Friday, March 30, 2012

Chheda Exposes Felon For Working On Alderman Witkowiak's Re-election Campaign

Sachin Chheda

Facebook political drama escalates as Chair for the Milwaukee County Democratic Party targets felon for working in opponents Aldermanic campaign.

By H. Nelson Goodson
March 30, 2012

Milwaukee - On Thursday, Sachin Chheda, Chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party faced a backlash in Facebook after he blatantly targeted Natalia Santamaria for being a felon and working as a campaign manager/assistant to re-elect Alderman James "Jim" N. Witkowiak in the 12th Aldermanic District. Santamaria claims, she was convicted for writing checks without the permission of Attorney Armando Arellano who she lived with more than a decade ago. She wrote, that the relationship with Arellano was abusive and that he stalked her and her children for years. Arellano pressed charges for writing checks and she was convicted when she made a plea bargain to move on with her life, according to Santamaria's statement written in Facebook. Arellano could not be reached for comment.
Chheda apparently became upset when he was identified as a non-Hispanic managing candidate José Pérez' campaign for Alderman in the 12th District. The Pérez campaign has been accused of making race an issue because Witkowiak is White and Pérez is of Puerto Rican descent, according to Witkowiak's supporters.
Santamaria's past became an issue with Chheda as an attempt to discredit Witkowiak's campaign for having Latinos working for him. Chheda was criticized for personally attacking Santamaria, by Facebook follower Robert Miranda, a Witkowiak supporter, editor for the Spanish Journal and executive director for Esperanza Unida.
Chheda later apologized to Santamaria for bringing up her past. "I admit when I'm wrong. It was a cheap shot, and I don't know her, so I apologize," Chheda wrote responding to Miranda's criticism on Facebook. Chheda later explained that he had twice apologized to Santamaria, but the conviction had already been made public in Facebook world and gossip connection.
Candidate Pérez has maintained a low profile and has failed to come forward to comment about Chheda's bashing of Santamaria for her felony record while managing Witkowiak's campaign indicates that Pérez himself could be actually condoning Chheda's targeted bashing, according to multiple women who condemn Chheda's negative attacks.
In a statement released by Alderman Witkowiak on Saturday, he stated, "For everyone that feels that they have a say in the matter, I want to silence you all - Natalia lived through an abusive situation. Like many women find themselves, the system failed her because her abuser was a man in a position of political and economic power. As part of the system that failed her, I feel very satisfied with the person she is and has been while working for me. I knew of this event, and she and I knew that José Pérez's campaign may throw it out: as a dirty and sleezy tactic to embarrass her. She never backed down, even when she received a call from Juan Carlos Ruiz earlier this week threatening to put this private matter out in the public.
Since then, Juan Carlos has shown his true colors and endorsed José - to be honest with all of you, I would not want his endorsement anyway. This method of campaigning is NOT what I am about, Natalia did not do anything wrong, and eventually took this mistake in the civil process to the Supreme Court - her case was heard earlier this year after defending it on her own for 5 years because no lawyer in Madison or Milwaukee would help her, - because they didn't "want to make an enemy out of Victor Arellano." I think she has had remarkable strength and dignity, and that is why I asked her to work for me. This is a private matter, and I request that no one judge her but for the person that she has demonstrated herself to be with each and everyone of you. Thank You," Witkowiak wrote in Facebook.
The General Election is on Tuesday, April 3rd.

Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) disciplinary 14 count complaint filed on February 28, 2011 against Victor M. Arellano, Attorney at Law regarding Natalia Santamaria and three other women. The OLR is seeking for the state Supreme Court to revoke Arellano's law license. Santamaria and three other defendants testified in court and the Arellano's disciplinary case is at its final stage. The victims are now waiting for a judge decision whether to revoke Arellano's law practice license, which the decision can come at anytime, according to Santamaria. Complaint (PDF) copy at link:

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