Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: Hermann Mayor Won't Admit to 'Dirty Tricks' against Neighbor's Challenge

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: Hermann Mayor Won't Admit to 'Dirty Tricks' against Neighbor's Challenge

Article excerpt

Bob Koerber heard the rumors as soon as he filed his paperwork to run for mayor.

In a small town like Hermann, population 2,389, there are few secrets.

Word on the street was that the incumbent mayor, Tom Shabel, was planning to file a lawsuit to keep Koerber off the ballot. The two men are neighbors. Shabel lives on East Third Street. Koerber lives a block away on East Second. For that matter, so does a third candidate, Rich Lauer, who has run for mayor before.

Koerber bought his house two years ago. A former business professor at the University of Memphis, he and his wife thought Hermann would be a great place to retire. They bought their house, started working on it, and lived there off and on as they were still finishing up business commitments in Tennessee.

That's not how Shabel sees it.

He doesn't think Koerber qualifies for the ballot, but he denies having anything to do with a potential lawsuit.

"I'm not aware of anybody who said they were going to file a lawsuit," he told me when I called on Thursday. Then he proceeded to tell me all the reasons why his neighbor shouldn't be allowed to run. Over the past two years, the incumbent mayor says, the Koerbers "came up occasionally on weekends." They didn't change their utility bill address until the summer of 2015, Shabel said. Koerber didn't get a Missouri drivers license until July.

For a guy who said he hadn't heard any talk of a lawsuit against Koerber, Shabel seems to have studied the issue carefully.

So I asked him again: Are you sure nobody in the city was talking about such a lawsuit?

His answer shifted.

"The city attorney has recommended that we not waste city money challenging him," Shabel said.

But who asked the city attorney to look into the situation?

"The city clerk," Shabel said.

Wrong again.

What Shabel didn't know is that city attorney David Politte left a paper trail.

Politte is an attorney in private practice in Washington, Mo., who contracts with Hermann to be its city attorney. …

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