Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wishneff To Meet With Attorney Friday

Former Roanoke City Councilman Brian Wishneff has been under investigation regarding the now infamous “Joe Smith” full-page political ads placed in The Roanoke Times and The Roanoke Star-Sentinel. Wishneff lost his reelection bid to Councilman Court Rosen in May 2008.

The two misdemeanor charges stem from Virginia election laws that require disclosure within 12 days of a general election contributions for an amount of $500 or more. The second charge is for not disclosing the contribution at all. The full-page ads were substantially in excess of $500. Wishneff admitted to placing the ads though it is unclear who actually paid for them. To have been charged with a felony would have required proof that Wishneff “intentionally” made false statements when disclosing his contributions.
Citizens for Sensible Decisions a PAC named similarly to the Citizens for Sensible “Stadium” Decisions that formed in an effort to elect city officials sympathetic to keeping Victory Stadium is said to have funded the ads. The original PAC filing in October of 2003 for the Citizens for Sensible Stadium Decisions lists the mailing address, phone number, and email for Brian Wishneff’s office. It also shows Winfred Noell as Treasurer and Richard Kepley as the Secretary.
The unregistered PAC could face fines by the State Board of Elections. Even if the ads were placed as “in kind” donations Virginia law requires full disclosure of the value.
Wishneff said in a phone call that his attorney, John Lichtenstein, had instructed him to refer all media inquiries to Lichtenstein. Wishneff will meet with his attorney on Friday. Friday is also the deadline for Wishneff to turn himself in and post a $5000 unsecured bond imposed by Circuit Court Judge Charlie Dorsey.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics



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