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Manitowoc Alderman investigated over residency

Aaron Bailey on WBAY's Power 2 Change
Aaron Bailey on WBAY's Power 2 Change(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 12:38 AM CDT
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - A Manitowoc Alderman is being investigated over the legitimacy of his address.

Action 2 news first introduced you to Aaron Bailey in July after he became the first black man sworn to the Manitowoc City Council.

The investigation started at the end of August when a private citizen submitted an “anonymous” communication to Council President, Eric Sitkiewitz, disputing Bailey’s address.

He says the resident had hired their own private investigator to dig into where Bailey lives and had turned over the documents to the city.

“I had a choice, there were two things I could have done with that report, I could have sat on it and shoved it in a drawer, and if the accusations in it were true, it would have been a disservice to the city of Manitowoc, the common council, and Alderman Bailey as well,” said Sitkiewitz during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting.

The committee voted to have the discussion in open session.

Action 2 News asked for the documents submitted by the citizen, but did not receive them as of this report.

According to the City Attorney, Kathleen McDaniel, the documents allege Bailey lives at an address in district three (204 North 8th Street) while representing district seven.

Bailey’s address listed on the City of Manitowoc’s website is 2205 S. 22nd Street, in district seven.

“My address has always been the same, as far as you know, you can live many places as you’d like; but residing is the point of the topic here,” said Bailey.

According to online court documents for divorce, both addresses are listed under Bailey’s name.

The allegations prompted city leaders to hire it’s own private investigator, Charles Hess of CMC Investigations out of Sheboygan.

He spoke during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, saying his investigation is still ongoing and his information so far is inconclusive on where exactly Bailey lives.

He turned over his documents to the council during Tuesday’s meeting. Action 2 News also asked for a copy of those documents, but was told they needed to be checked and redacted for private information.

The council also heard from Bailey’s Attorney and Crusaders of Justicia, a community nonprofit organization whose “mission is to mobilize exploited families and individuals and their allies to fight for justice.”

Bailey’s attorney spoke during Tuesday’s meeting via zoom conference call saying, “There is absolutely nothing in this report [from the private citizen] that Alderman Bailey does not live at the address he indicated.”

Documents from Crusaders of Justicia show a copy of Bailey’s State issued identification card showing the 2205 S. 22nd Street address.

There is also a document from Bailey’s sister, Amirah Bailey, dated October 12, 2020 who also lives at the 22nd Street address.

It states in part, “I am writing to certify that Aaron Bailey, my brother, currently lives with me at this address, along with my husband and three children. He lived here before we moved in, in June of 2019, when we took the lease over.”

The letter is notarized by Jennifer Estrada, who is also the President of Crusaders of Justicia.

“It made me feel like I’m not invited to sit at the table with the rest of the boys,” said Bailey about the investigation. “I’m a proud member of my community as they are, I represent my community as they do, but the first time I do that, I’m brought to a situation where I have to talk about where I live.”

The Committee of the Whole decided to take the documents and place them on file and not move forward with the investigation at this time.

“We can take the information that’s in the report and the information that Alder Bailey has provided us and draw our own conclusions,” said Sitkiewitz.

“As far as I’m concerned that initial complaint is put to rest with that investigation, we did our part, there’s no more clarity on it than the day I received it, and that’s unfortunate that we’re 8-9 weeks into this,” said Sitkiewitz.

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