Bexley City Councilman Tim Madison is facing possible disciplinary action after he engaged in what one councilman decried as “unacceptable” and “menacing” behavior toward a resident.
The possibility of punishment was announced last week by President Lori Ann Feibel as city council voted unanimously to make public a confidential report from City Attorney Marc Fishel on Madison’s actions.
The report detailed an incident during a break in a Nov. 13 council meeting, in which Madison confronted Bexley resident Nate Caplin in the City Hall parking lot, calling him a “gutless troll” three times.
At a council meeting Dec. 4, Caplin and two other residents shared their thoughts about Madison’s actions.
Debbie Clary, said Madison’s behavior was “jaw dropping” and called on him to resign. If city council doesn’t discipline Madison, Clary told The Columbus Dispatch later, it would be “an outrage.”
Madison on Dec. 4 addressed the Caplin matter and the other incidents that became public in the report. He said he understood addressing a resident outside city hall was “inappropriate and could have an unintentional consequence of chilling resident participation at council.”
“For that I apologize to city council, the city of Bexley and Bexley residents,” he said.
Caplin had spoke during the Nov. 13 meeting against a bill Madison proposed that would’ve banned short-term rentals like AirBnB in Bexley. Madison said comments Caplin made on Facebook about Madison being secretive during the legislative process lacked evidence.
Security footage obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request shows Madison followed Caplin out of city hall during a break in the meeting. According to a witness in the report, Madison angrily confronted Caplin as Caplin started to walk back to city hall.
Security footage shows Madison stepping in front of Caplin. Madison told the city attorney in the report that he didn’t try to block Caplin.
The city attorney’s report also highlighted an incident involving Madison and Paul Miller, a member of Bexley’s Jeffrey Mansion Refresh Committee. The two men got into a disagreement during a meeting of the committee a few months ago. Afterward, Madison approached Miller and said, “You are a son of a bitch,” the report stated.
Under Bexley law, city council has the authority to discipline members, up to possible removal.
Before this week’s meeting, Feibel said council was considering all its options, but no immediate action against Madison was planned because the council wanted to discuss the matter as a group. “This is a big deal and we want to take our time with it,” she said.
At the Nov. 27 council meeting, Councilman Steve Keyes said the behavior outlined in the report was “unacceptable for a city official,” describing it as “bullying, harassing and menacing and intimidating.”
City Councilwoman Monique Lampke said during that same meeting that she’s concerned Madison’s behavior won’t stop because she experienced it firsthand on Nov. 7, 2017, the night she was elected to council.
Lampke said Madison told her that night at an election watch party, “You are a nasty women and you have run a horrible, horrible campaign.” Feibel, who was there, confirmed what occurred in a Dispatch interview.
“I think incivility, shouting and swearing, and nasty insults and physical intimidation and following a resident really have no place in our city government,” Lampke said.