Stratman Denies Role in Nieves Controversy - The Missourian: News

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Stratman Denies Role in Nieves Controversy

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Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 5:21 pm | Updated: 3:14 pm, Thu Oct 24, 2013.

Dick Stratman said he had no involvement in allegations made that state Rep. Brian Nieves, the man who defeated him in the Republican primary, assaulted a campaign worker.

He also dismissed claims that he or his "allies" are trying to get Nieves to step down as the GOP nominee for the 26th District state Senate seat.

"It's over, I'm done," Stratman said Tuesday. "I lost the election and the people have spoken. The election ended at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday (election night) which is when I found out that I got my ass kicked by Brian Nieves and Jack Jackson."

Nieves stepped up his attacks against Stratman on his daily radio show after Shawn Bell, a Stratman aide, alleged that Nieves assualted him Wednesday, Aug. 4. Bell told Washington police that Nieves head-butted him, slapped him, pulled out a gun and threatened to kill him when he went to offer congratulations at Nieves' campaign headquarters the day after the election.

Washington police concluded their investigation of the alleged assault Tuesday. A spokesperson said reports were turned over to the Franklin county proesecuting attorney's office Tuesday afternoon. A decision on whether charges will be issued in the matter isn't expected for at least a week as Franklin county Prosecutor Bob Parks is out of town.

Nieves has repeatedly denied he assualted Bell. On Monday evening at a "prayer vigil" he called Bell's allegations "preposterous," although he acknowledged "It wasn't a nice encounter," according to a story by Jo Mannies, political reporter for the St. Louis Beacon.

Mannies reported that about 150 people attended the rally which was held at the Washington riverfront. Nieves addressed the crowd for almost half an hour. He blamed his legal troubles on "kingmakers and the powerbrokers in the state of Missouri" who he contended want to block his likely ascension to the Missouri Senate.

According to Mannies' story, Nieves argued that Bell was "a pawn" being used by top state politicians who want to destroy Nieves and keep him out of the state Senate. He later asseted that Stratman's allies already have been publicly calling for him to step down.

Nieves told the crowd, which included his family, that "he won't back down."

"He can blame me or the boogey man or the people in the black helicopters," Stratman said. "But I had nothing to do with what he is saying. I don't know why he keeps on bashing me. When the horse is dead, it's time to dismount and move on. My advice to Brian is be a gracious winner and move on. I have."

Any suggestion that he is still interested in the seat is ridiculous, Stratman explained.

"I'm not interested in the seat. I made a decision to run and the people didn't want me. The people spoke and they wanted Brian. It's as simple as that. I'm fine with it," Stratman added.

Nieves, 45, of Washington, won the race, tallying more than 44 percent of the vote and more than double the votes Stratman received.

Stratman, former Washington Mayor, also denied that he had anything to do with a letter that was sent to voters during the campaign alleging indiscretions by Nieves. He said the campaign was rough but it was never personal on his part.

"I neve questioned Brian's character in my campaign. Not once. Never," he said. "I never talked about the other personal things and the allegations and I don't condone them. I did talk about his voting record for eight years in the House, his Missouri Right to Life rating and things I could document in Missouri Ethics Records. If people don't like it, tough. It's reality. I never said anything I couldn't document."

Stratman said that portraying Nieves as a puppet in a campaign mailer could be construed as negative but, in politics, you don't portray your opponents in a positive light but rather, you point out their flaws.

"Look, do I believe Brian is a puppet for people like Rod Jetton, Steve Tilley and Ron Richards and some of the entrenched politicians in the House and Senate leadership? Yes I do. But I never mentioned his character," he said.

Stratman pointed out that other letters had been circulated about Nieves prior to him even considering entering the race. He also said that Nieves spent plenty of time "bashing" him on his radio show and lying about his record. He cited Nieves' campaign claim that he used emminment domain to aquire the property for the Wal-Mart Superstore as an example of a lie.

"To say that I used emminment domain to force the Pearson girls to sell their property to Wal-Mart is a bold-face lie. Just ask the Pearson girls," he added.

Stratman said that he didn't know that Bell was going to visit Nieves' campaign office and would have advised him against it had he known. He said that the last time he saw Bell, who he described as a "nice young man and an honorable person," was Monday Aug. 2. He said he didn't speak with Bell again until Thursday and that they didn't discuss what happened in Nieves' office.

Stratman said he called Nieves Election Night to congratulate him on winning.

"I congratulated him on his victory and for running an awesome campaign. I told him he kicked my butt. I also told him that I had nothing to do with the letter and he hung up on me. He called me back Thursday and said his phone dropped the call. We had a conciliatory conversation. I wished him well. Basically, I told him that we should let bygones be bygones. He acknoweled we were not going to be best friends. I understood that. But he said that if he could help me down the road he would."

Stratman said whatever happened between Nieves and Bell is between them. He said Nieves is entitled to due process.

"If you beleive in the Constitution, then you have to beleive in due process. Hopefully the legal system will sort all this out. He is entitled to a fair hearing," Stratman added.

The Missourian attempted to contact Nieves for this story. He did not return two phone messages.

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