Secretary of state investigating MECA member's voter registration - Omaha.com
Published Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10:01 am / Updated at 8:57 pm
Secretary of state investigating MECA member's voter registration

Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale is investigating the voter registration of MECA board member Jamie Gutierrez Mora.

Gutierrez Mora, who was appointed to the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority Board in March, has been under scrutiny about the address she listed as her home on her résumé and on her Douglas County voter registration forms, filed Dec. 28.

Gutierrez Mora said she lived in a South Omaha rental property owned by her husband.

But Omaha City Attorney Paul Kratz concluded in his own investigation that Gutierrez Mora actually lives in a Bellevue home that she has owned for several years. Kratz said that means Gutierrez Mora does not meet the MECA requirement that its board members be “resident electors” of Douglas County.

Kratz said his investigation was prompted by a World-Herald article raising questions about her residency.

Gale said Pat McPherson of Omaha filed the written complaint with the Secretary of State's Office.

“My office has been and will continue to gather material from the news media, public sources and from other sources, with a primary focus on whether Ms. Gutierrez met the requirements of residency in Douglas County on Dec. 28, 2012, the date she filed her voter registration under oath with the Douglas County Election Commission,” Gale said in a statement.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said the investigation was a “high priority” for Gale.

She said Gale told her that Kratz had written “an excellent legal opinion and that he concurred,” though he would do his own research.

Gutierrez Mora is the owner of a South Omaha-based janitorial business, Midwest Maintenance Co., that holds one of MECA's largest contracts. She has declined to publicly discuss where she lives and did not return a call for comment Friday.

Stothert plans to meet Monday with Gutierrez Mora.

The mayor said she is troubled by the idea that Gutierrez Mora had not been truthful about where she lives but would reserve judgment on the issue until the two meet.

Stothert said she disagrees with Council President Pete Festersen's suggestion to revise residency rules for MECA board members.

“I do not agree with changing eligibility for one person,” she said, adding that she didn't like the idea of expanding eligibility to include people from outside Douglas County.

“The citizens of Omaha voted on a ballot to form MECA, to build the CenturyLink Center, not the citizens of Sarpy County,” she said.

MECA board members can be removed by the mayor and the City Council, but five of seven council members said this week that they back Gutierrez Mora and want to see the residency rules changed.

The MECA board can also act independently to remove board members. Board Chairman John Lund said this week that his group will not take action until the city has come to a formal conclusion on the matter.

When she registered to vote in Douglas County, Gutierrez Mora signed an oath that states: “I live in the State of Nebraska at the address provided in this application.”

The oath says applicants who knowingly provide false information are guilty of election falsification, a felony.

Contact the writer: Erin Golden

erin.golden@owh.com    |   402-444-1543    |  

Erin covers the Omaha City Council and the Mayor's Office.

1 wounded in shooting near 30th, X Streets
State Department moves to delay Keystone XL pipeline decision
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
High court denies death row appeal of cult leader convicted of murder
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Police seek public's help in finding an armed man
Saturday forecast opens window for gardening; Easter egg hunts look iffy on Sunday
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Last day of 2014 Legislature: Praise, passage of a last few bills and more on mountain lions
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
A voice of experience: Ex-gang member helps lead fight against Omaha violence
Church is pressing its case for old Temple Israel site
OPPD board holding public forum, open house May 7
The thrill of the skill: Omaha hosts statewide contest for students of the trades
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »