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Closed Door Meeting Raises Questions Days Before Major Vote

The Evansville City Council is days away from voting on the city's budget. Big items from salary cuts, creating new positions, and funding the proposed Robert's Park are all on the table. Six council members gather for a meeting behind closed doors. They say the conversation was strictly about the political party.

The Evansville City Council is days away from voting on the city's budget. Big items from salary cuts, creating new positions, and funding the proposed Robert's Park are all on the table. Six council members gather for a meeting behind closed doors. They say the conversation was strictly about the political party.

We hear what each member had to say, so close to the budget vote. There wasn't anything illegal about this meeting. Council members there say it was a political meeting, but two members of their party weren't at that meeting.

The meeting took place at the office of Evansville City Council Attorney, Scott Danks. Six of the nine City Council members were there including: Dan Adams, Conor O'Daniel, John Friend, Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley, Al Lindsey, and Connie Robinson.

About forty-five minutes into the meeting, Council President, Connie Robinson, steps outside but says she's not there for a meeting. "I'm not here for that. He's my attorney, my personal attorney." Again, Robinson tells us she is meeting her personal attorney.

About thirty minutes later she returns with a different answer. "What it is, it's a political strategy. It's when the majority of a certian party come together and strategizes politically," says Robinson. We asked other City Council members the same question, ironically, we got the same answer. "We just had a political caucus, that's all," says Dan Adams. "We had a political caucus. It's just a caucus. I don't really have much to comment about it. It's about politics. It's about our local politics," says Al Lindsey. "It's all just about the strategies and deals like that, nothing that would relate to the budget or deals like that," says Jon Friend.

Eyewitness News is asking this question: If this closed door meeting was a caucus among democrats discussing political strategy, where were the other two democrats on City Council, Missy Mosby and Jonathan Weaver?

"I don't have any idea about that. I was asked to come down and talk. I just assumed that they would do it," says John Friend. Days away from a vote on a critical city budget, raises questions about today's meeting. "I understand anytime people get behind these closed doors, they all think the worst, they do. There is nothing wrong within the law to do that, and I understand why we need the sunshine laws, because you can't be cutting deals like that behind closed doors. That's not happening here. I can assure on that. Everything is fine," says Friend.

We talked to one of the democrats not at this meeting, Councilman, Jonathan Weaver. Weaver says 'I had no clue they were meeting. My  focus is on moving the city forward, not strategizing other things.'

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