Notice asking for a recall election date on three Village of Union board members has been sent to the village board.
Targeted for recall: David Chipman, Dwain “Butch” Hardbarger Jr. and Paul Vidlak.
28-year-old Steve Bescheinen of Union faces felony charges for the alleged assault of Chipman. Chipman asked for and received a restraining order against Bescheinen.
The Cassgram reports Bescheinen’s father, William Bescheinen, is named as the defendant in a civil suit filed by the Village of Union.
According to public records from district court and the county election commissioner’s office, the chain of events to this point:
The Union Village Board ordered a property cleanup directive to William Bescheinen on nine lots, including the former schoolhouse property, adjacent lots and a couple Main Street properties. In May, Bescheinen requested and received an appeal hearing before the board but his request to have the board reconsider its action was denied.
A public nuisance civil lawsuit was filed in district court. The village requested that the court order building and window repairs, and that vehicles, equipment, trash and litter be removed from the properties.
In an affidavit, Bescheinen said he reached agreement 11 years ago with the village board to keep equipment—he owns an earth moving/construction company—on the properties. He said there are no structural problems with the properties and he has not abandoned them. He also said there were never any issues with the property until Chipman and his wife, Mindy Rush Chipman, moved next door to the former schoolhouse property.
Mindy Rush Chipman is the attorney representing Union in the civil lawsuit. Last week Bescheinen’s attorney. John Voelker of Nebraska City, told the court he would be asking that Rush Chipman be disqualified from the case due to a conflict of interest.
Judge Randall Rehmeier continued any further hearings and gave Voelker a few days to file the disqualification motion.
On July 23rd, Steve Bescheinen of Union was arrested on suspicion of an assault on Chipman. According to the restraining order request filed by Chipman, Steve Bescheinen accosted him when he walked into the bar at Union. Chipman said Bescheinen put his arm around his (Chipman’s) neck, choked him, spit on him and broke his cell phone when he tried to hand it to his wife to call the sheriff’s department. Patrons in the bar broke up the scuffle, said Chipman in the affidavit, and deputies later responded. Chipman said that Bescheinen told him he was angry about Chipman’s support of the lawsuit again his father.
Bescheinen was arraigned in district court last week. He pleaded not guilty to four counts: terroristic threats, a Class IV Felony; strangulation, a Class IV Felony; 3rd degree assault, a Class I Misdemeanor; and Criminal Mischief, a Class III Misdemeanor.
Steve Bescheinen is free on $50,000 bond. A trial is set for December.
William Bescheinen, who is the fire chief of the Union Volunteer Fire Department, circulated recall petitions and garnered enough signatures for a recall election. He turned in those petitions last week. There were 22 signatures on the Chipman recall affidavit and 21 each on the Hardbarger and Vidlak forms. 16 signatures were needed for a recall.
In asking for the recall against Chipman, Bescheinen wrote that Chipman was “Harassing the elderly,” had violated town ordinances, was in a meeting with less than a quorum and was “Changing state ordinances to suit himself.”
Chipman’s statement of defense: “Mr. Bescheinen filed this petition to retaliate against me due to the Board unanimously voting to declare nine of his properties nuisances…” Chipman claimed the village has requested Bescheinen to “clean up his junk” for over 15 years.
In the petitions circulated against Hardbarger and Vidlak, Bescheinen said the reason for their recall was “endangerment to business.”
Vidlak chose not to issue a statement of defense, but Hardbarger did. He said neither he nor the village board was against business but want business owners to “operate in compliance with Village ordinances.”
Cass County Election Commissioner Nancy Josoff said the Union Village Board of Trustees was sent notice of the successful recall petition drives. The board is to set a recall election date somewhere in the time frame of 30 to 75 days after receiving the official notice.
A new state law says those targeted for recall have up until 16 days before the election to voluntarily resign and cancel their vote.