Former Evansville mayor responds to comments saying Winnecke inh - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Former Evansville mayor responds to comments saying Winnecke administration inherited a mess

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An Evansville councilman is defending comments he made during a recent city council meeting.

Those comments prompted former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel to contact 14 News on Thursday to quote, "set the record straight."

Weinzapfel says he just couldn't stay quiet any longer. He sent us a letter on Thursday saying comments made by city officials over the past several months are false, and he challenged those officials to backup their claims.

Former Evansville Mayor Weinzapfel hasn't spoken publicly much over the past year and a half, but he's been doing a lot of listening.

"After 18 months and listening to their misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric, I thought it was time to step in and start setting the record straight," says Weinzapfel.

Specifically comments, he says, City Council Finance Chairman John Friend made, that the Winnecke Administration 'inherited a mess' after Weinzapfel left office in 2011.

14 News Reporter Brandon Bartlett asked the former mayor, "Did the current administration inherit a mess?"

"Absolutely not," replied Weinzapfel. "We left the city in fine shape, so I have no idea what John Friend is referring to."

Weinzapfel admits that there were difficulties when the city upgraded its 25-year-old financial software, but, "the books are balanced," says Weinzapfel.

"There were no irregularities found," Weinzapfel said. "It seems to me it's a political struggle between some members of council and the Winnecke administration."

Weinzapfel also spoke out about the consultants, hired by the city council, to look through his past accounts. He says he doesn't believe they're necessary.

"That rhetoric and focus on the past is really keeping the city from moving forward," says Weinzapfel.

"It had nothing to do with trying to blast the administration," says Friend.

John Friend says he never mentioned Weinzapfel by name when he made the comment to City Controller Russ Lloyd Jr. that he inherited some issues.

"I think every single person on council, I think along the way, has actually said that," says Friend.

14 News also asked Weinzapfel about the rumors he's looking to run for congress, he says, 'Never say never,' that he has no immediate plans.

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