Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nancy Mistele’s Missing Business

Nancy Mistele’s entire campaign for Dane County Executive seems to be built on only two things: the shameless misuse of a Dane County tragedy and her own self promotion as a savy businessperson. Regarding the later, we can only learn so much by going to her website. On the “About Nancy” page it lists several of her business ventures and affiliations. However, at least one business is curiously missing from that list.

In 1998 the business MBH Studio LLC was organized according to the Department of Financial Institutions. The registered agent of the business was Nancy Mistele. Based on information from a lease, it appears that this new business venture was associated with Mistele’s Signatures Salon. It appears that Mistele was using these related business entities to rent space to small business people that mostly worked in cosmetology.

Neither of these entities are mentioned very often by Mistele, her campaign or at all on her website. The obvious question is why? Some of the available public records may give us a few of the possible reasons. The Department of Financial Institutions shows that MBH Studio was dissolved only 6 years after it was created. In that short period of time the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access site shows at least 4 Small Claims actions involving its affiliated Signatures Salon. In all 4 cases Mistele was listed as the plaintiff and was suing small business persons that rented space from her. It is not clear how many “chairs” Mistele rented, but one can assume that the rate of legal action in such a short period must have been unacceptably high.

Two of the four cases ended in default judgments against the people that rented space. One was dismissed because the person was forced into filing for bankruptcy protection. But at least one of the people that rented from Nancy Mistele decided to fight the legal action. Documents that she filed in the case allege actions that are hardly flattering for anyone, and even less so for someone touting their business acumen.

Perhaps the most disturbing assertion by the defendant comes at the end of a letter to her landlord suggesting “discrimination.” The defendant repeatedly makes this charge but never specifies exactly what kind of “discrimination” that she is talking about, nor does she list her exact reason for making the accusation. Perhaps someone in the media should ask both the former tenant and Nancy Mistele a few questions about these charges. Perhaps there is absolutely nothing to them, but the public has a right to know before the April election.

The defendant in this case also filed a counter claim against Nancy Mistele, which she spells out in an itemized list to the court. The list alleges rent miscalculations and lost business due to repeatedly broken water heaters and a generally unprofessional atmosphere. In another attachment she continues spelling out other grievances and complaints. In a letter to the court commissioner the defendant also states that Nancy Mistele tracked down her new landlord to say bad things about the defendant. In the letter she reports that her new landlord described Mistele as “intimidating.”

Obviously there are two sides to every story, but that does not eliminate the public’s right to know more about someone that is asking for their vote. In the end, nothing of this nature should be hidden from voters. Just because information about a candidate may be missing from their own website, it does not mean that it should be absent from public scrutiny.


Anonymous said...

I'm no Mistele fan but this post just doesn't have any meat on the bone. There is much to criticize about her lack of ideas and acumen. This is just weak.

Cory Liebmann said...

Sorry that is doesn't meet your substance threshold but not all blogs are created equal. This was not meant to be some big substance based blog. It was meant to educate the public about one of her business ventures that she never talks about. She is selling herself as an amazing businessperson, so I think it is fair game. Also, if in that context she is accused of "discrimination" I think someone should mention it and ask some questions. That's it...nothing more, nothing less.

But thanks for your input.