On May 14 and 15, Marine Corps veteran Nick Haupricht arranged for Vietnam-era pin-up girl Chris Noel to be keynote speaker at dinner banquets at Oregon’s Dunsberger American Legion Post and Northwood VFW Post 2984.
Haupricht says there was another event that was supposed to happen that weekend, but did not.
On May 16, a ceremony was planned to commemorate a section of a WWII Monument granite being brought to Toledo from a quarry in New England. Noel was to be present, along with other community and political leaders, including Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Gary Wetzel.
Haupricht was also expecting 7,000 to 9,000 motorcyclists, but the event was cancelled. On September 17, Haupricht filed a lawsuit against U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur claiming he was “misguided” by her staff.
Haupricht is seeking over $3,400 in Toledo Municipal Court for money he spent to organize, process applications, send fliers to over 400 motorcycle clubs, and to advertise the event. That includes $1,405 Haupricht said he spent on advertising to inform the public the event was cancelled.
It began on December 8, 2009 when Rep. Kaptur sent a letter to Haupricht appointing him chairman of the event. It placed him in charge of transportation and temporary storage of the granite until placement at a permanent site.
The granite stone is the first part of a memorial to someday be pieced together at the site of a new VA Clinic on Detroit Avenue. The memorial is made of four pieces, each one 11 feet, seven inches, approximately 30 inches high and six inches thick.
“When it’s all put together it’s nine foot, eight inches high and has a saying by (General Dwight) Eisenhower that he said to the 101st (Airborne) the night before D-Day,” Haupricht said.
Haupricht was also selling one foot-by-one foot paver stones for the memorial, which he says would have paid for the project.
When he received the letter from Kaptur’s office announcing the unveiling was cancelled, Haupricht said he was stunned. The letter from Steve Katich, Kaptur’s chief of staff, states that any activities concerning the memorial be suspended until the construction of the VA Clinic, which is on a standstill, are commenced.
“I’m out $3,400 that I would like to get back because I followed directions. What he did was he threw a wrench into my whole works. He went behind my back, he went to the stone quarry, and he told the guy that everything was over, everything was done. We’re not going to accept the stone at this time,” Haupricht alleged.
“I still brought in Chris Noel. We still had the dinner at the American Legion post, and then we had a dinner at the Northwood post. The first dinner went off, the second dinner went off, and the third dinner (planned for VFW Post 606 on Alexis Avenue) was cancelled by Marcy Kaptur’s office, but they deny it,” his allegations continue.
“I had everything done except for the port-a-potties and the dumpsters on both ends. I even had the governor coming. In two days, I was going to meet with the president of the University of Toledo to have him come to be a speaker,” Haupricht added.
Rep. Kaptur’s spokesman, Steve Fought, says Kaptur will fight the lawsuit. Fought told The Press Haupricht’s lawsuit is without merit.
Fought says Kaptur has “plenty of good things to say” about Haupricht and his humanitarian efforts directed towards helping veterans. However, Fought says, Haupricht overstepped his bounds by spending money not authorized.
Haupricht said the whole weekend discourages him from continuing fundraising efforts.
“This whole function would have paid for itself, but because they had never seen anything like this in Toledo, Ohio, well, ‘You can’t do that,’” Haupricht said. “We did this every week when I worked for Easyriders magazine. We would pull anywhere from $400,000 to a million dollars, and I come back to this town and the best they can come up with is a $7 spaghetti fundraiser.”
As a result, Haupricht says he became a campaign volunteer for Republican Rich Iott, who is running against Kaptur, a Democrat, for the 9th Congressional District in the upcoming November election. Haupricht says he has tried for months to talk with Kaptur, but has not been able to reach her.
“Of course, I’m going to join the other side. I’m doing it because I have no congressional representation at this time. In 1984, Marcy told me, ‘I am of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ She does not represent me at this time. I cannot get a hold of her and the office will not return my calls,” Hauprict said.
“Back in the 80s and 90s, I worked hand-in-hand with Marcy on POW issues, prayer services, but today Marcy is not the Marcy she was of the 80s and 90s. I can’t talk to her, but I’m still helping veterans,” Haupricht added.