Archive for Thursday, March 13, 2003

Wichita hopeful says he regrets run for mayor

Movie theater mogul to finish campaign but tells newspaper he hates city

March 13, 2003

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— Wichita mayoral candidate Bill Warren said he regretted entering the Wichita mayor's race, The Wichita Eagle reported Wednesday.

Warren also reportedly told the newspaper he hated Wichita, a statement he later denied making.

Warren also said he would sell his movie theaters because his opponent in the April 1 election, Carlos Mayans, had threatened his business.

The remarks reportedly were made in a series of phone calls Tuesday to The Eagle newsroom.

Mayans said he was astonished by Warren's comments, which he called "insane." Mayans said he had never threatened Warren's business.

Warren said he would sell the theaters whether he won or lost the mayoral election. But he intends to stay in the race.

"I wish I had never run because of my family and because of my business -- not because of me," Warren said.

Warren said he couldn't quit now.

"I wouldn't give a dishonest, unethical, lowlife person like Carlos the satisfaction," he said.

Mayans said Warren's statement did not make any sense, and the two didn't even talk except when they were at forums -- and then only exchanged pleasantries.

Warren allegedly made the comments about hating Wichita when an Eagle reporter asked him about a film clip that runs at his theater chain. The clip compliments Wichita for its entrepreneurship and for being part of "America's heartland."

It briefly shows Warren, sitting in an empty theater, saying, "I'm Bill Warren. It's time to believe again."

When asked about the video, Warren said he couldn't make any comment because he hadn't seen it.

He said it had nothing to do with his campaign.

When the reporter pressed for details on it, Warren said he was running the video "because I hate Wichita."

"You have to understand, I no longer care what Wichita thinks," he said. "I no longer care what the paper thinks. How's that?"

In a second phone interview later that afternoon, Warren denied making the comment.

"I never said that," Warren said. "Why would I say I hate Wichita when I'm running something that says how nice Wichita is? Does that make sense?"

He suggested phone static during the interview must have caused him to be misunderstood.

Warren received 20 percent of the vote in the Feb. 25 primary; Mayans received 28 percent.

Warren's campaign manager, Tom Burnett, said Warren was "blowing off steam" when he called The Eagle.

"I think he's just frustrated," Burnett said. "The reporting has made him evil in the eyes of a lot of women. They just read the headlines without reading the whole story."

In January, The Eagle reported that Warren's fiancee, Susan Miller, filed court documents and police reports last year accusing Warren of threatening her life during a brief breakup. However, they reconciled, and Miller later said she made up the allegations.

Warren said his opponent told him early in the race he had embarrassing information about his personal life.

"There needs to be laws to protect people running for office from unscrupulous slander and continuous threats to their business," Warren said.

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