A Brainerd resident called for a city council member to be removed from his seat at Monday’s Brainerd City Council meeting.
Guy Green suggested Ward 3 council member Gary Scheeler used his position to get Green removed from his radio broadcast, “The Speakeasy,” a political talk show on 3WI Radio.
Not true, said Scheeler’s attorney, Ed Shaw. “It (cancellation) had nothing to do with Mr. Scheeler.”
Green said Scheeler canceled advertisements for Scheeler’s business on the station because of views Green expressed on his talk show. Further, Green said Scheeler put pressure on 3WI Radio management against the program, according to a written statement Green read before the council Monday. Green said Scheeler went to other businesses that also advertised on the show, urging them to “put pressure on management against (the) program” as well. That was enough for management to terminate “The Speakeasy,” Green wrote.
Shaw, however, said Scheeler never demanded the program be taken off the air. Instead, he stopped the 90-second advertisements for his business a couple of weeks ago because he didn’t want to continue advertising on a station that attacked him by calling him names and criticizing his business, Shaw said.
“Mr. Scheeler has no obligation to advertise with a media entity in which he’s being personally attacked,” Shaw said.
“Being on the city council, you subject yourself to criticism,” Shaw continued. “But you shouldn’t have your business and livelihood threatened ... Mr. Green is not the victim, he is the aggressor. He took the program beyond decency and civilized discourse.”
Green called Scheeler’s actions possibly criminal in his letter to the council, alleging Scheeler aimed to “destroy the business of a constituent in retaliation to political criticism, while also endangering the business of another citizen who has a contract with that constituent.”
When asked to detail the allegations, Green said through an email statement, “I am prepared to discuss those actions in the appropriate venue, which is, of course, the hearing I requested last night.”
Scheeler was absent from Monday’s city council meeting on a previously planned trip. He declined to comment until he returned, deferring questions to Shaw.
Green’s program was removed from the radio station a couple of weeks ago, which Green said is against his contract with the station because he wasn’t given a 10-day notice.
“The spirit of the contract was done no favors in the final weeks, either,” he wrote. “Also, advising me of 'what I had to do to save my program' did no justice to the provisions giving me complete editorial control of the content. They are on record saying that I did nothing wrong, so I, and I hope the listeners and your readers, must wonder just who did.”
Jim Pryor of 3WI Radio said Green hasn’t had a contract with the radio station for nine months. Pryor declined to comment further.
There will be no hearing or any movement to potentially remove Scheeler from the council, said Brainerd Mayor James Wallin on Tuesday.
Instead, Wallin said Green’s comments at the council meeting were “abusive” and said at an inappropriate time and place.
“(Green) is bitter,” Wallin said. “He was bitter because of not having his radio show. In reality, Gary (Scheeler) did what he wanted to do as a businessman... Gary (Scheeler) is very conscientious and is as fine of a gentleman as you can imagine,” he said.
When asked what his reaction would be if no hearing was scheduled, Green responded, “The City Charter clearly states that the hearing 'shall take place' and that it be able to call witnesses. My request for a hearing was officially made last night before the public. Again, however, the Charter is held in rather malleable regard by the powers that be. I’ll tell The Dispatch what I will do if no hearing is set, if you will tell me what you will do. I know that you did nothing when The Speakeasy was ransacked by an elected official. I must wonder if more than a 'tweet' will be heard in the event of another non-event at the corner of Laurel and Hardy.”
JESSICA LARSEN, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.