Current Wellington City Council Member, Terry Nunemaker who is running for re-election reached out to The Wellington Daily News on Monday, Jan. 28. to address the issue.
Controversy has erupted with the largest local election in the history of Wellington, and the ballot has only been out for a little over a week.
Current Wellington City Council Member, Terry Nunemaker who is running for re-election reached out to The Wellington Daily News on Monday, Jan. 28. He claims to have received a letter from J.C. Long, of Wellington, asking Nunemaker to resign his position with the Council, and withdraw his name from the April ballot. Long confirmed on Tuesday that he did send the letter to Nunemaker.
The letter was sent to Nunemaker last week. It states that if if the Councilman fails to step down and withdraw, Long will release to the press an "incident statement" that was attached with his letter. The statement accuses Nunemaker of assault and battery of Long's 84-year-old father, W.C. Long.
The statement, prepared by W.C. Long describes an incident that took place on Dec. 11, 2012. Long writes that he approached Nunemaker after a Rotary Club meeting to discuss tax valuations from Sumner County, and the revenue the City of Wellington was to receive .
"...as he was Council person for my ward, I felt this was a normal question for the position he holds," the statement reads. "[Nunemaker] stated that he didn't know where the revenue would come from nor what was going to be spent; he pushed/shoved me unnecessarily to proceed around me, I then walked to him and lightly shoved him back and his immediate reaction was to shove hard enough that I fell into an adjacent serving lunch table plus chairs that caused water spillage, a broken glass, ice on the floor and a plate or two." The Long statement says that the incident was witnessed by retired doctor, Faustino Naldoza, who then restrained Nunemaker from "attacking" further. The Long statement carries a signature from Naldoza, noting the statement is true.
After receiving the letter, Nunemaker prepared a statement of his own about the Dec. 11 incident. He says he was confronted by W.C. Long and Naldoza after the Rotary Club meeting, and they wanted to talk about the idea of the City of Wellington paying 100 percent of the cost for paving the streets in Westborough Estates on the west part of town.
"Since I am a City Council member and a resident of the Westborough addition, this was an obvious conflict of interest for me," reads Nunemaker's statement. "Consequently, I did not want to continue this discussion with Mr. Long and Mr. Naldoza and attempted to leave the room." Nunemaker says in order to leave, he had to "slide by" the two men and an adjacent dining table. He says that before he could make his exit he was physically assaulted by W.C. Long.
"Mr. Long forcibly shoved me and jabbed his fingers into my chest." Nunemaker writes. "My immediate reaction was to push back in self defense to get Mr. Long off of me and he subsequently fell to the floor. Mr. Naldoza grabbed me at this point but released his hold on me almost immediately." Nunemaker claims to have attempted to help Long off of the floor, but says Long refused, "Instead, he began calling me names." At that point, Nunemaker says he left the room.
"Note that I didn't lay a hand on Mr. Long until he assaulted me. And, as a result of his attack, I had a bruise on my chest for about a week afterward," writes Nunemaker. "In order to avoid any further incidents of this nature, I resigned from the Wellington Rotary Club within the next few days."
There was no mention of this incident in the Dec. 11, 2012 police notes and Wellington Police Department officials say no report was filed with them. J.C. Long said the reason this has taken so long to come to light is because he was recently made aware of the December incident.
"I was just made aware of that document," Long said on Tuesday. Long said he is prepared to seek out the authorities if Nunemaker doesn't step down.
Nunemaker has provided all the letters and statements involved with this story, and can be seen in their entirety by clicking on the photos in the upper left. Nunemaker has no plans to pull his name out of the City Council race, or step down from office.
"I will not be coerced by false accusations into either resigning from the Wellington City Council or withdrawing my name from the April ballot. And, I will certainly not support any decisions made for the City based on consideration of personal financial benefit," writes Nunemaker. "I have enjoyed serving my City to the best of my ability and, if re-elected, will continue to do so."