SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has confirmed Owen “Butch” Morgan, the former chair of the St. Joseph County Democrat Party, is currently hospitalized at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Sources tell RNM that Morgan suffered a severe stroke. Hospital officials confirmed Morgan is a patient. However, staff would not give details about how serious his condition may be.
Morgan was the St. Joseph County Democrat Party Chair for years before he was convicted of two counts of conspiracy in 2013, stemming from a scheme to forge petition signatures in 2008. You can read more about the case in a South Bend Tribune article here.
Despite the conviction, St. Joseph County Democrat financial statements show the party currently owes Morgan $18,000 for “expenses covered.”
“It doesn’t look good.” Morgan told RNM’s Clifton French when discussing the optics of the debt in August of 2021. “It’s from a long time ago.”
Morgan said the debt is from about a decade ago when he was the party chair. He claims the party was going through some tough financial times and someone needed to come forward with some money for the mortgage and other expenses at the party headquarters.
“I’m not using it for influence.” He said. “They don’t have anything I want.”
However, Morgan did say he does want to get paid back.
“I would like to get the money back.” He said. “If they’d just pay $200 per month I’d be happy with that.”
Democrat Party Leadership in 2021 was not as happy to address the issue.
“I’ll have you call our attorney. But, I’m not going to give you that name right now and I’m not going to give you their number until I’ve given them a head’s up that you’re starting this ridiculous investigation.” Dem Vice Chair Debbie Ladyga-Block said in 2021 before refusing to answer any questions and hanging up the phone.
RNM reached out to current party chair Diana Hess for comment on Morgan’s condition and the party’s debt with him. As of publication, we have not received a response.
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