Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tonganoxie mayor resigns in wake of obscene e-mail scandal

July 28, 2010, 12:53 p.m. Updated July 28, 2010, 4:21 p.m.


— Mike Vestal resigned as mayor of Tonganoxie Wednesday, two days after it was revealed he had sent an obscene e-mail from a computer he uses in his duties with the city’s answering service.

Tonganoxie mayor resigns after obscene e-mail

Mike Vestal has stepped down as mayor after sending an inappropriate e-mail from his official computer. Enlarge video

“That’s my decision,” Vestal said. “I did it for the betterment of the city. The focus needs to be on city business.

“I gave this a lot of thought and talked it over with my minister. I will devote my life to Christ. I want to continue on the economic development committee I started. I’m excited about that. It’s doing a great job.”

Vestal admitted at Monday’s Tonganoxie City Council meeting that he had sent an obscene e-mail. The admission came after council member Paula Crook twice referred to the e-mail at the meeting.

Crook said she was with her brother, Tonganoxie police officer Danny Ruff, July 14 at an Olathe bingo parlor when he received an e-mail from Vestal on his BlackBerry. The e-mail contained 14 nude photographs of a woman.

“I’d call it hard-core nudity — hard-core porn,” Crook said. “It showed things that made me blush.”

Crook said Wednesday that Vestal did the right thing in resigning.

“I wish Mike the best,” she said. “I’m sure he’s doing what’s best for him and the city of Tonganoxie.”

One official praised Vestal’s tenure in city government.

Vestal brought stability to the City Council and helped the community focus on its needs, Councilman Tom Potthoff said.

“To me, it’s a sad day for Tonganoxie,” he said. “He tried to be a good leader. Nobody’s perfect, but he did move us forward in some areas.”

According to city code, Council President Jason Ward would become mayor if that was his choice. He said Wednesday he was undecided, but hoped to have a decision before the Aug. 9 council meeting.

If Ward declines the position, the council would elect a mayor from among its members.

City Counsel Mike Kelly said the new mayor would then appoint a new council member, subject to confirmation by the council. The seat of the appointed council member will be contested in next April’s election.

Vestal’s four-year term was also to expire next spring. He defeated incumbent Mayor Dave Taylor, 365-341, in April 2007 to win the position.

In September of that year, Vestal apologized and offered to resign when it was learned that he sent an e-mail from his answering service computer with the words “Next Monday is National Female Breast Appreciation Day.” The e-mail showed a picture of a woman and her naked breasts. Underneath the picture were the words, “Beats the (expletive) out of Martin Luther King Day! Doesn’t It?”


somedude20 5 years ago

again, people only ask for "gods" help when they get caught but they never ask for it before they do something they know is wrong. (and really, sending porn is a low level offense, you should have saved this excuse for something bigger like murder or "priesting" a young boy)

jonas_opines 5 years ago

"again, people only ask for "gods" help when they get caught but they never ask for it before they do something they know is wrong."

You probably ought to have included a "some" before that "people."

wtf7343 5 years ago

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wtf7343 5 years ago

Tongie is a small town nothing is private. The person applying for the job hasn't kept that secret, he has made it clear he wants the police chief job.

Darrell Lea 5 years ago

I worked at a bank in Tonganoxie once. Thirty days felt like a year.

Having said that, I can't understand what kind of fool uses work computers to use and share porn, particularly when the fool in question is mayor of a small town.

Playing the "Christ" card in public as one slinks away is a bit disingenuous as well.

Cue Jimmy Swaggart..."I have sinned against You, my Lord, and I would ask that Your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God's forgiveness." - 21 February 1988

blindrabbit 5 years ago

Cappy: Your post made me think of "Whiter Shade of Pale" and "sixteen vestal virgins headed for the coast", and he "might as well be toast". Very appropriate.

matthewjherbert 5 years ago

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Practicality 5 years ago

Maybe he can move to Douglas County and become a commisioner now?

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

I would have been critical of him if he remained in office a la Clinton. However, he is trying to make it right and I do believe in redemption healing and change through Christ.

jonas_opines 5 years ago

"From these posts one would think we should execute the guy and Tongie is nothing but a literal hell-hole."

One out of two?

Jennifer Alexander 5 years ago

Have you lived in Tongie? Have you lived in a Hell-Hole?

I grew up there. I will agree, its a small town full of close minded people, which may not be the greatest. But overall its a safe community where kids can just be kids. It was definitely not a hell-hole. I can think of much worse places than Tongie.

Please don't judge my hometown based on 1 Mayor's mistakes.

Jimo 5 years ago

"I will devote my life to Christ."

Serving the poor in India? Nursing victims in Congo? Building housing in Cambodia? I -- and Christ! -- can't wait to hear the details of Vestal's devotion. Please, please, LJW Editor, please print as soon as this information becomes available.

frankfussman 5 years ago

"You always said people don’t do what they believe in, they just do what’s most convenient, then they repent" --Bob Dylan, Brownsville Girl

nonbeliever 5 years ago

It is too bad when the only councilmember with any backbone and concern for the city of Tonganoxie brought this issue to light Monday night that the 3 stooges (3 councilmembers present that night) could not have the courage to second her motion for Vestal's removal. We need people with the city's best interest at heart --- not a bunch of jellyfish.

wtf7343 5 years ago

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LoveThsLife 5 years ago

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years ago

So... does anyone have anything helpful to add? When he did this before he didn't resign, and everyone bashed him (myself included). This time he backs up his penitence with a resignation, and he still gets bashed. What do you people want?

nekansan 5 years ago

Actually this time he backed up his initial penitence with a repeat performance and, what I feel is a hypocritical and insincere invocation of religion. I think what people expect is for elected officials to respect the voters by living up to a reasonable standard of performance and ethics while serving the public. When politicians betray that trust they absolutely should face consequences and be vilified by the public. if you are not willing to accept that then it is probably best not to run for office.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years ago

Please tell me you did not just argue that "vilifying" a person is justified because a person is a public figure. The last I checked, we elected our officials from the public at large. They will necessarily have flaws and misjudgements that reflect that public. He lost his job over this; no vilification is necessary.

nekansan 5 years ago

"vilified Verb: Speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner."

No I do not believe public figures should all be vilified. I do however believe that those who betray the public's trust should face very significant consequences. I think it is highly justified that the public convey their outrage very publicly and harshly so as to ensure that other individuals who are considering similar actions/abuses are crystal clear that it is not acceptable. This official disparaged his office and abused the power he was entrusted to. If he can't take the resulting vilification in the mere form of words as a consequence for his physical actions then he was in the wrong business. Which, apparently he was, because he justifiably lost his job as a result.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years ago

First, I'm disappointed that you chose a word that it appears you had to look up after I called it out. Second, there's a difference between public censure, and "significant consequences" and "abusive disparagement." Anything that is abusive is, by its nature, unjustifiable. When was the last time you heard of "justified child abuse" or "justified spouse abuse?" Third, your circular reasoning actually pins blame for your behavior on Vestal, rather than taking responsibility for yourself. Finally, I doubt seriously that abusive public vilification is what will motivate future politicians (of 2700-person communities) to stay on the straight and narrow way.

nekansan 4 years, 12 months ago

I provided the definition to make sure you understood the word. I stand by the comment 100%. Abusive language is a proportional response to the abuse of public office that occurred here. Censure does not proportionally reflect the outrage that, in my opinion, a public servant that abuses his office should face. The word abusive when used in reference to language does not mean unjustified, it can, and in my usage was intended as "using harsh insulting language" Saying I believe someone was unethical and unprofessional is harsh and insulting, but I believe it to be true. If you really can't differentiate between abusive language and things such as child and spousal abuse then I don't know what to say. I believe that the Mayor displayed a complete lack of professionalism, highly unethical behavior, poor judgment, and was, at best, insincere in his previous contrition for this repeated behavior. As a result I believe he should have lost his job and face the harshest verbal criticism for his behavior in a very public forum. Which he has. Thus my vilification comment. I do believe public outcry regarding his behavior will at least make anyone running for any public office question their true motivation and help to ensure that people run for the right reasons and place ethics a bit higher on the list once they are in office. The size of the community should not matter. His behavior was unacceptable at any level in public service.

sherlock 5 years ago

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bearded_gnome 5 years ago

LJW is really focusing on the wrong story!
they're all inflamed about the porn. yes, that was wrong, and mostly really stupid.

however, read the details! this mayor was the mayor and was working as a private contractor for his own city! and I'd say that was wronger than wrong if he were in a wheelchair, using an iron lung; kept alive with a Dick Cheney heart machine; and communicating in sign language! FGS! and ljworld thinks the pics are the problem?

you guys at LJW ever hear of corruption?
if you don't know what it is, go to then if it helps, write down the definitions of corruption. write them each ten times!!!!!

let them sink in and get back to me, oookay?

it is possible he is sincere about finding God. sometimes hitting bottom is what it takes. sadly we have bad examples of jerks like Jimmy Swaggart who are quite insincere. In my faith, God can forgive anything, but you have to truly trust and repent.

now, some of the same posters above probably defended Bill Clinton, demanded he be kept in office.
Any sign of a Tongahoochy cigar? pictures are one thing, having a sexual relationship with a subordinate at your workplace is much much worse.
Bill Clinton was kept in office, why not this poor schlub?

beatrice 5 years ago

Kept in office? By whom? No. Clinton chose to stay in office after getting caught having an affair (a private, thought horribly distasteful matter). He wasn't "kept" in office, it was his decision.

Apparently, resigning was Vestal's decision as well.

But I can see why you and others are making the comparison, since being mayor of Tonganoxie, Kansas, is so similar to being President of the United States of America.

Mike Ford 5 years ago

this guy needs to have a character resembling him on Southpark, Family Guy, or Squidbillies. This guy is tv gold. Better yet, why not have fixed (FOX) network do a story on how his first amendment rights were violated?

slang4d 5 years ago

Wow, the Christ business is popular, I wonder how many people work for him.

I also wonder why LJWorld hasn't reported the pending buyout of Sunflower cable by a company located in Georgia. Seems to me they'd be ahead of the game- World Company and all....

Editor- when will we hear this story? Would be of interest to all subscribers of Sunflower, of which there are many.

seppuku 5 years ago

In Japan, when some resigns in disgrace....oh never mind.

sponky 5 years ago

Has anyone noticed that all the comments about other parties involved are being strategically removed. First the mayor should of known better. Second the officer apparently this wasn't the first time and he had no problem with it his sister did Also he knew he had a city computer after the last ordeal. Come on can someone say corruption. The other council lady/sister grow up. Afterall this was sent in mature fun. As adults you expect stuff like this to happen;but shouldn't happen at work.

You all should realearn about the corruption occurring in this small town. Its funny that this has gone on for awhile and common knowledge until the chief of police position opened and now the city is being controlled by a city manager and assistant city manager. Ljworld contact me if you want a real story about what's going on I think its time the people know the truth about what's really happening.

slang4d 5 years ago

I have no issue with Christianity, I have a problem with unscrupulous people in a tight spot suddenly claiming an interest in Christ.

slang4d 5 years ago

Out of curiosity- why do y'all feel so attacked at any sign of sarcasm or dissent? Only 15% of the population do not believe in a personal God. One would expect the 15% to feel cornered and offended. Heck, I was driving through central Kansas the other day and was bombarded by mildly offensive religious billboards. You've got the majority man, calm down.

Mike Ford 5 years ago

for having so many blind followers of christianity and I say this as a recovering minister's kid, your super majority has a minority persecution complex. Christianity has been used as the reason for more bloodshed than you probably know in history. enough with the majority crying persecution.

slang4d 5 years ago

Uh, whatever, old school Socialism is clearly dead. A democratic capitalist country with social programs (like Sweden) is not the same animal.

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

spoken like a true brownshirt. Welcome to the forums, o kobach apologist.

slang4d 5 years ago

Every faith has blind followers. Anyone that can't back up their beliefs with clear reasoning is blind. Anyone that subscribes to a religion merely out of tradition ("my parents raised me to be...") is also a blind follower. Anyone that falls back on the "faith" argument is in the same boat. So it goes. I don't really care as long as people aren't letting their religion dictate their political decisions.

seppuku 4 years, 12 months ago

Hey, I don't think you should be making fun of blind people.

pace 5 years ago

While I am aware that porn can be an addictive behavior, I don't think it should be on the tax payers dime. Good bye, so long,. Get help. Don't run for office again. Atone at home, not in front of the press. S

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

Bea, here's a little history: your Bill Clinton used his office to obstruct the legal process. he used his office to lie, the subject of that lie is completely irrelevant.
you and other radical feminist used to lecture long and hard about employers taking advantage sexually of employees and subordinates, emphasizing the power differential. it was found that your president Bill Clinton had had a sexual relationship with an intern who was about age 21.

your radical leftist party (the democrat party) and a few misguided republicans voted in the senate against convicting your Bill Clinton of the impeachment. if he had been impeached, your president Bill Clinton would have been removed fromoffice.

this is what my phrase [above] "kept in office" means. are you ignorant, or just acting that way?

slang4d 5 years ago

bearded_gnome (anonymous) says… used his office to obstruct the legal process.

You're talking about a lot of politicians there.

Speaking of corruption and abuse of power, let's talk about YOUR Dick Cheney.....

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years ago

yeah really, Cheney shot a guy in the face and got away with it lol..

slang4d 5 years ago

By the way, your use of the word "radical" as an offensive term is rather silly. One could say Jesus was a radical and most people are in agreement that he was an alright guy, even if they can't agree he was the son of God.

beatrice 5 years ago

My Bill Clinton? I never owned a Bill Clinton, although he was OUR president.

Lewinski was 25 when she was an intern at the White House, although I agree the affair was highly distatesful. However, since you raise what you think feminists were saying before this event (I'm sure you are guessing since I doubt you actually took the time to listen to any feminists in your lifetime) Lewinski wasn't forced into sex in order to keep her job. She wasn't pursued against her will.

Clinton wasn't impeached, and he chose not to resign. If he had resigned, it wouldn't have hurt my feelings, by the way. In fact, President Gore has a rather nice sound to it.

So, this is why your phrase "kept in office" is misguided and incorrect. No, I am not ignorant, as you claim, although your statement that the Democratic Party is a "radical leftist party" indicates that you truly are.

However, this is a story about the display of really bad judgment by the Mayor of Tonganoxie, not the sexual stupidity of other politicians like Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, John Edwards, John McCain, Gary Hart, Larry Craig, (we both know this list can go on and on and on, and neither Republicans or Democrats will come out looking good) ...

beatrice 5 years ago

he wasn't impeached by the House and the Senate and thus the decision to stay in office was his. (better? ... geez louise)

Mike Hatch 5 years ago

Bush is definately behind this whole "scandal".

beatrice 5 years ago

No way. He pawned it off on Scooter Libby.

Mike Hatch 5 years ago

Oh, you're talking about our former president!

RogueThrill 5 years ago

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riverdrifter 5 years ago

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RogueThrill 5 years ago

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slang4d 5 years ago

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tongiegirl1973 5 years ago

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wtf7343 5 years ago

You haven't been here lately cause if you have you'd see they are everywhere!!!!!

wtf7343 5 years ago

Every post I have done is deleted so I will try again. There is corruption in this town other than Mayor Mike Vestal look into the administrator and the police cheif position or the council member that has an ax to grind with anyone in the city. Many many people have had dealings with this council person, that should be taken care of personally not professionally!! This person has to resign !!!

LadyJ 5 years ago

Gee, I wonder if it might have something to do with your user name? Whitney has a different set of rules.

cavtrooper 5 years ago

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slang4d 5 years ago

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irvan moore 5 years ago

Tongonoxie is lucky, why couldn't our mayor resign.

dfilmguy 5 years ago

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years ago

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Kelly Johnson 5 years ago

If he was stupid enough to use his work computer to look at/send pornography to people AFTER already being caught once before, he is too stupid to be mayor anyway!

I think he needs professional help for his addiction.

I am a Christian and do believe that people can be helped by their faith, but he would look a lot more credible and remorseful had he just left the statement end with "the focus needs to be on city business."

Tom McCune 5 years ago

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gsxr600 5 years ago

I LOLed and stopped reading at " I will devote my life to Christ"

RogueThrill 5 years ago

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RogueThrill 5 years ago

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RogueThrill 5 years ago

The picture on the index page is pretty much the ultimate troll bait. Not even I can resist.

staff04 5 years ago

Bets on how long Groenhagen lasts this time around?

Reuben Turner 5 years ago

he should have been pleading the blood b4 he sent the message and he would still be in the office. I can't stand when folks get caught, instead of just admitting and saying shame on me, and they now are going to follow christ. I wish him well and i do hope that the lord leads him to improve his health, by the pic in the paper he doesn't look to healthy.

tongiegirl1973 5 years ago

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1029 5 years ago

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Jock Navels 5 years ago

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LoveThsLife 5 years ago

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LoveThsLife 5 years ago

What exactly is his handicap????

Kontum1972 5 years ago

when they were casting for sites for James Dickies novel "Deliverence" they scoped out "Tongie" as a potential shooting location....but ...Ga. won out... its all politics... but there might eventually be a made for TV movie....don't give up Hope!

questionsxxx 5 years ago

I find it interesting that the LJ World published this article, when last week and earlier this week there was a much more "scandalous" event in which a former KU grad, and prominant Kansas City Area Lawyer, was charged on several much more serious counts regarding internet child pornography and solicitation in U.S. District Court, as a result of an FBI sting operation. Much more lurid than what the Mayor of Tonganoxie was charged with. I have no problem with the report about the Mayor, and I think such behavior should be made public, but it does make me wonder if the LJ World does not choose to protect "it's own" by not reporting on them?

pace 5 years ago

I know this is a side issue but I am impressed about how bad that picture is. It seems to be shot from beneath, accenting his unfortunate chin.

HogJiver 5 years ago

What a big bag of crap. The pervert has to go talk to his minister. Get real dude, you just screwed up.

blindrabbit 5 years ago

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Oh what the heck, you remember the rest of this!!

tongiegirl1973 5 years ago

Hmmm..... Funny I do not see anything on here about how he has done GOOD things for Tonganoxie. Thats okay though. Dirty laundry will get aired about anyone in office. Now, let me start finding a way to nail some of the cheating cops and other people in the city and county office cheating on their spouses. That wouldnt matter though would it? You all want to make fun of someone and their looks? Well, I hope when you idiots meet your maker, he will remind you of your ignorance and stupidity. Seriously. Get a life. Half of the people commenting on here are just happy that their actions have not been uncovered. All I can say is, I WOULD VOTE him into office again. Go ahead bash me all you want! You dont know me either. Just like you do not know Mr. Vestal. Half of you on here are probably from Lawrence where there is more issues than you can shake a stick at but they get mysteriously covered up.....

If Mr. Vestal reads this, I want him to know that I think very highly of him and his family.

Also would like to mention that I came to Tonganoxie from Lawrence where I was born and raised and I would never go back to Lawrence. Its like night and day. Tonganoxie is home and I assure you, nobody running around with sheets on their head.

Mr. Vestal, I wish you all the luck and I wish you happiness and health and the ability to move past this and continue your life and getting to know God. Too bad there are so many people on here who have NO CLUE who God is or whoever their God is.

verity 5 years ago

Where they've always been. I'm sure you can find a way to contact them (you do have access to a computer?) if you want to report this and get them involved.

blindrabbit 5 years ago

Tongiegirl: Understand your sympathy for Mr. Vestal. But give me a break about the religious conversion stuff. I don't know Mr. Vestals political leanings, but the standard for right-wing republicans is to convert (be reborn) as soon as they are exposed, Swaggart, Craig, Vitter, Colson, Haggart, etc, etc. Gives religion a black eye. Anyway, I wish him the best.

estespark 5 years ago

I'm sure he didn't just queue up 14 naked pics and fire them off to his cop friend on a whim.

Generally, people who receive explicit emails in some way instigate this activity, or, in some cases reciprocate.

Maybe I'm wrong...

tongiegirl1973 5 years ago

was the cops phone a city phone???? Did he forward it? If he did we can find out.

Trouble 5 years ago

I would guess the phones in Tongie that the cops have is their own.They don't have money to buy phones for them cops, but hay they waste money all the time. I would be more interested in taking that city computer that the Mayor has and just seeing what he has been up to. This little e-mail is probably just the tip of it!

tongiegirl1973 5 years ago

LJWORLD! Why are you deleting my comments?????? They do not say anything more than what others have said on here. Tell me why!

GmaD321 5 years ago

Typical whiskey tango Tongie. Grew up there and got the hell out 34 yrs ago. Hate even driving through it. The caliber of city commisioners and cops is scary. Crummy little town run via the "good ole boy" system. I'm surprised they allow anyone of color in their stupid little podunk town but then who, of color, would want to live there?

Boosh 5 years ago

What's wrong with a little porn amongst consenting adults?

jaywalker 5 years ago

Obscene email scandal????? Oh, please. Beyond stupid to be forwarding emails from the city account, but this is much ado about noooooothing.

purplesage 5 years ago

God graciously and freely shows His mercy and forgives the sin of repentant humnas. However, this does not remove the consequences set into motion. I believe Mr. Vestal that he has received Christ and is forgiven. The eternal consequence of such a commitment is everlasting life. The temporal consequence is still that he ought to resign as mayor.

pace 5 years ago

Speaking of being thankful, at least they weren't nude pictures of himself. It is not true that any people receiving such pictures did something to provoke it. One morning all the office got a nasty picture sent to them from some guy having "fun" The Internet is the easy trench coat for the modern flasher. He got the emails off the company web site.

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