff Gillenwater
Roger Baylor
Randy Smith
Lloyd Wimp
Stephen Bearsley - Council for Plaintiffs


Reviewed, Signed and approved Document B by the following:
Councilman Jack Messer
Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede
Council women Beverly Crump
James Garner, Sr. Mayor - City of New Albany

Again, go back to our legal fee list: for date of this Consent Decree.

Source: Public Record

We have a question for Councilman Messer: Why weren't the other Council members notified of this Consent Decree until after it had been drawn up and signed, then it was provided to the other council members?

On July 7, 2008 Mr. Messer stated: that there was NO POLITICS played in this committee except the politics for the people and not the politicians.

Source: July 7, 2008 Council minutes

Didn't you really mean to say: there was politics played on this committee the politics for the plaintiffs?

It is what it is...Councilman Messer ~ shame on you!

footnote: Part 11 of: Is this Smithgate or Watergate?