Hearing to be set in Scheeler complaint
There will be a hearing set in the case of a complaint filed against Brainerd City Councilman Gary Scheeler.
An administrative law judge from the Minnesota Office of Administrate Hearings (MOAH) determined a complaint brought against Scheeler constitutes a “prima facie” violation, or that the facts alleged are sufficient enough to show a violation. Had prima facie not been shown, the complaint would have been dismissed.
A pre-hearing will be conducted by phone at the end of the month and an evidentiary hearing date will be set, said Chief Judge Tammy Pust. At the hearing, both sides will present their case to a three judge panel. That panel will determine if Scheeler used “bribery, treating and solicitation” during his 2012 campaign for his Brainerd City Council seat.
The complaint was filed by Brainerd resident Jeff Czeczok, and it stems from a closed session meeting on Jan. 7 when the city council was discussing possibly giving raises during a round of union contract negotiations.
According to the complaint:
“(Scheeler) described his campaign activities in the 2012 campaign season ... (Scheeler) provided money to a woman and her two children for a meal. He described how he estimated how he donated more in the 2012 campaign than to all the churches. He described how a homeless man approached him and asked (Scheeler) what he could do for him. (Scheeler) described how he told the homeless man to go to Brainerd Country Power and apply for a job.” (Scheeler owns the business.)
The complaint continues, “(Scheeler) stated how his wife told him he was going to go broke if he continued campaigning in the manner he was describing during the closed meeting.”
Scheeler’s lawyer, Ed Shaw, said in a previous interview he heard nothing “that would be a violation of anything” in the recording.
Shaw said the underlying issue is a “personal vendetta” Czeczok has against Scheeler.
Czeczok ran against Scheeler during the last race for city council, but Scheeler came out victorious. Scheeler also had a restraining order against Czeczok that ended in fall 2005 after Scheeler alleged Czeczok threatened to kill Scheeler in a 2004 phone call.
Scheeler said the hearing being set is a “positive.”
“(MOAH) hasn’t hear our side of the story yet,” he said.
He added, “We can put a resolution to this.”
Czeczok and Scheeler, who both serve on the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission attended the commission’s monthly meeting Tuesday, but kept their interaction to a minimum.