WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – New secretly-recorded audio has surfaced in the lawsuit against three elected officials accused of helping to create an attack ad against Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple.
Matthew Colborn was initially sued by Brandon Whipple, accused of producing a false attack ad against Whipple, as he was running for Wichita Mayor in 2019. Colborn’s attorney, Michael Shultz, released audio that he says Colborn secretly recorded, of his meeting with Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell, Kansas Representative Michael Capps, and Wichita City Council member James Clendenin.
Short clip from recording:
“Matthew was at the meeting where Michael O’Donnell, James Clendenin, and Michael Capps
planned to push the blame for this ad onto Dalton Glasscock and others,” said Shultz in a statement to KSN. “To protect himself, he recorded that conversation. We are releasing that recording now to demonstrate the accuracy of what Matthew has now said and to try and stop those who continue to attack him.”
Glasscock is the Chairman of the Sedgwick County Republican Party and has denied any involvement with the attack ad.
Colborn was dismissed from the Whipple lawsuit on October 22, 2020.
Audio: Full recording:
“Matthew regrets his participation in this whole ordeal,” said Shultz in a statement. “While he chose to participate in these underhanded attacks, he has also been used and scapegoated in the public eye. Needless to say, it has been a year of painful lessons about politics, relationships, and business. But he is now ready to move past this chapter in his life.”
The amended lawsuit filed by Whipple names Clendenin as the “principal fundraiser and to add credibility to the effort.” The lawsuit also alleges representative Capps wrote a check to Colborn Media for $5,000 and used the money they raised through his charity named The Fourth and Long Foundation. When KSN spoke with Capps in November of 2019 — soon after the ad initially aired — he denied any involvement. At the time he said, “I had absolutely nothing to do with the production of this video, the fundraising of this video, the promotion of this video, I’ve never touched this video.”
In the audio released to KSN on October 23 the men discuss how to respond to inquiries from the media or others questioning their involvement. A voice reported to be that of Commissioner O’Donnell said, “That’s why it’s so much. Better than you being specific. Like I’ve always learned in politics, always avoid the truth at all expense. Just go on the attack. So, you just say it’s not true.”
On October 14, KSN’s Bret Buganski asked O’Donnell about a quote in the Whipple lawsuit:
“You apparently said, his words not mine in this: ‘avoid the truth at all expense,'” said Buganski.
“Never said that, never said that,” said O’Donnell.
Buganski asked: “Why do you think it’s in there?”
O’Donnell responded: “Because that’s what he’s trying to, say to be a distraction from the campaign, I don’t know. But that was not in a text message. He’s saying that’s what I said to him. I mean it’s not true, my word versus his.”
KSN spoke with Mayor Whipple Friday before this audio was released about why he dropped Colborn from the lawsuit.
“He provided the evidence that allowed us and my lawyer to come to the conclusion that he really wasn’t as involved as I think he originally was made it out to be,” said Mayor Whipple.
KSN reached out to Capps, Clendenin, and O’Donnell, who remain named in the lawsuit, after the audio was released for a response. Councilman Clendenin said he did not want to speak at this time. There has been no response from Commissioner O’Donnell or Representative Capps.