McCarthy responds after being accused of trying to 'do some digging' on Norfolk citizen
NORFOLK, Neb. -- An accusation was made Monday night against one of Norfolk's city councilmen.
Jim McKenzie, a Norfolk resident spoke at the city's council meeting, claiming councilman Andrew McCarthy was attempting to "do some digging" on him. McKenzie claimed he found out when a text message was sent to him by McCarthy by mistake. Councilman McCarthy was not present during Monday's meeting to confirm or deny this interaction.
"On Dec. 9th of this year, I received a text message from a council person that said the following: 'I think it's time we get some digging into Jim's purchase of the CVS property'" McKenzie said. "This message was obviously intended for someone else, but evidently accidentally sent to me."
McKenzie went on to say McCarthy then sent a series of text messages asking if McKenzie owned property in that area and had requested the council redeveloped the area in 2016.
McKenzie did disclose he owned property which was later sold to CVS.
McKenzie claims McCarthy questioned him in an email if this was the reason McKenzie had been critical of some of the council's decisions in recent months. McKenzie feels this was an attempt to prevent him from speaking during council meetings, by implying he was motivated to speak against the council due to real estate investments.
"It's obvious to me that this elected official is trying to dig into my past to find something that will discredit me or dissuade me from speaking out on city issues," McKenzie said. "As a citizen of Norfolk, I have every right to ask questions, bring up information, and criticize city decisions that I feel are not correct."
McKenzie said his questioning and criticism are only motivated by city business and not other outside factors. He concluded by asking for the "witch hunt" to end.
Though he was not at Monday's meeting, McCarthy responded to McKenzie's accusations via text message Tuesday morning, stating that the text messages were indeed meant for McKenzie.
McCarthy's full, unedited text:
"I will say this. The txt messages were meant for Jim. It was worded awkwardly from my vehicle. The 2nd message sent you can see I put a asterisk by the word left out. I was telling Jim that from what I’ve heard I was going to dig into these purchases because in my opinion and from what I read of the city council meeting in 2016 he asked for 4 properties to be zoned differently so he could sell them to a developer. This did not sit well with me. It seems quite fair to ask these questions considering the resources available to him. I asked him via email questions I believed to be pertinent. Jim did not read aloud the full email. I stated in the beginning of the email. “Jim you told me on the phone when you were in Las Vegas you would be relentless until certain things happened”. Im a citizen too and asked these questions because I thought they were fair to ask. He didn’t like it and again he used the city council platform instead of direct communication."