March 22, 2013

Unity between District 4 candidates Blick and Blubaugh evaporates

Joshua Blick and Jeff Blubaugh spent much of the primary election season linked arm-in-arm publicly, unified against opponent Craig Gabel in the race for the District 4 seat on the Wichita City Council.

Joshua Blick and Jeff Blubaugh spent much of the primary election season linked arm-in-arm publicly, unified against opponent Craig Gabel in the race for the District 4 seat on the Wichita City Council.

Blick finished first in the primary with 40 percent of the vote, followed by Blubaugh with 29 percent, Gabel with 24 percent and David Glover with 5 percent.

But primary election unity evaporated quickly. During a joint interview with The Eagle recently, Blubaugh went on the offensive moments after Blick touted the pair’s friendship.

Blubaugh noted his success as a real estate broker and accused Blick of being thrown to the ground by Wichita police as he was evicted from his foreclosed home — an allegation Blick denied.

“I’ve tried not to be negative at all, but I know you were evicted from your house. The neighbors have told me four police officers threw you on the ground,” Blubaugh said to Blick. “The reason I’m bringing that up is you’ve mentioned that you had foreclosure in the past and had trouble with jobs, and I think something the voters need to know is that how you’re going to serve the people. Are you going to handle public finances better than your own?”

“Actually, I’ve never had a foreclosure,” Blick shot back. “When I lost my job in 2010 before I ran against Michael O’Donnell (for the District 4 council seat, a race Blick lost), we were late on one of our payments. We did a loan modification on our payments and we’re up to date for the last two years. Just like any citizen who’s went through a job loss in the city of Wichita, they have to look at ways to make means for their family. If it’s cutting back for your family and not going to the movie theater or whatever, you look for ways to cut back on your financial.

“I’m not a big real estate developer or real estate agent who’s made $8 million. I live in a $50,000 house. I live in a section of Wichita that we don’t have all the extra luxuries in life, but we make ends meet and that’s what it takes for the city of Wichita.”

Blick, who runs a Wichita business linking young people with technology, offered to let Blubaugh look at his personal checkbook, then fired back again.

“To be able to put somebody down because they don’t make as much money as you make, I think is wrong, and we need to start focusing on the needs of the people,” he said.

Both men have had actions against them in Sedgwick County District Court.

Court records show a home foreclosure action was filed against Blick and his wife, Candace, on Oct. 8, 2010, by U.S. Bank National Association. A foreclosure sale was ordered on Jan. 8, 2011, and ultimately canceled on April 27 that year, an action typically following a loan modification in a foreclosure sale. There’s no evidence in court documents of any eviction notice.

Private detective Emery Goad confirmed to The Eagle that he evicted Blick in 2010 from a temporary home at 10910 W. Atlanta owned by Blick’s father, Lonnie Bosley. Goad said he forcibly took guns from Blick. Police responded; Goad said no arrests were made, and police spokesman Doug Nolte said the department takes no active role in evictions.

The eviction, Blick said, grew out of confusion between his father and him over when he would vacate the home, which was being sold.

“We were moving out already and my dad and I, we got confused about the date we were going to leave,” he said. “The gun thing, we were removing our possessions and the man (Goad) saw a gun case and got concerned.”

Bosley corroborated Blick’s account, saying he had provided Blick the house without any conditions and saying the incident was “blown totally out of proportion … a miscommunication.” He said he has no issues with Blick, but confirmed that he hired Goad to remove his son from the residence.

Blubaugh was the focus in July 2003 of a paternity suit that found him the father of a male child. He was ordered to pay $581 a month in child support and was given joint custody with visitation rights, arrangements that continue, he said.

Blubaugh acknowledged the paternity of the child when questioned by The Eagle. “What does this have to do with me running for office?” he asked.

Blubaugh said he’s been involved in the boy’s life since his birth. He said he was single when the child was born. He married his wife, Meghan, in 2006.

“I signed the birth certificate,” he said. “I’ve been there for his entire life. I’ve never not acknowledged he was my son.”

He said a paternity suit was filed because the mother “wanted child support. My income is greater than hers.”

Blick also has a history of driving-related infractions that have been reported before by The Eagle.

Blick said he accumulated a half-dozen speeding tickets that went unpaid when he was a teenager. Court records show he had his license suspended three times as a result of failing to pay the speeding tickets. The latest license suspension came in 2003, when he was stopped for speeding in Haysville. The case was appealed by Blick, according to court records, and the case was dismissed when Haysville officials failed to appear in Sedgwick County District Court.

Blick also was fined $235 in August 2008 for speeding at 1300 W. Kellogg.

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