By DAVE RANK
Daily News Staff
It’s worth $500 to Daniel Goetz to find out who anonymously tried to stain his reputation as a public official in Richfield.
Former Town Chairman John Kohl wouldn’t mind learning the truth as well.
Both men were elected supervisors on the Richfield Town Board long before Richfield became a village in 2008. In July, about 4,000 printed flyers were left in the newspaper boxes of village residents accusing each man of influencing the Village Board to change zoning that advanced private land deals in 2008.
“They accused the Town Board of doing us a favor,” Kohl said. He believes the anonymous flyer was distributed in an attempt to “blacken the name of the Village Board” to get residents to elect new village trustees.
Both men vehemently deny the accusations and remain upset that their accusers did not have the courage to identify themselves.
“This came out of the clear blue,” Goetz said. “I don’t know why. I don’t know if they’re trying to attack the (Village) Board through me. I just don’t know. It takes a lot to put out that many flyers.”
In 2008, just before the town became a village, Kohl said, a developer approached him to purchase 37 acres from his farm on Highway 175 for a proposed subdivision.
Kohl said the developer asked for the zoning change. “I was never a part of it. I had nothing to do with the rezoning.”
Goetz said he believed the flyer referred to a sale eight years ago that involved 60 acres from his parents’ estate owned by Goetz and his 10 siblings and an adjacent 20 acres Goetz bought to provide access to that property, which became part of Reflection Village in 2005.
“I don’t know if that’s what they’re talking about or not,” Goetz said of that sale. “What these people are doing is really, really wrong. Why should you be subjected to ridicule?”
Kohl said he responded to the flyer attack by distributing more than 3,000 one-page rebuttals to village residents. In August, Goetz distributed 1,000 copies of a responding letter in which he wrote, “To have some unknown person slander me and my family is very insulting to me.”
Goetz also placed that letter in local shoppers and newspapers, including the Daily News.
“I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done,” Goetz said. “I’ll talk about it at any time.” He owns Pioneer Bowl and Arrowhead Golf Course in Richfield.
Kohl and Goetz both said such antics are a disservice to everyone who gets involved in local government and likely discourages individuals from even running for office.
“They’re only trying to do their best. Why should they be ridiculed?” Goetz said.
Both men have their suspicions who distributed the anonymous flyer, but neither has solid proof.