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O'Neill signs complaint against alderman

Lyon (click for larger version)

O'Neill (click for larger version)
April 16, 2013 | 05:17 PM
Former alderman Terry O'Neill has put his name on a complaint against a campaign flier used by Lake Geneva District 4 candidate Dennis Lyon in this spring's municipal election.

The original complaint, filed last week by Richard Malmin, N1991 S. Lakeshore Drive, claims the flier implies that Lyon was endorsed by the Lake Geneva Fire Department.

In an interview late last week, Malmin said he was advised by the Walworth County District Attorney's Office that the complaint should be signed by a resident of Lake Geneva's District 4. According to Lake Geneva City Clerk Mike Hawes, Malmin is a registered voter in the town of Linn, not Lake Geneva.

Submitted Photo. (click for larger version)

DISPUTED FLIER. Former alderman Terry O誰eill and Richard Malmin have signed a complaint against Dennis Lyon, claiming his campaign flier is misleading, in violation of state law. Submitted Photo. (click for larger version)
On Monday, O'Neill said he officially added his name to the complaint as a District 4 resident.

According to Malmin, the phrase "Lake Geneva Fire Department" is prominently displayed in red and bold type across the front of the publication of Lyon's flier, which, according to Malmin, implies that the fire department endorsed Lyon for alderman.

Fire Chief Brent Connelly told the Regional News that the fire department does not endorse candidates for local office. Both Malmin and Lyon said they are aware of that.

Malmin said that false representations in campaign literature is a violation of Wisconsin state law.

Lyon said that "Lake Geneva Fire Department" is on the literature because voters from District 4 cast their ballots at the fire station, 730 Marshall St.

First filed with the district attorney's office, the complaint was then turned over to the Lake Geneva Police Department.

Lyon was one of three certified write-in candidates in District 4.

The other two were former city council members Mary Jo Fesenmaier and Ken Howell.

Malmin is a friend of Mary Jo Fesenmaier. During election night, he sat with Fesenmaier and former alderman Tom Spellman at the fire station, awaiting election results.

Malmin said he did not file the complaint on behalf of Fesenmaier's campaign, but his friendship did play a part in his decision to make the complaint.

"I saw how hard Mary Jo worked," he said.

Fesenmaier, who had served as District 2 alderman, was running in a new district for her. She went door-to-door and hand-wrote letters to District 4 voters, Malmin said.

Lyon told the Regional News that his campaigning amounted to mailing out 1,100 of his fliers to district voters.

Malmin acknowledged that the campaign literature doesn't say that Lyon is endorsed by the fire department.

However, he claimed that anyone reading the flier might conclude that he was.


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