Little has been reported about the record of Chris Coons. There is one article in the mainstream media, printed in 2007 by the Associated Press, that mentions a lawsuit brought by a former employee of Coons. The suit in question was on the topic of political discrimination in violation of the First Amendment, and two previous lawsuits of the same type were also charged to Coons. There was no followup article on any of the verdicts.
Does that mean his past is not newsworthy? Doubtful. I can hardly imagine it being less newsworthy than the foolishness reported by the media on Christine O’Donnell.
Coons has taken great pains to prevent his past from entering the mainstream light. As you will soon see, he has good reason to do so.
What follows is the story of the real Chris Coons. It begins with his suspect legal issues, and it ends with the more important story of his lies during the current Senate campaign. It has been a long time coming.
Political Vengeance Lawsuits
Coons has been accussed three times of political retaliation by former employees. The employees in question are Trinidad Navarro (2005), Joseph Freeberry (2005), and Dennis Parkstone (2007). All three of these men were supporters of Sherry Freeberry, Coons’ Democratic adversary in the 2004 primary election for New Castle County Executive. He boasts a winning record in these lawsuits: 2-1. But let’s analyze exactly how each case plays out.
Joseph Freeberry 2005
Freeberry is the brother of Coons’ opponent in the Democratic primary, and as such, it is not a surprise that he supported her in that election. Here is a summary of the claim and court verdict:
Freeberry, Sherry’s brother, accused Coons of violating his civil rights after firing him as the general manager of the county’s Department of Special Services. Freeberry was appointed to the post in 1997 after serving 13 years as the county’s superintendent of parks. State law was changed in 1997 to provide the general manager slot with merit system protection. Coons began lobbying to change the law in 2003 and got Dover to do so in 2005 making the post one filled at the pleasure of the executive director.
At which point he gave Freeberry the option to retire, resign or be fired. Freeberry chose firing and sued. The federal courts ruled in favor of Coons.
Throughout these suits, you will notice a consistent theme of Coons’ abuse of power. You will notice his desire to expand the power of his office, and his appalling opposition to First Amendment rights. This case is Exhibit A. These trends will continue.
Trinidad Navarro 2005
Navarro served as a high ranking official in Coons’ department. However, he felt he was treated unfairly by Coons, alleging that Coons was preventing his promotion to sergeant due to his support of Freeberry.
In 2007, the county settled with Navarro agreeing to pay him $100,000 plus $40,000 for legal fees and provide him with a $60,000 annuity fund to give him a sergeant’s retirement benefits.
Apparently, the guy had a case. Otherwise, there is no way the county would agree to a settlement of such proportions. Chalk up a loss for Coons.
Dennis E. Parkstone 2007
The courts ruled in favor of Coons in the case of Dennis Parkstone. However, this verdict is far from black and white. The facts seem to suggest that the courts may have got this one wrong.
Parkstone was alleged to have used his computer to send inappropriate emails and view pornography. However, during the course of the investigation, it became apparent that on the days these events occurred, Parkstone was not in the office. Apparently, it is also a violation to improperly secure one’s computer. Hence, the suit was dismissed. However, it seems suspect that every violation in this case occurred when the employee was absent. Did Parkstone actually forget to secure his computer? Or is it possible that someone with the ability to bypass the security system did so for some ulterior motive?
There is another interesting twist to this case. Another employee committed the same crime levied against Parkstone. That employee was a Coons supporter in 2004. However, this employee was not fired or suspended. Parkstone filed his lawsuit after he discovered that this employee would not face punishment. As has been reported, the case was dismissed and Parkstone fired. Immediately following the lawsuit, the Coons supporter received a 5 day suspension. And, well, that was the end of it.
Another Lawsuit: Thomas S. Neuburger vs. Chris Coons (2008)
Coons’ legal battles continue to this day. A 2008 suit brought against Coons by Thomas Neuburger alleges that Coons violated Neuburger’s First Amendment rights. Sound familiar?
Thomas Neuburger had been an outspoken opponent of Coons’ work as New Castle County Executive, filing several suits against county policies. Coons doesn’t like people to speak their minds. So, it should be no surprise that he took immediate action against Neuburger in an effort to discredit the man.
Coons released private medical information about Neuburger that portrays Neuburger’s judgement in a suspicious light. I won’t post this information, because I’m actually not a corrupt politician. Unfortunately, that information is readily available if you want to find it. Chris Coons took great pains to make sure of that. The lawsuit filed against Coons alleges that he improperly violated Neuburger’s right to privacy by making confidential medical documents public.
It is not immediately clear if this lawsuit is ongoing. However, it is known that Coons is attempting to use his official immunity as a civil servant to declare himself exempt from judgement. Disgusting.
Claims of Harassment
Coons’ unethical efforts to destroy the First Amendment continue with the story of left-wing political activist Alan Muller.
Alan Muller, Delaware resident and environmental activist, has been an outspoken opponent of Chris Coons since his election. As such, Muller has made multiple appearences at city-council meetings to oppose Coons’ work in office. As we have seen, Coons has a low tolerance for individuals who feel the need to exercise their First Amendment rights, especially when these individuals use their rights in opposition to his policy-making.
New Castle authorities began to charge Muller with building code violations. One problem: there were 10 charges, and each charge was exactly the same. Court filings by the New Castle Executive Office specifiy each allegation against Muller. However, in all 10 cases, the allegations are exactly the same:
Charge: Every Permit Shall Expire or become Invalid Unless Work is Commenced and Completed per Timetable
To Wit: Alan J Muller…did allow repair work to the roof of his premises without first obtaining a building permit. To Wit: the defendant did replace more than 25% of the sheathing as well structural members; requiring a building permit.
I mean really, Coons? Weak accusation to begin with. But to charge a man for the same crime 10 times???? Granted, apparently it is legal under county ordinances to enforce regulatory codes daily as individual cases. However, I doubt there is one house in New Castle County that meets every regulatory requirement. Why then would this man be singled out? You can find the court document here.
Muller commented on the situation:
We never know when more charges will arrive in the mail. We never know when warrants will be issued for my arrest. I have a criminal “rap sheet” pages and pages long. This is the reward for being an activist in Delaware in these times.
It would be naive to assume Coons is not responsible for these outrageous charges. We know about his dogged determination to silence anyone in opposition to his policy. Furthermore, it is very unlikely such legal activities would be taken without his knowledge and seal of approval. As Muller says:
“This sort of thing doesn’t happen without direction from the top. Coons, a wealthy person running for re-election, has made ‘code enforcement’ part of his campaign. He, more than the County Council, controls what the County legal office does.”
It is also interesting that since Coons’ campaign for Senate began no further charges have been delivered to Alan Muller.The whole issue has been swept under the rug. Coons seems to be quite adept at achieving this level of secrecy.
It is important to note the time frame of his legal issues. Coons was elected to the office of New Castle County Executive in 2005. As you can see, the lawsuits begin the very year of his election and extend throughout his term in office. So, this story is not a case of a man warped by the trappings of power, rather, it portrays a man who entered office with suspect psychological tendencies already in place.
Chris Coons has repeatedly lied about his record in his current campaign for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat. He runs as a fiscal conservative, but that statement could not be further from the truth. His campaign advertisements make claims that are hardly representative of his stated political philosophy.
Here is a statement from Chris Coons made in 2009 during his tenure as New Castle County Executive:
“‘We’re 18 Months From Being Out Of Money — Unable To Operate, Not To Use The “B” Word,’ Coons Said, In A Reference To Bankruptcy. ‘That’s where we are, and it’s at a time when many families are struggling, and they’re looking to government to help them.'” (Jeff Montgomery, “Sobering Challenges Reflected In Speeches,” The [Wilmington, DE] News Journal, 1/22/09)
That is certainly an interesting way to tout one’s abilities as a fiscal conservative. Furthermore, his advertisements in Delaware claim that he “balanced the budget,” and he made the County “fundamentally sound.” Well, the facts don’t really support that statement. Those words serve as quite a contrast to “unable to operate” and “out of money”…..
Oh and that AAA bond rating he touts so highly? He’s correct when he says the County Executive has to re-earn the bond rating every year, but does that mean he is fiscally responsible? Here is the reason the bond ratings company approved the AAA rating:
They only did so because Coons increased taxes by 25% in 2009 which made the County more stable. Between 2004 and 2009 (when Coons has been in charge) the County lost more than 30% of it’s reserves. Despite his claims to have balanced the budget, New Castle County carries a debt burden of $1,639 per man, woman and child in the county.
Interesting. Here are some more facts for you. They seem to be at a premium these days:
- New Castle spending has increased by 10% since Coons took office as Executive.
- The budget of the County has grown by 33%.
- The cause of the budget increase has been 3 property tax increases: by 5% in 2006, 17.5% in 2007, and 25% in 2009.
Furthermore, Coons voted for every single budget operations bill proposed by his predecessor. This same predecessor is the man that Coons claims to have ousted to saved the County. He had the chance to be a fiscal conservative in 2009 when he faced a huge financial shortfall. Instead of cutting the already voluminous budget of New Castle County, he decided to raise property taxes by 25%…..after raising it by 5% in 2006….and 17.5% in 2007……
End of Story
These are the facts. Some may view them as more egregious than others. However, I see a man whose words and actions represent a corrupt, machine politician. I see a man who is quite capable of manipulating the legal system to his benefit, and he is willing to do so even at the expense of the sanctity of the First Amendment. Furthermore, the man is a blatant liar who is running on a platform completely unrepresentative of his past policies.
In this regard, it is supremely ironic that Coons charged Christine O’Donnell with having a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the constitution. Really? From what I can tell, Chris Coons doesn’t even know the constitution exists. That might explain his inability to name the five freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment. That ignorance is without question the biggest flub of the entire campaign season, and Delaware is poised to vote this ignorance, cronyism, and corruption into the United States Senate.
However, I find it very difficult to believe that Delawareans are aware of the real Chris Coons.
Most of the blame can be laid at the feet of the mainstream media. They have made this campaign a race based on everything but substantive policy. Instead of reporting on the discriminatory public record of Chris Coons within the last 5 years, they have reported unabashedly on Christine O’Donnell’s personal issues 15 years after the fact. Is that really more important?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter at all what I think. It matters what the Delaware voters think. And they need to know all the facts, even the ones the mainstream media feels are “not newsworthy.” This is the story of the real Chris Coons. I only wish Delawareans could hear it.