Follow-up: Gerard worker says he was misunderstood; store owner disputes that

Follow-up: Gerard worker says he was misunderstood; store owner disputes that

CHAMPAIGN — Toby Sirois, the former Don Gerard for Mayor worker who's accused of posing as a liquor commission representative to pressure a Champaign business, told The News-Gazette on Saturday he was misunderstood by the store owner.

But the co-owner of Hollywood Liquors reiterated that there was no confusion on his part about the heated exchange that took place Thursday night, less than a week before voters decide whether Gerard, Champaign's mayor since 2011, will be elected to a second term.

Meanwhile, Gerard campaign manager James B. Tinsley said Saturday he had been sitting in a car outside the store at 512 South Neil Street during the incident "without knowing what Sirois was telling them."

Thursday night at Hollywood Liquors, Sirois questioned store owners Vijay and Manish Puri about why Gerard campaign signs were removed from another Champaign business they owned: Discount Gas (102 S. Mattis Ave.).

What happened next remains in dispute.

Sirois told them that he worked "directly under the liquor commissioner and checks on liquor compliance and stuff," Manish Puri said.

Puri said Sirois continued: "You've got a lot of liquor here and I'll make sure you get in trouble. I'll get your license canceled."

Tinsley said Saturday that he had been just outside Hollywood Liquors, texting while waiting in a car he had shared while delivering yard signs with Sirois.

Tinsley said he did not know what Sirois was telling the store owners until Manish Puri, a friend, reported it to Gerard, who also called police.

Gerard met with the store owners on Friday to apologize for the incident and disavow the threat.

"When the unacceptable actions of a volunteer were brought to my attention, I immediately dismissed him from our campaign," Gerard said Saturday.

"I regret this abhorrent incident, which distracts from the important issues we have been discussing. I am grateful the business owner involved accepted my apology and understands the incident in no way represents my views. I never have, and never will, tolerate this type of behavior."

Until recently, Sirois identified himself in his online bio at LinkedIn as "Campaign Coordinator — Mayor Don Gerard — 2015 at City of Champaign."

But Tinsley said Saturday that Sirois was no longer affiliated with the campaign and was never a paid employee. He had previously been offered reimbursement for gas money for his help, Tinsley acknowledged.

"What he did was volunteer to deliver signs and was reimbursed for gas money," Tinsley said. "I was told he was a great asset in talking to people."

On Saturday, Sirois denied threatening the store owners.

He said he was misunderstood when he made the liquor commission reference.

"I used the phrase 'liquor commission' to say that Gerard was the first liquor commissioner to give minority liquor store owners a license," Sirois said. "I just wanted my signs back; it's an $11 yard sign."

Manish Puri said Saturday that there was no miscommunication.

"Oh no, no, he literally threatened to cancel my license. I've spoken English all my life; there was no misunderstanding. I know exactly what he said and how he impersonated a (member of the) commission," he said.

Tinsley said they had picked up three unwanted signs at the Puris' gas station and Sirois went in by himself to Hollywood Liquors to talk to the owners.

"He was in there maybe two or three minutes," Tinsley said. "The next day, I found out what he said."

Hamish Puri confirmed Tinsley's account.

"I didn't know Mr. Tinsley was in the car until he told me. There was no pressure from the campaign, except from that person," Puri said. "Mr. Tinsley is a good man."

Tinsley said he was shocked by the liquor store owner's report, adding: "I absolutely not would have approved. In the protocol of campaigns, if somebody doesn't support your campaign, you say thank you and have a nice day."

Sirois said he is a well-meaning person and is disappointed in how his actions were construed.

"I'm a volunteer, I help the homeless," he said. "I practiced law as public defender in Detroit."

A GED graduate before law school in Michigan, Sirois delivered the keynote speech at Urbana High School's Adult Education graduation ceremony in 2013.

He said he runs a social media company and returned to this community "to give back."

His LinkedIn page now lists him as "Senior Legal Consultant, Fresh Content Society."

The "work history" section of his bio also lists him as a volunteer in Gerard's first campaign four years ago: "Coordinating all aspects of Re-Election efforts. Duties include but are not limited to in person appearances, photo/video shoots, and management of social media content. Main job duty is ensuring the Re-Election of Illinois's only 'Rock Star' Mayor in 2011. Speaking with registered voters and responding to communication such as emails, social media comments, and Twitter, Facebook, and various other web posts. Ensuring the well being of one of the greatest cities in the United States. Shaking hands and changing minds, inspiring change through local government."

Sirois said he first met the mayor when Gerard was playing in local rock bands, including the Moon Seven Times, which achieved some prominence.

Sirois said he was interested in the local music scene.

Gerard described Sirois on Friday as "one of my 5,000 Facebook friends. He shows up, and is very eager but you don't get to know people very well when you're in a campaign."

Sirois said Saturday that Gerard had "thrown me under the bus" and that he was changing his vote for mayor.

Election Day is Tuesday. Gerard is being challenged by three mayoral hopefuls: Deb Feinen, Karen Foster and Joe Petry.

Sections (2):News, Local
Tags (1):2015 election

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ByGolly wrote on April 04, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Poor Toby....good luck getting a law license now.  Hopefully he gets reported to whatever commission (pun intended) regulates lawyers or people who want to get licensed to practice law.  And shame on him for trying to bully a hardworking business owner.  Like it or not Mr. Mayor, this reflects poorly on you too. 

787 wrote on April 04, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Best line in the whole story....  "I've spoken English all my life".

Is it all blowing up for Gerard, just a couple of days before election day?   NOW we find out the person who was earlier described as a campaign worker who Gerard claimed that he didn't know well, was riding around in a car with Gerard's campaign manager, the night that this incident occurred.

And why did Gerard feel the need to call in the police on this?   His own campaign manager was there when it happened.   What a complete waste of time for the police department.  Hey Don, the police have better things to do, than to have their time wasted dealing with your messes.

It is getting pretty obvious that someone might have a problem with good judgment.  Calling in the cops on an issue like this... really? 

philip wrote on April 04, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Clearly if Mr. Sirois was listed on Don's website as Don's "Campaign Coordinator," and if Don's Campaign Manager was in the car with Mr. Sirois during the incident, Don knew who he was when he watched the security video of the incident. Don's comments to the News-Gazette in the earlier story were quite damning.

Gerard outright lied about not knowing Mr. Sirois. This kind of behavior is not acceptable from our mayor.

ericbussell wrote on April 05, 2015 at 9:04 am

Here is WCIA's 10pm news story on the subject:

I can't believe Gerard was bragging about having 5000 Facebook friends while trying to marginalize his relationship with this high ranking campaign coordinator who was prominently featured on the Gerard website as such. 

I feel Gerard deserves the benefit of the doubt in that him and his campaign manager were not directly involved in these deplorable allegations.   It's the botched cover up that is the most noteworthy aspect of this controversy.   Sirois posted blog entries on for crying out loud, yet he barely knew him?   Really?   This story has been picked up by the AP and is an unfortunate and avoidable black eye on this exceptional community. 

There are so many exceptional volunteers working on countless local races and issues across our community.   It's a shame that something like this happens just before the election.   Let's try to ignore the divisive hyper partisan rhetoric of the few and focus on the many positive things about the candidates and the community.   Ugly political shenanigans, the shameless spin, and negative propaganda based half truths have no place in local nonpartisan elections.

Local Yocal wrote on April 05, 2015 at 6:04 am
Profile Picture

Like Mike Ballard did for Kristin Williamson's campaign with the dishonest Jakobbson mailers, a campaign operative for Gerard manages to generate bad press moments before the election. Will it cost Gerard the election? The News-Gazette, endorsers of Feinen, will do its very best to insure that's the case.

Maybe this could be a new way to rig elections. Members of the opposite team infiltrate the opponent's campaign and do something awful to cause disrepute to the candidate. Ingenious.

787 wrote on April 05, 2015 at 7:04 am

And this happened while the campaign manager was sitting outside in his car, and had *no* idea as to what was going on inside?   And no one knew what was going on when Gerard called in the cops?

So, you believe that Gerard can't trust  the actions of his own campaign manager?  If so, that's Gerard's fault... not the voters.

ericbussell wrote on April 05, 2015 at 9:04 am

These types of elections are pretty simple and straightforward.   It's not House of Cards.    It's tough enough to find people to knock and doors and make phone calls.   The suggestion of recruiting undercover operatives to sabotage another candidate is quite sensational.  

This is about the worst thing that could have happened to Gerard.  No doubt.  That may not be Don's fault, but it surely isn't some underhanded political effort by the N-G to make Gerard look bad.  His campaign coordinator messed up and made headlines.   If someone truly tried to bully a small business in that way, I hope there are more headlines to come.  

Mr Dreamy wrote on April 05, 2015 at 9:04 am

To have this as the lead story on line both last night and today shows just how partisan, actually, how crooked, the News Gazette is. It's one thing to endorse, it's quite another to run exaggerated hit pieces.

look, this clown went way overboard. He is a sketchy guy, look at his web page. He was way out of control. People do that. It's on him threatening, not on Gerard or Tinsley. He's been tossed off the volunteer staff, whether he is as important, and well known to Gerard, or not. Gerard apologized for what a worker did. Gerard did the right thing. Alas, the News Gazette slimes him for what someone else did. Shameful.

ericbussell wrote on April 05, 2015 at 9:04 am

The Campaign Coordinator for #teamgerard was allegedly impersonating a city official and threatening the small business owner's liqour license.   If that isn't headline news, I don't know what is.   Nobody likes to see these headlines, not even Gerard's political opponents.   It is just really sad.  

Importantlocalopinion wrote on April 06, 2015 at 1:04 am

I somehow don't believe you are too sad about this. You sound like your typing a press release with hollow empathy. 

ericbussell wrote on April 06, 2015 at 4:04 am

A small business owner should never have to experience something like this, especially in this community.   Furthermore, there have been many donors, volunteers, and candidates across many races who have worked hard to keep this a postiive election cycle, only to have this nonsense be a major part of the conversation just days before the election.   I assure you my feelings are not "hollow" on these matters.   If my writing style suggests otherwise, that is unfortunate.  

Mr Dreamy wrote on April 05, 2015 at 10:04 am

What's sad is partisan hacks like ericbussell, he who gave a very expensive pig roast to Feinen for her campaign, pretends to be fair when in fact he is a worker, too.

ericbussell wrote on April 05, 2015 at 11:04 am

The namecalling is unfortunate.   You have a Happy Easter Mr. Dreamy and please don't forget to vote on April 7th. 

Local Yocal wrote on April 05, 2015 at 12:04 pm
Profile Picture

An undercover sabtoge of a campaign is not what happened here. The Petry and Feinen campaign headquarters would still like to send a thank you card to Toby Sirois and Paul Wood and the editorial staff at the News-Gazette for making this page 1.

But seeing how effective sheer incompetence has been at sabatoging a campaign, deliberate sabatoge could be the wave of the future. Let's say Eric Bussell establishes himself as a Feinen campaign helper. Bussell then, like Sorois, engages in questionable behavior by going on line repeatedly to be a half-truth spinster, always there to spread little innuendos and rumors about oh say, a democrat like Gerard, which pisses off most of the electorate, and voters accuse Feinen of dirty tricks and take it out on the Feinen candicacy. But all along Bussell was working for Country Club Joe Petry the whole time. And thus,... and thus,... conservativism can rooole de vorld. (insert evil laugh here.)

ericbussell wrote on April 06, 2015 at 4:04 am

As a regular reader of N-G comment section over the years, I've always enjoyed your entertaining stories.   I wish local politics was the sexy House of Cards/James Bond vision you have in your head.  Intead, it is hosting or attending a fundraiser.  It is hosting or attending a meet the candiate coffee.   It is knocking on a door.  It is making a phone call.  It is hanging a sign.   The grassroots efforts are what matter in a local election, not the back and forth in the anonymous comment section or on some anonymous propoganda blog.   I think keeping it simple and keeping it positive is the wave of the future, not sophisticated black ops campaigns to sabotage a political oppenent.  

Local Yocal wrote on April 06, 2015 at 11:04 am
Profile Picture

"I think keeping it simple and keeping it positive is the wave of the future,.."

That's what worked for Representative Carol Ammons who beat the Madigan Machine in the primary despite the local Democratic Elite working against her and then beat the negative, dishonest shennanigans of Republican Kristin Williamson.

RICO1 wrote on April 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

Local Yocal,

I found your first comment capturing my curiosity, and your second comment capturing my attention...  LOL...  Well stated my friend, well stated...  

csmithson wrote on April 05, 2015 at 3:04 pm

This whole thing is unfortunate. It goes to show the mass of followers that read the NG, and it reflects poorly upon the majority. I say majority because some take the time to research this young man being accused of criminal charges. Instead of making a snap decision on his character based on an isolated incident of accusations, I looked further. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Here is a man who worked his way through the impossible and obtained a doctorate degree after dropping out of highschool. He has more acomplishments in his lifetime thus far than most of us reading this ridiculous account of events. Since returning from grad school, he volunteers at the Urbana Adult Ed which is the program that he attended after dropping out of high school. During his statement to WCIA, he said he didn't do this. Furthermore, the owner took all day and night to decide to report the incident to the mayor, not the police? Or was it the police and then the mayor? Conflicting stories on that detail between media sources. Manish Puri, according to public records, obtained his business license the year Gerard was elected as Champaign's mayor. The former mayor, Schweighart, definitely did not support minorities in any aspect. It is evident in his statement made after voting against a community police review board. There is plenty of information available on My point here is that Mr. Sirois' idea to drum support by mentioning Gerard's support of minority business owners is reasonable. Hey, it's apparent that the former mayor sucked and this one supports minority opportunity... That being said, is it really that hard to believe that there WAS in fact a misunderstanding? That the owner felt threatened because he might have a complex and thinks that everyone is out to get him? For some unknown infraction on Mr. Puri's part? Okay, okay! That's my speculation. See how easily things get out of hand? Mayor Gerard lied by saying he didn't know Mr. Sirois. Who is the actual "bad guy" here? Either men in the misunderstanding? Or is it the man who tried to save himself by denying the fact that he even knew Mr.Sirois?

Paul Wood wrote on April 05, 2015 at 7:04 pm

There's been no suggestion that Mr. Puri did anything wrong.

read the DI wrote on April 05, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Wait, ericbussell gave Debbie Frank Fienen a pig roast? That's not kosher! DI'd she partake?

shanksmare wrote on April 06, 2015 at 6:04 am

This mayor has been an extreme embarassment to the community. His campaign is proving that way as well. Even inserting partisan politics into it while blaming others for doing it. I wouldnt vote for this guy for dog catcher.

Political Observer wrote on April 06, 2015 at 3:04 pm

There's been some discussion in this thread of the $2,800 Hog Roast that Eric Bussell (see above) gave as a political contribution to Deb Frank Feinen.   For those who may find this issue of interest, I'll try to furnish some additional details on it a bit later. 

For now, let me just say that It was an event that was laundered through the Champaign Rotary Club that Bussell belongs to, that it was designed to be for 200 people at $14/person, and that it turns out that that price tag didn't even include the cost of the venue itself, which, by the way, was supposedly donated separately...and which, incidentally, happened to be a location that Bussell had been promoting on Facebook with his photography work! 

Nevertheless, it turned out to be a big success financially, bringing in thousands of dollars in ticket sales for Feinen, which of course enabled her to buy many display ads in the paper version of the News-Gazette and also enabled her  to have her photo on every article page of the online News-Gazette, as you've probably noticed, day after day after day!  (Thanks, Mr. Bussell!)

Political Observer wrote on April 06, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Before getting into Bussell's Laundered Hog Roast, though, I'd like to point out that Deb Frank Feinen is by far the worst candidate in the Champaign Mayoral race.  She's had an elite team of dirty tricksters (including Eric Bussell) working on her behalf and, in the process, they've desperately tried to make this one of the dirtiest Mayoral campaigns in Champaign history.

Feinen's Chief of Dirty Tricks in this election (and in many elections before this) is none other than Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, the man who counts the votes in the election (and the man who badly miscounted the votes a year ago in the 2014 Champaign County Spring Primary...Many of you may remember reading in the News-Gazette discussion forums about how he actually ended up certifying inaccurate and impossible vote totals with the Illinois State Board of Elections as the official vote counts from Champaign County!)

Now, as it turns out, Hulten had never held an elective public office until Champaign City Council member Deb Frank Feinen nominated and highly recommended him to fill a vacant City Council seat in 2010 -- over two other more-highly qualified applicants who, by the way, both appeared genuinely interested in solving the problems of Champaign.  In taking the position, Hulten promised that he was serious about wanting to serve on the Council, that he intended to run for the seat when the next election came up, and that he would campaign heavily for it, by "knocking on 20,000 doors and raising a ton of money!"

Needless to say, these were all rather blatant lies, as Hulten (who hadn't even lived very long in Champaign) was gone from the City Council in less than a year, having used his seat merely as a springboard to jump up to his new highly-paid appointed job as County Clerk, when his good friend  Mark Shelden resigned shortly after the 2010 elections.

Each election after that, long-time voters in Champaign County have dreadfully waited to see the new cesspool of dirty tricks that Deb Frank Feinen's long-time friend and associate, Gordy Hulten, would try to drown them with...and it turns out that he's apparently cooked up a real super-doozy for this election.

Political Observer wrote on April 06, 2015 at 3:04 pm

What Hulten's done for this election is take a total of 10 different precincts that in last Fall's 2014 elections voted in places like the McKinley Foundation, the University YMCA, the UI's Student Dining and Recreation Program, the Skelton Place Community Room, the UI's Activities and Recreation Center, and in 4 different UI Residence Halls in Urbana (Daniels, Illinois Street, Lincoln Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue) and he's re-assigned all 10 of them to vote in a single small room in the basement of the Illini Union!

You can see this for yourself, by comparing the list of polling places for last November's 2014 elections that's at this link:

with an updated list of polling places for tomorrow's April 7th election that's at this link:

What you'll find is that the City of Champaign Precincts 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 and Urbana's Cunningham Precincts 2, 3, 4 and 5 have all been re-assigned to vote in the single small Federal room in the  basement of the Illini Union!
By shoe-horning a total of 10 student and/or Democratic-leaning precincts into a single small room in the Illini Union, Hulten is obviously hoping to cause a large scale jam-up that will slow down voting at busy times, and thereby result in longer waiting lines to vote.  This, in theory, will of course cut down on the number of votes that the sole Democrat in the race, Don Gerard, will receive, and thereby help the election chances of Hulten's friend, colleague, and business associate, Deb Frank Feinen (and the other 2 Republicans, as well)!

IlliniwekMerica wrote on April 07, 2015 at 8:04 am

Or maybe, just maybe, the county clerk did his job and noticed that these types of elections have a very low voter turnout for those precints you listed (why would a large number of transient students be motivated to vote for a local highschool referendum, mayor race, etc?) and did his fiduciary duty by only paying for one polling place for all of those precincts.  

Marti Wilkinson wrote on April 06, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Can Political Observer explain how it is Gerard has been unable to match the funds raised by his political opponents this time around? The pig roast that Eric Bussell hosted for Feinen is no secret and it's a matter of public record.

It's also important to note that the North End Breakfast Club did not support Gerard this time around as well. When an incumbent isn't able to raise the money from prior supporters, and doesn't get much needed endorsements, that is a problem.

How many more situations will come up to embarass Gerard if he is re-elected. Between Schweighart the birther, and Gerard's anger management issues, I think a lot of people have had enough foolishness.

Political Observer wrote on April 07, 2015 at 5:04 pm


1.  "Can Political Observer explain how it is Gerard has been unable to match the funds raised by his political opponents this time around? "

Yeah, that's an easy one!  Don Gerard is the only Democrat in the race.  The other 3 are all Republicans  -- even fake "Independent" Joe Petry once served as Feinen's campaign finance chairman and gave her a $5,000 campaign contribution. [See Table at end of post.]

As you may have already heard, Republicans tend to represent corporate clients rather than people, so it's easy for them to raise lots of money from people associated with pushing the clients' interests.  Ever heard of "Moneybags" John Shimkus?

It's interesting that you seem to have fallen hook, line and sinker for the News-Gazette's campaign to convince people that the more money a candidate raises, the "better" the candidate is.  In that case, John Shimkus must be one of the best political servants Illinois has ever had!  [Snark!]

2.  "The pig roast that Eric Bussell hosted for Feinen is no secret and it's a matter of public record."

You're right!  The campaign donations to Feinen that quarter are right here:

Do you see any Good Democrats on that list?  Are you happy that Feinen was happy to get money from those people, and Don Gerard wasn't?...Well, not me!  I'm glad that Don wasn't getting money from those people.

Feinen is also a long-time big-time fundraiser.  Check out where her money was coming from in the years 2013 and earlier:

[Note: This is an older chart that hasn't been updated with the 2014 and 2015 data.]

The Biggest benefactors of Citizens for Deborah Frank Feinen are

Political Observer wrote on April 07, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Now, a lot of the money in the table above, the top 3 entries anyway, came from back when Feinen was running for State Representative against incumbent Naomi Jakobsson, in 2004.  (Feinen raised a lot of money in that campaign.)

Do you happen to remember that ultra-dirty campaign? 

During that campaign, some young Republican friends of Feinen set up an anonymous website called "" that was modeled after the Swift Boat attacks that Republicans were then launching against John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential race. 

This website made a number of bizarre claims and accusations, like that Naomi was a racist!...(Yes, despite the widely-known fact that Naomi and Eric had adopted multi-racial children!)

Here's an excerpt of an email that a member of the UI's College Democrats sent out on 10-29-2004 describing the Swift Students attacks:


Subject: Stop Feinen's Lies

Recently, UIUC College Republicans and enforcers for Deb Feinen have been spreading a new website around called  Although they will strongly encourage you to visit this website and believe its content, they have no idea where it came from.  Right!  The content in this website is completely false.  Don’t fall for it, or allow your friends to fall for it.

On the charge that Naomi supports sex offenders, at a recent forum on campus Naomi confronted Deb on this issue directly, and told her that her mailings where misleading people.  Deb had no rebuttal other then she didn’t know how many misleading mailings she sent out.  Obviously, she is taking her orders from the republican leadership in Springfield and doesn’t know what her name is on.  The fact is that Naomi was one of only six legislators to vote to strengthen a bill to prevent child sex offenders from taking pictures of children.

On the charge that Naomi is a racist, she has adopted six children, all from different ethnic backgrounds including African-American and Asian.  The charges on this website are so absurd that the Feinen people had to wait until four days before the election to publicize them, thinking that Naomi wouldn’t have time to respond.

Rest assured that Naomi is one of the most hardworking people I have met, and she will be responding to these lies.  Just like the swift boat veterans organization, the swift boat students are relying on misleading statements and documents.

Please talk to your friends and make sure that they don't believe these lies. We're confident that in the end the truth will prevail.


ericbussell wrote on April 08, 2015 at 11:04 am

Poliitcal Observer,

I won a pig roast at a chartiy and then gave it to my friend Deb for her campaign for Mayor.  She reported it right away.   I worked with my other good friends who made a large in-kind donation for the event center.    It was a successful fundraiser, in my opinion.  I like to think iit helped generated some enthusiasm for Deb's campaign and the money raised helped promote and support the beginnings of a successful campaign for Mayor.   The controversial (I say that sarcastically) pig roast was just one of many many many examples of support throughout her campaign.  I'm happy to support my friend Deb and am proud to have my name associated with her impressive campaign for Mayor.  I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.  

Oh, and that photography conspiracy you keep mentioning.   Yes, my good friends opened up their new event center at Pear Tree Estate.   It was a huge undertaking for them and I took pictures the morning of their first event.   I wanted to help them celebrate their milestone and help them show off the beautiful thing they created with some pictures.  

I support local charities and I support my friends, especially when they invest so much of themselves to run for office or open a business.   You are trying to paint this with a negative brush, but I hope this explanation will put an end to your Pig Roast saga.  

Political Observer wrote on April 09, 2015 at 12:04 am

Eric Bussell,

Deb Frank Feinen was certainly "fortunate" to have an elite-level dirty trickster of your many unususal abilities, not to mention your vast experience and the extremely frenetic activity levels that you've shown in DOGGING Don Gerard at every opportunity possible, over the last several years.

[For the benefit of any readers who may be wondering about the appearance of the word "DOGGING" in that last sentence, the reason for its usage may be found in the Discussion Section of this Smile Politely article:

What a "strange coincidence" that accusations like "Don Gerard kills puppies for photo ops!" tend to be made by "unknown attackers" in a campaign where Deb Frank Feinen is running in a hotly-contested race!...Does that remind any one of the "Naomi Jakobsson is a racist!" anonymous accusations that occurred back in 2004?]

I'd also like to note, for other readers who've come across this discussion, that I've used the signon ID, "Political Observer" only on the News-Gazette discussion forum, so when you see this same signon ID being used on other discussion forums like in the  "Smile Politely" discussion linked above, it's the dishonest work of a person who's impostering other peoples' IDs on a different forum as a part of the smear jobs he's engaged in.  [By the way, in yet another amazing coincidence, I've seen this occur in quite a number of different forums in which Eric Bussell carries on the kind of attacks that you can see him making in the Smile Politely discussion forum above.]

Political Observer wrote on April 09, 2015 at 1:04 am

Oh, and as for the $2,800 that Bussell paid to buy a 200-person  Hog Roast / Pig Roast from some friends (and fellow Champaign Rotary Club members) at the fund-raiser that he helped to organize, you can find the story recounted here:

The event appears to have been highly profitable indeed for the Feinen campaign, as you can see from the total of $8,600 in contributions that were taken in during that particular fundraising quarter, at this link:

as against expenses of only $909.50 by Feinen's campaign to pay for "Fundraising-staff for event and tableware" at the event, as you can see at this link:

So, in summary, we'd like to say hats off to Eric Bussell, one of Deb Frank Feinen's biggest campaign fund-raisers (and the likely record holder as the organizer of what was probably the largest Champaign County political pig roast ever), who is also such a versatile person that he has been able to serve over the last few years as one of her most effective smear artists and dirty tricksters, as well! 

ericbussell wrote on April 09, 2015 at 6:04 am


I've got a feeling that we're going to be hearing about this pig roast for years and years.   I'm one of the few who enjoys conversations in the comment section.   That said, if the anonymous hecklers out there put half as much thought/energy into supporting their candidates where it counts, they might actually make a difference in an election.