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Archive for Friday, April 1, 2005

Mysterious postcards target Schauner

Mailings suggest unfounded connections to domestic abuse

April 1, 2005

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An anonymous opponent of City Commission candidate David Schauner blanketed the city Thursday with a spurious postcard attempting to link the incumbent to domestic abuse.

Schauner, who is in the middle of a tight re-election battle, denied all allegations of domestic abuse and denounced the postcard as a political cheap shot.

"I don't know what to tell you other than it is an outlandish lie, perpetuated by someone who is afraid I may win re-election," Schauner said.

The postcard came in voters' mailboxes six days before Tuesday's general election. The message on the postcard was cryptic. It included a picture of Schauner and a Google logo, a popular Internet search engine. The text said, "I thought I'd let you know what I found on the web about this guy."

It then included the phrase "... David M. Schauner, Kansas National Education Association, of Topeka, ... for battery of his first wife and had been divorced by his second wife. ..."

A Google search of Schauner's name with the phrase "battery" turns up a document summarizing a case in which Schauner was involved as an attorney for his employer, KNEA. The case mentions battery, divorces and a second wife, but Schauner's only involvement in the case was as an attorney.

The postcard was signed by a Becky Kopeland. A search of phone records and voter registration records in Douglas County found no one by that name. The return address on the postcard was Schauner's home address.

It is not known how many postcards were mailed, but the Journal-World received dozens of calls from residents throughout the city Thursday. It appeared the postcards were only sent to women who were registered voters.

The postcard comes after a Lawrence Internet forum, rivercitytalk.com, had posted allegations that Schauner's 1971 marriage to a Larned women ended as a result of domestic abuse.

Schauner denied those allegations as well.




"Totally untrue," Schauner said. "Find one scintilla of evidence to prove that. It is not true. There is no such information. It is a bald-faced lie."

The Journal-World has discovered no evidence that supports the allegations. Court documents from Pawnee County showed that the couple's divorce was settled amicably. When contacted by the Journal-World, Schauner's first wife declined comment about the marriage.

Marion Lynn, the individual who posted the allegations on the Internet, said he had no idea who sent the postcards.

"I'm not kidding you, I don't know who did this," Lynn said.

The postcards were mailed using a first-class presorted mailing permit. The postcards contained no postmark and it is not known whether they were mailed from Lawrence. Officials with the Lawrence Post Office did not return calls Thursday. But a source knowledgeable of postal regulations said it was likely the mailer would have had to file paper work with a post office before the cards could be mailed.

Schauner said that he would pursue legal action against the sender if the identity is determined. He also said he would review a possible defamation case against those who had posted allegations against him on the Internet forum.

Each of Schauner's fellow candidates in the City Commission race denounced the postcard at a forum sponsored by the Kansas University student government at the Kansas Union Thursday night

"On Monday I spoke to two government classes at Lawrence High School, and one of the things I told the kids in that class was to get involved in local politics," Amyx said. "I want to make sure (that the students) understand that we don't do this in Lawrence, Kansas. We don't do it."

Some of the candidates said they were certain that the card hadn't come from any of Schauner's competitors for the commission.

"I'm sure it's no one that's here that was involved with it," Jim Carpenter said. "We've all gotten along well."

-- 6News reporter Holly Naylor and staff writer Jay Senter contributed to this report.

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