Sioux Falls (ethically challenged) City Councilor Neitzert panhandling for legal fees

No wonder the city council won’t pass stiffer panhandling ordinances in Sioux Falls, they are doing it themselves;

Although I have finally cleared my name, I really haven’t “won”. My family has been put through a lengthy emotional ordeal, and we have an enormous legal bill, which we are personally liable for. My attorneys were amazing and I will be forever grateful for their representation, and they deserve to be paid.

It always feels weird asking for money…however – Legal fees related to an elected official’s public service are qualified campaign expenses. Therefore, I can pay some of this bill through my campaign account. To the extent I do not have campaign funds available, we will be paying this bill personally. If you donate to my campaign account, Greg Neitzert for City Council, it will be used primarily for this expense, and in the off chance there is any excess to support good, positive, and principled candidates in the next city election cycle for City Councilors and Mayor. If you would like to support me, this is a great way to do it. I truly appreciate those who have supported me and encouraged me through this process and over the last 4 years. Your messages of support have meant the world to me.

I could certainly go on for a long time about the hypocrisy and irony of asking for money for legal fees after receiving a paid for partisan political trip, but you are smart, humorous folks, you get it. But this statement is rich;

I will only say that as currently constituted the ethics process is ripe for weaponization and abuse to influence elections and to hurt good people, and it must be reformed. All elected officials and future candidates are at risk in the absence of reform.

Greg continues to believe this was a political attack but the facts of the hearing don’t support it. I watched the entire circus, here is what was presented;

• Greg could never prove that the ethics complaint ‘harmed’ his reelection. Not only did he win, he beat his opponent handily.

• When asked during the hearing what collusion was taking place, and to present evidence there was a connection between his opponent and John Cunningham, all he could do is stare at his shoes. Sure, Pat forwarded a public email to John, and Pat and Janet endorsed his opponent (which the Board of Ethics said was protected free speech under the 1st Amendment). Oh and they had the envelope of a Thank You card from Pat to John, but zero evidence that John was working with his opponent, in fact John denied it, and he should, because it NEVER happened and zero evidence was presented. Just steam rising from a turd.

• While mountains of evidence was presented during the hearing that this was a partisan Republican event, Greg played dumb dumb and called it a ‘policy event’. Sure, Republican policies. Greg, you do understand what partisan means? Don’t you? Playing doofus doesn’t change the fact that it was clearly a partisan event. What does that have to do with this ‘weaponization’ you keep talking about? Nothing. Distractions.

• The only reason your ‘5 best friends’ dismissed this is because they knew the Mayor was next. I hate to say it Greg, but you should choose your friends better. They only bailed out your sorry butt because they didn’t want to bail water on the TenTantic.

No matter what you think of Greg as a councilor, the facts were clear, he went to a partisan event, paid for by partisans, and tried to kill the messenger with this made up story about collusion, even though it was well within Pat and Janet’s rights to endorse his opponent and well within John’s right to file an ethics complaint. And why did John file the complaint!? Because Greg was clearly guilty.

The only collusion that happened was between Greg, the mayor and his fellow rubberstampers. No worries Greg, it’s only a flesh wound.


#1 Steve on 09.21.20 at 8:19 pm

So, he won reelection for a 2nd and final term, and now the campaign chest is empty, so we’re told. Now he takes to groveling for additional donations after the fact. Are we to feel sorry for his current status? I hope not too many citizens get duped by this. He certainly has brought it upon himself. I sure hope he doesn’t have a donation jar at the entrance to the Council chambers or try to pass the hat before public input. Interesting circumstances indeed.

#2 D@ily Spin on 09.21.20 at 8:56 pm

Attorneys can deduct from regular income for time on public matters (pro bono). Nietzert paying them from political funds is another ethics issue. Councilors and the mayor favored him in the hearing so he’d favor them for their hearings.
Realistically, his attorney fees are his punishment. Hopefully, other councilors can be punished for irregularities similarly.

#3 D@ily Spin on 09.21.20 at 9:09 pm

The judicial ordinance does not allow for appeals into circuit court. Neitzert can’t sue for legal expenses. Ethics hearings do not allow for litigation recovery.
When the next vote goes against public policy, how about ethics hearings for certain councilors? This could be a way to keep crooks off the council. When defending yourself is more than your compensation including bribes, it’s time to find another career.

#4 The Guy From Guernsey on 09.21.20 at 9:43 pm

“… the ethics process is ripe for weaponization …”

Ya’ mean like City Councilors verbally attacking the citizen which brought forward the conduct for review by the Board of Ethics?

#5 Briggs on 09.21.20 at 10:22 pm

Maybe Matt cause give Greg one of his watches to help cover the bill?

#6 "Very Stable Genius" on 09.21.20 at 11:31 pm

The crux of Gregs defense was that although it might have been a partisan conference, the fact that they didn’t influence him means it was ethical.

However, it is the appearance of being unethical, with partisan association being the appearance, which is the first and only necessary germane example of a failure of ethics according to the city ethics canons.

If influence was the true test, then does it not give us all wonder, also, to what contributions to his campaign -regardless of intended purpose – might be influencing as well, and thus, unethical by Greg’s standard, or his ethical interpretation?