Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why I Won't be Voting for Donald Chewning

"The evil that men do lives after them.  The good is oft interred with their bones." Mark Antoni's eulogy for Julius Caesar.
You are known by the company you keep.  old adage 

Attorney Donald Chewning is running for Manitowoc County Judge.
I will NOT be voting for him.

His sense of right and wrong are not the same as mine
In 2005 I bought an old set of farm buildings with the intent of rehabbing them.  In the process I hired a contractor who then hired "sub-contractors" who were actually just individuals with questionable backgrounds who were working off the books.  That contractor "Nite Way Construction" owned by Robert Nachtwey.  While working on the project one of Mr. Nachtwey's men decided that a wall on the building they were hired to fix was in his way and demolished it.  Mr. Nachtwey, realizing the problem called me and apparently retroactively tried to get my permission to remove it which I refused citing the fact that I would then have to rebuild the wall.  Being at work I was unable to go investigate at that moment.

In fact my son and I had already removed the wall in one piece and dropped it into the basement for re-use so I was puzzled as to why he felt he had to remove it.  Since the wall had been stored out of site I had no reason to suspect that it had been destroyed and didnt investigate any further.  However when the concrete job they did was completed I went to retrieve the wall and put it back into place only it was completely missing.  Since Nachtwey had called me about it I then contacted him about what he might have done with it.  He claimed not to have any knowledge of it but But suggested that my tenant in the house at that time might have stolen it in order to sell the valuable barn boards which were a rather unique pattern of dutch lap siding, not just common barn boards.

Later I found remnants of the wall hidden under a stack of surplus beams and other lumber that Nachtwey had stacked up saying that he saved some salvaged pieces for me.  Not all the material was there but it was cut up into small pieces and unsalvageable.  the pieces had been carefully covered up.  I also discovered that he had mis-set a critical beam several inches off center on the barn which meant that the main loft door could not be closed properly and would have to be cut free and reset.

I payed Mr. Nachtwey a visit demanding to know why he had destroyed the wall and set the beam out of level.  He denied destroying the wall and claimed not to know anything about the beam but refused to come look at the damage.  I demanded that if he wanted to be paid he needed to come and repair what he had done.

The next I heard of from him was a court summons for small claims sourt collections.  I contested that case in which he gave the same set of excuses which the judge did not buy and denied the judgement.  Mr. Nachtwey had made the mistake of again changing his story about the wall claiming that it never existed.  Unfortunately for him I had come armed with before and after photographs of the property.  It was a slam dunk.

End Round I

Shortly after that I received another summons appealing the case this time represented by Attorney Donald Chewning.  In a series of emails about the case Chewning refused to engage in any negotiations or provide any help in getting Mr. Nachtwey to repair the damage.  He insisted on payment in full and said that he would get all of my evidence suppressed if it went to court.

What I learned was that he had filed the appeal as a "de novo" case which meant that none of Mr. Nachtwey's former statements could be used in this new (novo) case.  What I did not realize is that Mr. Chewning had apparently coached his client to change his story.  In addition to that he one main witness he had brought to the original trial had magically gone out of state and was not available for testimony.  Mr. Chewing was successful in getting nearly all the evidence that I brought to show what Mr. Nachtwey had done to the barn.  His story had now changed to that of, "I had no knowledge of  wall" and the unlevel beam had been that way all along despite his having been hired to repair barn and that the beam was now set in cement he poured.  That cement footing was intended to support both. I may be a layman but I call this perjury.

Because I was so infuriated with his tactics I wrote a letter to the editor about my experience and the state of contractors evading the law and its consequences.  Even though I never named either him or his client Mr. Chewning wrote me a spiteful letter where he had decided to charge me an additional $300 in legal costs "considering my letter".

As a result of this I have ever since had a low opinion of Mr. Chewning.  I castigated him for taking up the cause of an obviously crooked contractor who broke any number of DWD and DATCP laws and rules and Mr. Chewning using his legal skills to suborn perjury.  His response was that Mr. Nachtwey had a right to representation.  I beg to differ.  This was not a criminal matter.  He had no "right" that Mr. Chewning was obliged to protect.  There was no moral imperitive to help Mr. Nachtwey make me his victim other than the fees he collected which he enhanced as an act of vengeance.

I was never able to get the wall rebuilt in time to preven the collapse of that section of the barn.  It is still laying in that condition and will costs much more now because of the weight.  It eventually will have to be completely demolished and built from the ground up.  Mr. Chewing will also never be able to rebuild his reputation with me and though he claims to be a great Liberal (which I doubt) I would not vote for him if he were in fact the very last one.

Ethics matter Mr. Chewning.
And wronged consumers have long memories.

See Wisconsin Circuit Court Access

Robert Nachtwey vs. Bernard Starzewski

Manitowoc County Case Number 2005SC001251

Update: 1/31/17 8:36pm
I attended the candidate forum at Dem HQ where Chewning spoke in a nervous low wattage way and managed to say absolutely nothing except some obligatory support for drug courts.
At the end of his presentation he stated that an endorsement from Judge Deets, the judge in this case.

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