Humboldt city council reprimands mayor

HUMBOLDT – Humboldt City Council members scolded Mayor Walter Jensen on Monday for his recent brush with the law, and said they would continue to keep tabs on his legal situation.

Jensen was charged with second-degree criminal mischief in May after he reportedly used a key to scratch the paint on another man’s vehicle. He has agreed to pay $1,500 in restitution, according to online court records.

At the beginning of a short council meeting Monday evening, Councilman John Sleiter read a statement voicing the governing body’s displeasure with Jensen’s actions.

”We, the members of the Humboldt City Council, hereby publicly express our strong disapproval of the actions of Mayor Jensen with respect to the criminal charges currently pending against him in Polk County,” the council members wrote in the statement. ”His conduct has put the city of Humboldt and the City Council in an embarrassing position. We hope that the mayor will take a hard look at whether this situation compromises his ability to effectively carry out the duties of his office.”

”The citizens of Humboldt should be aware that the City Council is mindful of its legal position with respect to this issue, and will continue to monitor the situation,” the council members wrote in the statement.

Councilmen Bret Davis, Joel Goodell, Darrell Rusher, Dan Scholl and Sleiter declined to comment on the statement following the meeting.

”I had no problem with it,” Jensen said when asked for his reaction to the statement.

The mayor declined to talk about the situation which led to the criminal charge against him.

Jensen said he has received many phone calls and letters from people who support him. He said when he went to work on Monday, he found letters of support stuffed under the door to his office.

”I feel like I do my job to the best of my ability,” he said. ”If I didn’t feel that way, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

The incident that resulted in Jensen being arrested happened at about 9:30 p.m. April 24 in Polk County. Jensen had gone to the home of a former girlfriend, Jenifer Wasson, to pick up a Chevrolet Corvette that belongs to him.

When he arrived at her home, he sent Wasson some text messages. She did not respond to them immediately. She told police she was away from her phone and didn’t see the messages.

One text message, according to police, indicated that Jensen was giving her 10 minutes or it would ”start getting uglier.”

Wasson told police that security camera footage showed Jensen going up to the garage and attempting to open the door at least three times.

That footage reportedly shows Jensen using a key to scratch the paint on the hood and driver’s side door of a truck belonging to Joshua Stubbs, Wasson’s fiance.

Wasson eventually went outside and opened the garage door. Jensen then loaded the car on a trailer and left at about 10:30 p.m.

According to online court records, Jensen was arrested by West Des Moines police on May 27. He posted a $5,000 bond and pleaded not guilty.

His case was referred to the Victim Offender Restitution Program. During a July 24 session of that program, Jensen agreed to pay Stubbs $1,500. The cost of the damage to Stubbs’ vehicle was initially listed by police as $1,128.71.

Court records show that Polk County District Court Judge Carla Schemmel issued an order to approve the restitution on July 25.

Stubbs told The Messenger previously that the charge against Jensen will be dropped if he pays the restitution. Online court records don’t include any indication that the charge had been dropped as of Monday evening.