Waukesha alderman Aaron Perry is having a bad week.
A local group has started a recall effort against Waukesha alderman Aaron Perry. Wisconsin Right Now spoke with the chairman of the Committee to Recall Aaron Perry, Dan Freschi who said he believed Aaron Perry should be recalled for his recent arrest for domestic violence and claims that Perry has not maintained residency in his district.
This comes as a bench warrant and contempt order were issued against Perry on Dec 9 in a separate domestic violence injunction. According to court records, Perry failed twice to appear at a firearm surrender hearing in front of Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello. The court earlier granted a 4-year injunction against Perry to the unnamed petitioned. Court records say he failed to file a “Statement of Possession of Firearms.”
Aaron Perry was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence in a criminal complaint that alleges he told sheriff’s deputies, “I just want you to know that this is not a good decision. This is going to haunt you,” right before they arrested him. Perry maintains his innocence, previously telling Wisconsin Right Now, “I’m innocent of all charges. I’ve been instructed by the court not to comment further.”
“Regarding the residency allegation in the filed paperwork, it’s simply untrue,” Perry told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, denying that he doesn’t live in the district. He told Patch, “I have lived in District 12 since 2009. No gap at all. It’s simply an arrangement to secure my son’s safety.”
We spoke with Dan Freschi, the chairman of the recall effort, and he confirmed to us that the recall effort was underway.
According to the Recall Aaron Perry website,
The people of the City of Waukesha in District 12 have been misrepresented for far too long by Aaron Perry. We the people deserve better and better is available.
The final straw that pushed dissatisfied patriots to step in and form the Committee to Recall Aaron Perry, was his most recent domestic violence arrest. We of course believe in due process and he has the presumption of innocence of the domestic violence charges until proven guilty.
What came to light as we learned of his domestic violence arrest was that Aaron Perry has been “living,” in the common everyday understanding of that term, outside of District 12. Based on previous law enforcement and emergency calls, admission by Aaron, photographic evidence, he is living and spending most of his non-working time in District 14, Ward 36.
The petition’s goal is a special election or the addition of Perry’s seat to the spring 2021 elections. The petition requires a minimum of 712 signatures by Feb. 2.
The Aaron Perry recall group cites the following allegations for the recall:
- Ceased to maintain residence in District 12 violating Wis Stat §17.03(4)(c);
- According to arrest records, Alderman Perry lives outside of District 12, at 1408 Rockridge Rd #384;
- Failed to maintain the trust and confidence in the integrity of the City of Waukesha government;
- Threatening Waukesha County Sheriffs during the Nov 9, 2020 arrest, claiming “this is going to haunt you”;
- Violated Waukesha City Code of Ethics 2.10(2) by failing to adhere to the highest standards of morality by threatening harm to residents of District 12;
- Conduct unbecoming a public official by threatening law enforcement to “not fuck with me” during arrest interview;
- Breached the public trust by failing to discharge faithfully the duties of the office of alderman of District 12.
The Aaron Perry recall group is organizing a drive-thru signature event at two locations on Saturday Dec 12 from 1-3 p.m. at. On Sunday Dec 13, The group will be at River Valley Park and Rivers Crossing Park from 1-3 p.m. The group is encouraging people to bring a non-perishable food item or unwrapped toys which will be donated to local charity.
Aaron Perry lost against Rep. Scott Allen during the Nov. 3 election for Wisconsin Assembly District 97.
Perry was one of a string of Democratic candidates who were heavily funded by the shadowy liberal group Better Wisconsin Together and the state Democratic Party in an attempt to take over Republican strongholds in the Legislature. Liberal interests targeted Allen with tens of thousands of dollars in digital ads and paid for a website guide supporting Perry. Allen won the Assembly race 59% to 40%. Perry previously made headlines when he switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 2019.
After the charges were filed (but before the bench warrant was issued), we asked Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly for comment. We asked whether Perry should resign or stay in office. “If the allegations as set out in the complaint are true, Aaron Perry should resign. To determine if they are true there would need to be a due process hearing (or a trial or a plea of guilty). Since there is a possibility of a due process hearing, I will not be providing my opinion of whether the allegations are or are not true,” Reilly said.
We asked the mayor if he supported removing Perry from office. “There are two methods of removing someone from office,” he said. “The first is by recall which would require the residents of his District to follow through with. The other requires the filing of charges, a due process hearing before the Common Council and a finding by a super majority of those Alderpersons that there was ‘inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct or malfeasance in office.'”
We asked the mayor if there was any other comment he wanted to make on the Perry situation. “Unless Alderman Perry resigns, I think the resolution will take time. That is not a bad thing by itself,” he said.
“The laws of the state anticipated that there would be a process to be followed before someone would be forcibly removed from office. There needs to be safeguards in place so no one person or a simple majority of other elected officials can remove an individual rightfully elected. The statutes have set forth a process for removing elected officials for a good reason. Once an individual is elected, it should be difficult to remove that person from office, but not impossible. I believe we will likely see one of the avenues for removing an elected official from office play out, unless there is a resignation. Also, the Waukesha Common Council consists of 15 Alders. Any one Alderpersons ability to dictate policy decisions is largely diluted unless many other alderpersons think the same way. Alderpersons only make decisions as a body, not individually.”
The mayor provided this informational document on removing officials from office. He also provided us with a November 2020 memofrom the City Attorney on residency requirements for Common Council members.
“Council members must be residents of the district in which they are elected, as of the time they are elected. §62.09(2)(a),” the memo says. “Council members must remain residents of the district in which they are elected. If they cease to be a resident of their district, their office becomes vacant. §17.03(4)(c).”
What does it mean to be a resident? “A person has to base the majority of his or her life there. Residency is
comprised of a number of factors, but it boils down to where you live, in the common, everyday understanding of that term.” Relevant factors include, “where the person spends most of his or her non-working time,” where they are registered to vote, where their children attend school, their address on key documents like tax returns and driver’s license, and so forth.
The determination of your residency must be made in good faith, and not with your “fingers crossed behind your back,” says the memo.