WISN 12 News has learned 58-year-old Garrett Huff, McGee's uncle and campaign manager during the alderman's recall election, has been accused of paying constituents for their votes [Read Criminal Complaint].$5.00/vote is a little bit better than cigarette money. Three undercover cops is going to make this a tough case for even someone like Mike Maistelman. Speaking of whom, does everyone remember this? How about this classic?
The investigation began when McGee himself filed a complaint with the election commission looking into the activities of his opponents.
The city election commission received and forwarded a flyer to the district attorney's office, which announced free food and drink to anyone who showed up at Magic Mother Foods, Atkinson Liquor, or McGee's headquarters and showed their "I Voted" stickers. The flyers instructed voters to go cast absentee ballots at City Hall prior to the April 3 election.
Voters were also offered $5 and rides to City Hall in exchange for absentee votes in favor of McGee, prosecutors said.
Three undercover officers posed a[s] voters and were offered the money and rides.
Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee Jr's attorney Mike Maistelman just sent the following letter to ViAnna Jordan's attorney Paul Bucher:D'oh! Looks like it was $5.00, not $10.00. I'm sure an apology from the Jordan campaign can be expected any minute now.
Re: ViAnna Jordan’s false, deceptive, and malicious statements about Alderman Michael McGee, Jr.
As you know, our offices represent Alderman Michael McGee, Jr. It has been brought to my attention that your client, ViAnna Jordan after her recent election night loss attempted to justify her loss by telling people; including the media that Alderman McGee paid people $10.00 to vote early1.
This letter serves as general notice that your client’s false, deceptive and malicious statements are without any merit and rise to the level of slander and libel2.
Unless you can provide me with documentation to the contrary, your client’s statements will be presumed to be knowingly false and/or made with reckless disregard for the truth.
These and other scandalous statements by your client are factually incorrect and an outrageous lie used for the sole purpose to justify her significant loss to Alderman McGee.
Discussing a candidate’s conduct is rightfully fair game. But maliciously and recklessly alleging criminal conduct3 is inflammatory, actionable and in the end is a disservice to the electorate.
Since Alderman McGee is up for reelection next year, any further false, misleading and deceptive statements by your client could also make her liable for damages including the penalties under Wis. Stats. Sec. 12.05.
Wis. Stats. Sec. 12.05 entitled “False representations affecting elections” provides:
1 Fox 6 – News 4/5/07 - ViAnna Jordan says, "it would be interesting to know how many people that voted were felons, it would be interesting to go back and talk to those people who did vote early, who were paid 10 dollars to go vote. "
2 See New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964),
3 See Wis. Stats. Sec. 12.11 et. seq. entitled “Election Bribery” the violation of which is a Class I Felony.
No person may knowingly make or publish, or cause to be made or published, a false representation pertaining to a candidate or referendum which is intended or tends to affect voting at an election. [Emphasis added]
The penalties for violating Wis. Stats. Sec. 12.05 are as follows:
Wis. Stats. Sec. 12.06(1)(b) entitled “Penalties” provides:
Whoever violates s. 12.03, 12.05, 12.07, 12.08 or 12.13 (2) (b) 8., (3) (b), (c),
(d), (g), (i), (n) to (x), (zm) or (zn) may be fined not more than $1,000, or
imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.” [Emphasis added]
My objective is not to threaten your client with penalties but to protect the public from false, misleading and deceptive statements.
Michael S. Maistelman
c: Alderman Michael McGee, Jr. (Via email)
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