News and Tribune

Clark County

April 10, 2007

Waiz calls for Wilder’s removal from Jeff Ethics Commission

Mayor tells other ethics board members Wilder is ‘biased’

Jeffersonville Mayor Rob Waiz is asking the city’s ethics commission to fire attorney Larry Wilder because Waiz claims primary opponent Tom Galligan’s use of a bulk postage permit that Wilder controls proves that Wilder is biased against the mayor.

“He’s the ethics attorney,” Waiz said. “He should be unbiased with all of it. He should not be involved in anybody’s campaign.”

The bulk permit is registered to Friends of Peggy Wilder, the campaign committee name used by the city’s clerk-treasurer, who is the attorney’s wife. Larry Wilder said the bulk postage permit was purchased in 1993 when Peggy Wilder mounted an unsuccessful campaign for state representative against James Bottorff. Since then, Larry Wilder said, as many as 30 or 40 candidates and nonprofit organizations have used the permit for political or fundraising mailings.

“I let anybody use it,” said Larry Wilder. “If they pay for their postage, they can use the permit number.”

Larry Wilder said he believes Waiz may have used the Friends of Peggy Wilder permit as many as three times during his successful 2003 campaign against Galligan. Waiz denied Wilder’s claim, saying that three years ago he used only another local bulk permit, which had been established by former Clark County Democratic Party Chairman Bill Stewart on behalf of all of the party’s candidates.

Jeffersonville Ethics Commission member Mike Hutt, who is seeking a seat on the City Council, said he recently submitted a bulk mailing to the post office and was told he needed a bulk postage permit number. When he asked how to get one, the bulk mail technician told him that Democrats always used the Friends of Peggy Wilder permit.

“I assumed it was something the Democratic Party had for everyone to use” until he came up with the paper that stated the permit was in the name of Friends of Peggy Wilder, Hutt said.

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