SOUTH BEND, Ind. — St. Joseph County GOP Chair Tyler Gillean is calling for the resignation of St. Joseph County Democrat Party Vice Chair Don Westerhausen after the Democrat leader partnered with a convicted violent felon and alleged child molester to intimidate a local mother and her 7 children.
In a press release issued yesterday, Gillean stated the following:
The St. Joseph County Republican Party condemns recent actions taken by the St. Joseph County Democratic Party and its Vice Chair, Dr. Don Westerhausen, which resulted in a violent felon and alleged child molester being sent to the home of a political opponent, County Councilwoman and mother of 7, Amy Drake. This is an unacceptable form of intimidation that no one should have to endure, especially not a mother and her children.
The Republican Party believes that everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their homes, and no one should have to experience the kind of harassment that was inflicted upon Amy Drake and her family. We demand the leadership of the Democratic Party to apologize to Amy Drake and her family for their involvement in this matter. We also call on her county council colleague’s Diana Hess, Mark Catanzarite, Rafael Morton and Bryan Tanner to disavow the association of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party’s vice chair, Don Westerhausen, with a violent felon.
The Republican Party recognizes that the individual in question, Vernado Malone, has a long criminal history that includes multiple arrests for child molestation, domestic battery, and other serious offenses. We believe that individuals with such a history should not be brought to the home of a mother with 7 children. It is disgraceful that Democrat vice chair Don Westerhausen would associate with this kind of an individual. This type of behavior is yet another reminder why voters rejected Westerhausen for three straight elections.
We stand with Amy and her family, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure their safety and well-being. The St. Joseph County Republican Party urges all political parties to reject intimidation tactics and focus on constructive dialogue and engagement. If this were my vice chair, I would demand and receive his resignation and I call on chairwoman Diana Hess to do the same.
St. Joseph County Democrat Party Vice Chair Don Westerhausen and his wife partnered up with a convicted violent felon and twice arrested child molester to harass and intimidate a mother and her 7 children outside of her home on Thursday morning. Westerhausen’s wife even hugged the career criminal during the demonstration outside of County Councilwoman Amy Drake’s Granger house.
The event, which was organized by the St. Joseph County Democrat Party in partnership with the South Bend NAACP and Justice for Michiana, occurred at 6:30 in the morning as Drake would be preparing to get her children ready for school. The small crowd, which included the violent felon/child molester even temporarily blocked access of a school bus that was in the neighborhood to pick up children.
Justice for Michiana is founded, owned and operated by career criminal Vernado Malone. Malone stood in front of the crowd with NAACP President Trina Robinson to address the media regarding their intentions for their intimidating and threatening demonstration. While WSBT and ABC57 were both there to cover the demonstration, REAL News Michiana was the only news outlet to ask a single question regarding the intimidation tactics using a career felon.
Malone has been in and out of prison for his entire adult life. In St. Joseph County alone, he’s been arrested for Child Molestation twice, Domestic Battery 7 times, Criminal Trespassing 3 times, Battery twice, Illegal Use of a Police Radio, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Criminal Mischief twice, Forgery and Theft. He’s currently attempting to have that criminal history expunged.
Malone also has a lengthy federal criminal history, which includes stealing approximately $100,000 from the American Red Cross.
In 1999, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for credit card fraud. He was ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution.
In 2005, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aiding and Abetting Forfeiture Allegation. He was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
In 2015, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. He was ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution.
Malone currently has multiple protection orders against him as well. In fact, he was arrested earlier this year for violating one of those protection orders held by a woman who works in the County City Building.
While there are currently two active protection orders against him, there have been a total of 7 protection orders held by women to protect themselves and their families from Malone dating back to 2013.
Malone is also currently under investigation by the Indiana Attorney General regarding a scheme in which he took and shared hundreds of pictures of nude bodies of the recently deceased. His non-profit, Justice for Michiana, was originally founded to allegedly help the families of homicide victims with funeral costs. Multiple families filed lawsuits against Malone, Justice for Michiana and his partner funeral home, Alford’s Mortuary. Alford’s Mortuary settled the case. It is still open and active against Malone.
Malone has also used his non-profit to attempt to coerce women into having sex with him. On two different occasions, he has pressured single mothers in need for sexual favors in return for assistance from Justice for Michiana.
WESTERHAUSEN AND THE DEMOCRAT ACTIVISTS
St. Joseph County Democrat Party Vice Chair Don Westerhausen stood behind Malone and NAACP President Trina Robinson during the demonstration. Westerhausen attempted to hide his face with a sign. However, RNM managed to get a picture of him. RNM also got video of Westerhausen’s wife hugging the felon.
Westerhausen and his wife have been obsessed with attacking Drake for no apparent reason, both in person and on social media.
Just last month, Westerhausen went on an angry tirade against multiple women at a Board of Health meeting, including Councilwoman Drake. A three time failed political candidate himself, Dr. Westerhausen has a well documented temper that allegedly lost him his job at Elkhart General hospital several years ago.
In his speech during public comment at the April 19th meeting, Westerhausen first went off on the newest Board of Health member, Jill VanBruaene, by questioning her credentials and dismissing her as a professional working woman. While VanBrauene is a relator by trade, state law allows and promotes two Board of Health members to be outside of the healthcare profession in order to represent the average citizen in Board of Health decisions. During his comments, Westerhausen ignores the state statute (and the purpose behind it) in order to attempt to humiliate and bully VanBruaene out of the appointed position.
“I have several questions about her appointment.” Westerhausen stated in a dismissive manner about the highly regarded female citizen before lying about her appointment. “A realtor is not listed as a quote ‘qualified person to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.’”
Westerhausen then went off on Drake in his angry tirade, claiming she was somehow responsible for VanBruaene’s appointment to the board, even though appointments are made by the Board of County Commissioners.
“My only conclusion is that her appointment is a coordinated effort to eviscerate the Board of Health by (Councilwoman) Amy Drake and her supporters.” Westerhausen falsely stated, while providing no evidence for his claims. “I feel like Ms. Drake is having the Board of Health members do her dirty work as she tries to dismantle county government.”
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