Thou shall not bear false witness against organizations you are trying to crush

And it’s time again for “Local officials behaving badly” – tonight’s installment comes from the Hartford City Council as one member has been forced to resign, and may face criminal charges for falsifying an e-mail he read into the official record in an effort to discredit his enemies:

A Hartford City Council member has resigned and could be charged with a crime for reading an email alleged to be manipulated at a council meeting in December.

Mike Walsh of the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday that he will forward the results of his investigation into the behavior of Doyle Johnson to the Minnehaha County state’s attorney for possible criminal charges.


Walsh said he could not elaborate further on what he’d discovered but added, “Enough information was gathered that I forwarded (the case) to the state’s attorney.”

Falsification of a public record by a public official is a crime under South Dakota law, punishable by up to a year in jail.

State’s Attorney Aaron McGowan said he’s not at liberty to discuss the details of the case at this point, but that he’s aware of the situation.

Read it all here at the Argus.

And it leaves you scratching your head, wondering “why?”

The “Selective Public Record” in Hartford

From KELOland, it appears that one of the city council members under siege wanted to have his cake, and eat it too by reading an e-mail into the record which he tried to use to cast members of “growing Hartford” in a poor light….. but then he refused to put the full e-mail into the public record, potentially violating South Dakota open record laws:

The latest issues stem from an email council member Doyle Johnson read during a meeting earlier this month. It had hateful language towards Johnson and his family. Johnson claims it was from a prominent business owner in Hartford, but the name on the email remains a mystery.

Since it was read at a meeting, Johnson is required to submit the email for public record. He did two days later, but we found out tonight that the email submitted wasn’t the full letter.

The controversy in Hartford tonight is surrounding Johnson. The councilor says the original threatening email sent to him had a name at the bottom. But the email submitted to City Hall on December 3rd does not have a name.

“Since December 3rd, it appeared likely that the individual whose name was printed in the signature block was not the author. I have deleted all reference to that individual’s name in the copy that I provided to the city so as to not implicate that individual in a fabrication,” Johnson said.

Read it here.

An elected public official uses an e-mail to attack his opponents in a public forum by reading it into the public record. But he selectively edits it before attaching it to the minutes.  Isn’t it nice he was protecting the person from all that awful public scrutiny by redacting their name? Or was it a case of all being BS from the start?

There’s something in this that smells rather badly. If he’s going to place it into the record by reading it, he doesn’t get to determine what people can and cannot see.

You might need to watch your letter to the editors. Rapid City Alderman accused of pressuring non-profit to fire employee over newspaper column.

Did you catch this story a few days ago? If you didn’t, it’s one that should get your attention. Because the allegations made as part of a lawsuit might have a very chilling effect on how free you might be in exercising your right of free speech.

Because as one former employee alleges as part of a lawsuit – expressing his freedom of speech in a June 17, 2015 Rapid City Journal Column may have triggered pressure to his employer from a City Councilman resulting in his termination:

Former Rapid City Alderman Ron Sasso notified the city that he plans to sue for $885,000.

Sasso claims that then–City Council President Jerry Wright pressured his employers to fire him over an article Sasso wrote in the Rapid City Journal.

In a letter to the city council, City attorney Joel Landeen called Sasso’s claim “weak” and plans to bring the matter up at an executive session of the city council.

Read it all here.

How did this lawsuit come about? As I’m told, it all came up during a lawsuit filed against Rapid City,  Mr. Sasso’s name was brought up in a deposition with Rapid City Alderman Jerry Wright. And it would seem that Jerry Wright wasn’t exactly denying that he had words with Mr. Sasso’s employer about his political opinions:

Q Did you ever become aware that Ron Sasso supported your contender in this last election?

A Yes.

Q Did you ever contact his employer about his blog post?

A Yes.

Q What did you tell him?

A I told him that the statements made there were very unfair and inaccurate, and they did not reflect  well upon me, and very unfair. And I said, I don’t think that the comments that were made should be made by a person in his position. I felt that it looked — I said, you know, I support Black Hills Works, where he works, and I said, I think that your neutrality is an important part of your — part of being in this community.

And his statements were — I don’t know what they were based on. They were certainly not based on facts, in my opinion.

Q And which statements did you actually disagree with that he made?

A He said I was manager of the landfill for years when it was full of corruption.

Q So you didn’t like it very well when someone else was degrading your reputation. Is that fair?

A Well, when someone makes an irresponsible statement in the press, absolutely, because I ran that landfill for 23 years, and it was a simple case of a customer stealing money. And he was caught and shut down by me in February of ’06. And Mr. Sasso obviously wasn’t aware of that.

And the issue became very political when Sam ran in 2011, and I think there were a lot of statements made that were very irresponsible and grossly inaccurate.

And let me add this for the record. Talking about corruption, in the investigation of the landfill, I was never interrogated by any law enforcement or state’s attorney on any issue related to that, nor was I ever charged, nor did I ever attend the grand jury, or anything, for that matter.

Q So then —

A Another thing is Mr. Sasso was not aware of some of the evidence that we had at hand that proved contrary to what he was saying. But go ahead.

Q He was on the city council for one of your terms at the same time, wasn’t he?

A Yes, he was for two years.

Q What was your relationship with him during those two years?

A Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

Q You earlier stated that the mayor, certain of his actions are as a politician. But you understand that whatever action he’s taking has effect on real people. For instance,  statements made on a radio, they would affect a real person.

MR. NOONEY: Objection; foundation.

A I can’t say they necessarily affected anyone. They could. They may or may not.


A Depends what they are.

Q Did you think Ron Sasso’s comments affected you?

A Absolutely.

It certainly isn’t the first letter to the editor written complaining about a politician, but it becomes unusual when the politician is so thin-skinned that, by his own admission, he contacts the writer’s employer, and complains about it as if the employer had anything to do with it.

When a City Councilman intimates that he could somehow hold it against them by stating “ think that your neutrality is an important part of your — part of being in this community,”  if that doesn’t cause a chilling effect on one’s rights to express a political opinion, I don’t know what would.

What do you think?

Rapid City Council Race controversy; Candidate’s past protection orders coming out, blames opponent.

Running a political blog, there are a lot of times you get “things” sent to you that make for interesting reading regarding political candidates. Sometimes, you have to put them in the category of BS. Other times, they’re a little tougher to explain away.

Today, I received one of those that’s a little tough to explain away.

I’m reading a South Dakota Clerk of Courts history report sent to me regarding Rapid City Council candidate Dallas DeCory, Sr.  DeCory’s campaign has been pretty silent since the Second of April, when the Rapid City Journal had a write up in the newspaper about his entrance into the Ward 4 race:

In Ward 4, Dallas DeCory Sr. will face incumbent Alderman John Roberts in the June 2 municipal election. In Ward 5, Cassi Andrews has challenged incumbent Alderman Brad Estes.

DeCory, 39, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said in a press release that he would strive to improve race and human relations if elected to represent Ward 4 residents in north-central Rapid City.


DeCory owns and operates a local roofing company, having worked in the industry for more than 16 years. He said his roofing experience has reinforced his understanding of hard work and personal drive and has sharpened the ethics he will use to produce community unity.

Read that here.

Apparently over the past 16 years, in-between “sharpening the ethics,”  there were some other things that came up that are a little tougher to talk about in a campaign setting.

Bad Candidate

On this report, I’m reading requests for three protection orders for Domestic Abuse (see asterisks **)  – one in 2006, one in 2007, and one in 2009, each from different women, with him filing one against the person who filed it against him in one instance. In case you’re wondering, in those instances, I’ve redacted the names of those involved who aren’t running for anything, although everything noted is public record.  Plus, there was also a protection order filed for stalking, which was later dismissed, as well as a charge of Simple Assault (Domestic violence) which also seems to have been dismissed.

Apparently, this information has been floating out there for a day, as the candidate has already posted a fiery response on his facebook page:


Interestingly, he blames his opponent, who has no connection to the person who had sent the information to me. And, while he notes “protection orders that I filed against my ex girlfriends and some counter protection orders that were filed against me,”  I’m reading it three against him to one from him against a girlfriend.

Is this information that the voters should be forearmed with prior to making their decision?  How do you think this is going to affect the race?

Mike Huether vanity ads for Sioux Falls web site criticized as big campaign ads

From, it isn’t being missed that Mayor Mike Huether is likely to be campaigning for higher office at some point in the future. And many people think he’s already doing it at taxpayer expense:

“It looks like somebody’s campaign ad,” said Councilor Michelle Erpenbach, who voted in favor of funding the website Tuesday but criticized the ads promoting it.


“My first reaction (to the ads) is ‘Really?’ We have somebody who probably has other political aspirations having billboards all over our community when we could (use) somebody … who needs to hire people,” she told the council ahead of its Tuesday night approval of a $39,000 web maintenance contract for

Aside from business owners, millennials and immigrants could serve the website better than using images of the mayor, she said.

“I don’t want my taxpayer dollars spent on promoting one person,” Riter said. “I want them to promote, really, our community and what we are trying to do with jobs.”

Read it all here.

South Dakota Sheriff-elect celebrates a little too much


Just days before taking office, Mellette County’s Sheriff-elect is charged with DUI, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and exhibition driving. According to a traffic ticket, the Jones County Sheriff pulled over Mike Blom early Saturday morning in Murdo and issued the three tickets.

Read it all here.

That could present a problem. Or, you at least know which county you want to travel to when you’re in the mood to par-tay!