Heated Voice Mail Deepens Brinkerhoff-Riley Controversy

Evansville City Council Vice President Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley left Council President John Friend a profanity laced voice mail following the May 12 council meeting.
The tension surrounding Evansville City Council Vice President Stephanie Brinkerhoff Riley, D-3rd Ward, is not letting up. The councilwoman recently came under fire for secretly recording a private meeting with officials from the State Board of Accounts. The subject of that meeting was the city's 2012 audit. Now another recording is adding to the controversy.

Brinkerhoff-Riley left Council President John Friend, D-5th Ward, a profanity laced voice mail following the May 12th meeting. IU Medical School Funding and the so-called "Good Neighbor Ordinance" took center stage on that particular night. Behind the scenes, tempers boiled over when a motion was made to put off the "Good Neighbor Ordinance" until the June meeting. It's an ordinance sponsored by Vice President Brinkerhoff-Riley. This is what she left on Friend's voice mail:

"Hi John. I'd tell you to call me back but you won't. So I'm gonna tell you something. Your blatant attempts to embarrass me tonight, by ignoring my motion, and moving on, and letting someone else make it. By allowing those two f***s that sit next to me to talk over me -- will not go unresponded to. I will take every opportunity over the next 18 months to return the favor and do it in council chambers. I do not believe you. I cannot believe that blatant f***ing s***. I mean the next time you can speak to me is when you are going to apologize for that. [click]"

Friend says Brinkerhoff-Riley did not apologize for the voice mail the next day. He says she "finally gave a half apology" to him when he played the voice mail in front of democrat council members when they caucused. He says it was this voice mail, coupled with threats Brinkerhoff-Riley allegedly made on a blog against Former Councilman Curt John, that made him realize he could no longer work alongside the councilwoman.

"You hear these things and it makes you a little concerned. Hence the reason I picked up the security in the council chambers," explained Friend. "And doggonit, you know, this thing is totally uncalled for and it really sickens me to know that I gotta sit down and deal with it and the council members gotta deal with it when we got so much we gotta deal with and we need to move on from there."

The council will hold an executive session Thursday at 12:10 p.m. to talk about Brinkerhoff-Riley's alleged misconduct, followed by a public vote to decide if she will continue to be council vice president. Friend says he would be very surprised if a majority of council members did not support stripping the councilwoman of the leadership role.

Those who serve as president and vice president of the council typically serve as representatives of the council in discussions with the city administration. Brinkerhoff-Riley would remain on the council and continue to serve the city's 3rd Ward. She has not returned our requests for comment.
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