Court Dismisses Freeman-Wilson Campaign Finance Suit Over Technicality

“I will continue to fight for disclosure in campaign finance, I guess it is time to take a look at [Lake County Clerk] Mike Brown’s filings” Gary Activist Jim Nowacki after getting Judge Parent’s Order dismissing his lawsuit for review of the Lake County Board of Elections decision

January 24, 2017-A Lake Superior Court Judge ruled yesterday that he will not review a decision where the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration swept serious campaign finance abuses of Karen Freeman-Wilson under the rug. Gary Activist Jim Nowacki filed the suit in February of last year after the Board ruled that Freeman-Wilson would simply be fined for filing late rather than penalized for the false filings. At issue were ovr $160,000 in unitemized campaign finance expenditures and $50,000 in unitemized receipts. Indiana law requires candidates to itemize expenditures and receipts that are over $100 in a given year from the same source.

Attorney James Wieser successfully argued on behalf of the Board that the case had to be filed in Lake Circuit Court under the statute. Nowacki argued that he filed the case with the Clerk of the Lake Circuit Court and had no control over where the case was assigned. In his written ruling, Judge Parent stated “As a private practitioner, this judicial officer often filed for the judicial review of administrative agencies . . .the practitioner is required to obtain permission from the Circuit Court judge prior to filing certain types of administrative appeals, to be entitled to deviate from Lake County’s rules on the random filing of cases.” Judge Parent cited no rule or procedure by which litigants would obtain such permission.

Nowacki says he has not decided whether he will appeal the ruling. One of the crucial issues in the case was the quashing of subpoena’s after J. Justin Murphy was appointed to the Lake County Board of Elections by now indicted Party Chair John Buncich. Murphy’s first act upon taking his seat at the table was to quash all supboena’s effectively preventing Nowacki from even questioning the campaign treasurer.

Nowacki says he will continue to hold elected officials accountable for their campaign finance reports. “I will continue to fight for disclosure in campaign finance, I guess it is time to take a look at [Lake County Clerk] Mike Brown’s filings” Nowacki told the Gazette via telephone.

Speaking of looking at Lake Circuit Clerk Mike Brown, we are still awaiting answers on Brown’s relationship with Gary demolition contractor RSR Demolitions. If Streetwise is right, we should know something very soon.

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