Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The allegation, the denial and the missing link

Carl Brewer, a city council member and candidate to unseat Mayor Carlos Mayans in this year’s election, claims the mayor apparently forged a paragraph into a Brewer campaign letter that calls on Democrats to run against another city council member.

It was a move to make council member Paul Gray, who is facing four challengers in the Feb. 27 primary, angry with Brewer, Brewer said.

But the allegation, like so many that have arisen in recent months, couldn’t be proven true or false in interviews Wednesday.

“When Mr. Brewer says something that is credible, I will answer that,” Mayans said.
Mayans said no such document exists to his knowledge and that there is no reason to address baseless allegations.

In a campaign interview on Wednesday with The Wichita Eagle’s publisher and editorial board, Brewer explained the sequence of events that led to his accusation against Mayans.

He said he recently asked three prominent local Democrats — Tom Docking, Randy Rathbun and Kelly Johnston — to help him raise money for his campaign.

The four men wrote a letter in which they asked 400 local Democrats to contribute to Brewer’s campaign. The letter, Brewer said, was written on his own letterhead, and signed by Docking, Rathbun, and Johnston.

Last week, Brewer said, he got a call from fellow city council member Paul Gray, “a man I consider to be a friend.” Brewer said Gray was upset, and demanded to know “why I was putting out a letter attacking him.”
“I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about. He said he had seen a letter, signed by those three men, and that the letter said that ‘we are looking for good Democrats to run against Paul Gray.’ ”

“I told Paul that we never wrote that, and that I had the original letter and could show it to him.”
“I asked Paul ‘Where did you get this?’ And Paul said he did not have the letter, but that someone had shown it to him (without giving it to him.)
“I asked Paul ‘who showed it to you?’”
“Paul said ‘It was Carlos.’ “

A copy of the letter supplied by Brewer’s campaign has no reference to Gray or any other council seats at all.The letter has Brewer’s campaign letterhead and has the standard “paid for by Carl Brewer for Mayor, Sheryl Wohlford, Treasurer,” at the bottom.

Johnston, chairman of the Sedgwick County Democratic Party, confirmed that he had not written anything about Gray or anyone except Brewer. (Johnston is also loosely related to Brewer. The two mens’ wives are sisters and they live about 1/4 mile away from each other.)

Brewer said Gray asked him not to tell anyone about this story. But Brewer, at the meeting with the Eagle editorial board, decided to tell the story about the letter to explain why he thinks he’s a better choice for mayor than Mayans.

Brewer said this was an example of what he called Mayans’ “sometimes untruthful” way of dealing with people that Mayans doesn’t like.

Gray wouldn’t confirm or deny that the letter exists.

“I’m running my own race right now, which is a district seat,” he said. “I'm not running for mayor. What happens with those men and their campaigns is between them.”

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