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Mayor of Belle answers allegations of campaign shenanigans

By Rusty Marks, Staff writer

Belle Mayor Buck Chestnut wants to answer allegations of campaign shenanigans made against him by his opponent in next week’s town elections.

David Fletcher, one of two opponents Chestnut faces in town elections Tuesday, alleges Chestnut and his followers have been trying to push around Belle residents who have Fletcher’s campaign signs in their yards. Fletcher also alleges Chestnut has been making campaign calls from his office in Belle Town Hall and said the mayor’s wife threatened a local pizza parlor with a loss of city business for supporting Fletcher.

“I think it’s kind of unethical what they’re doing,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher alleges the mayor’s wife, Nancy Chestnut, went into Mario’s Pizza shop, identified herself as a member of the town’s recreation commission, and said the city would stop buying pizza from Mario’s as long as they had Fletcher’s signs in the windows.

Mayor Chestnut conceded his wife went to the pizza shop without his knowledge and made the statement, but said she never identified herself as a representative of the city. “She knew it was wrong when she did it, but she was mad,” the mayor said.

He said state ethics officials met with he and his wife, and Nancy Chestnut agreed not to do anything similar again.

But he said other allegations of campaign shenanigans are false.

Chestnut said he has not been campaigning out of the mayor’s office, and said he hasn’t been giving residents with signs supporting Fletcher a hard time.

“I don’t campaign this way,” he said. “I don’t have time to do that.”

Chestnut said he was going to keep quiet about Fletcher’s allegations, but decided to speak out because, “I’m afraid people are going to start to believe him.”

Chestnut suggested it was Fletcher who was trying to strong-arm city residents. “He intimidates a lot of people,” the mayor said.

Reach Rusty Marks at

rustymarks@wvgazette.com

or 304-348-1215.


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