MASON CITY – NorthIowaToday.com was contacted by two Mason City men late Thursday evening and Friday morning who say that councilman-elect Alex Kuhn threatened them. They say the incident started when Kuhn became annoyed at jokes one of the men was telling in a downtown Mason City bar Tuesday night after Kuhn’s election victory party.
One man wrote his account of the incident out in an email and sent it to our office. That account is farther below. He titled the email “Kuhn Assault.” He wishes to remain anonymous, saying he fears retribution. NorthIowaToday.com promised to honor his wish in this story and not publish his name. He will be called “Kenneth” in this story.
Both men who called were extremely distraught and say others witnessed the incident.
The second man, Mike Petersen of Mason City, contacted NorthIowaToday.com at 11:46pm Thursday night. The ensuing phone call told of an incident that took place at Eleven Lounge in downtown Mason City Thursday evening where three friends, “Kenneth”, Petersen, and another man entered at about 11pm.
Petersen says they sat down at the bar and ordered drinks when soon thereafter Alex Kuhn approached Kenneth and said, “What’s your name? You need to stop acting like an a**hole.”
Petersen says that Kuhn proceeded to insult and berate Kenneth as Kuhn told Kenneth that he did not like the jokes Kenneth had been telling Tuesday night at the gentlemen’s lounge at the Historic Park Inn.
Kenneth was indeed at that lounge telling jokes Tuesday night after Kuhn’s election party. The jokes Kenneth told were loud and crude; he admits this. “That’s who I am,” he said.
Kuhn was there Tuesday night with Mayor Eric Bookmeyer and two other men, sitting nearby, sipping drinks. Kuhn apparently overheard the jokes but said nothing; he sat quietly with Bookmeyer and the other two men, eventually paid his tab, and left.
That leads to the incident Thursday night.
According to witnesses, Kuhn did not take kindly to the jokes, and approached Kenneth as he sat at the bar at Eleven Lounge Thursday night and confronted him.
“Kenneth” says he was “cornered” by Kuhn. He told NorthIowaToday.com that Kuhn said “You walk around this town like you are a big swinging *ick. You think you are f**king awesome because your parents gave money to the Park Inn.” Kenneth told NorthIowaToday.com that his parents never gave any money to the Park Inn Hotel.
Kenneth says the rhetoric from Kuhn escalated as the two “discussed” the jokes that Kenneth had told two nights earlier at the lounge. “I don’t know you, and I don’t want to know you,” Kenneth says Kuhn told him.
Kenneth says Kuhn stuck his hand out and said, “just shake my hand and admit you are wrong,” to which Kenneth says he refused to shake Kuhn’s hand.
Kuhn eventually left “Kenneth” alone, only to return a short time later and start again. This is when Petersen claims he intervened and asked Kuhn to go away. Petersen says that Kuhn then said “go f**k yourself.”
Petersen told NorthIowaToday.com that Kuhn said “you have no idea the work my company has put into this town. You don’t know your place in this town.”
Petersen said late Friday afternoon that Kuhn did indeed make what he considered a threatening move towards him and that the two exchanged words about a fight outside the bar.
Peterson says Eleven management then asked Petersen to leave the bar, which he then did.
Also Friday afternoon, NorthIowaToday.com was contacted by the third man, Derreck Tell of Mason City, who corroborated the story told by “Kenneth” and Petersen.
Tell’s account of the story went this way:
“The three of us sat down at the bar. Kuhn came over and introduced himself. Kuhn said you are (name withheld), right? I don’t appreciate the jokes you were telling.”
Tell says “Kenneth” then apologized to Kuhn if he had offended him.
Tell said that Kenneth wanted nothing to do with the conversation, and tried to ignore Kuhn.
“Kuhn looked like he didn’t care what anyone thought, he wasn’t that drunk,” Tell said. “I really wanted to kick you in the teeth so bad,” Tell says he heard Kuhn say to “Kenneth.”
Tell said that he then moved farther away from the conversation because he was tired of hearing it.
NorthIowaToday.com did speak with Alex Kuhn about this incident.
He denies most everything that the three men say happened. He admits to being at Eleven Lounge Thursday night and approaching “Kenneth” about the jokes he had told two nights earlier. Kuhn also says that the three men were “being obnoxious and drunk” Thursday night. Kuhn says he made his approach because he wants downtown Mason City to be a friendly place and he wanted to tell the men to clean it up.
Tell told NorthIowaToday.com that the men each had about “a beer” each at the gentlemen’s lounge at the Historic Park Inn Thursday night before heading to Eleven Lounge.
Audio of the incident was submitted to NorthIowaToday.com. A man can be heard saying “I wanted to slap you upside the face.” Other vulgarities and lewd comments were also made. It is difficult to tell who is saying what words, but the two voices are distinguishable.
Alex Kuhn phoned NorthIowaToday.com multiple times Friday asking that this story not be published. He left Publisher Matt Marquardt with these words:
“This is not news. This proves you are nothing more than a tabloid. The rest of the city council have said they will never talk to you and I see why.”
Information submitted to NorthIowaToday.com by “Kenneth”
The night of Thursday, November 10, 2011 was an interesting night to say the least. I was enjoying a beer at Eleven Nightclub when I was approached by councilman-elect Alex Kuhn. He immediately began verbally attacking me. He was unhappy because I had told a joke two nights earlier at another establishment that apparently offended him. I kindly thanked him for his input, and apologized if I had offended him. He was persistent, taking personal shots against me, claiming that I was a “drunk asshole” and should not be allowed in certain establishments in town. I explained to the intoxicated councilman-elect that this issue would not be able to be resolved and that if he had any further issues, that he should take it up with management of these establishments.
Councilman-elect Kuhn, who was extremely aggravated and intoxicated continued to verbally attack, not only me, but my family as well (however he continually claimed he did not even know my name.) I told him numerous times that I no longer wished to continue the conversation. He continued to tell me that he wanted to “knock me out” and to “kick my teeth in.” At this point I felt threatened by the 6’5” Kuhn, and was hoping that he would leave my personal space. Knowing that there was no reason to instigate the situation any further, as he was drunk and relentless, I simply stopped talking to him and ignored his further insults, which continued for an additional five-10 minutes.
It took every ounce of courage not to become violent with said councilman-elect. Eventually he retreated to another section of the bar, with the coaxing of management. Another patron at the bar said to me that he had maybe purchased Kuhn too many drinks earlier in the evening and apologized for that fact that he was so drunk. Approximately 30 minutes later Kuhn returned and continued to attack my character, although still claiming not to know who I was. One of my friends attempted to diffuse the situation, to which Councilman-elect Kuhn said, “Go fuck yourself,” and to, “Go fuck the sidewalk.” Knowing that the only peaceful solution to the situation was to remove ourselves from the establishment, my friends and I chose to leave.
I chose to take the high road, to leave the bar and not to file a police report. He was not worth dragging my good name through the mud, which is also why I am writing this anonymously. However, I think it would be an injustice to the citizens of Mason City to not hear this story. I am not seeking anything, nor do I have anything to gain from this situation. I am not asking for his removal from the council, I simply want people to know the real Alex Kuhn that they recently elected to represent them.
Video: Contains course language and loud music. Video supplied by witnesses that say Alex Kuhn made threats.