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Ludwig apology letter was just a draft

Monday, July 28, 2008

Note: Click on the links above to read the draft letter attributed to David Ludwig and other documentation.

The apology letter was a draft.

According to Cape Girardeau County Auditor David Ludwig's attorney, Al Lowes, and deputy auditor Virgie Koeppel, the unsigned letter couldn't have been written by Ludwig.

"He never spelled my name right," Koeppel said. "And the address is wrong."

Her name is correctly spelled; the address, 1 Court St., should have read 1 Barton Square.

The letter, an apology to Koeppel from Ludwig saying he would stop looking at images of scantily clad women, never reached Koeppel. She first saw an unsigned copy on today. Earlier today, the Southeast Missourian erroneously attributed the words in the letter to Ludwig, who didn't actually write the draft.

Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones said the letter was written as a sample and given to Ludwig on June 18, 2007, when the commissioners and the county's prosecuting attorney, Morley Swingle privately confronted Ludwig for using his county computer to view scantily clad women while in the office with his two female deputies.

Lowes pointed out that Ludwig's middle initial is incorrect and the text is unlike Ludwig's writing.

The draft letter apologized in writing to longtime assistant Virgie Koeppel for downloading photos of a bikini-clad Pamela Anderson during work hours and promised it would not happen again, according to documents made public today at the Cape Girardeau County Commission.

"I acknowledge to you that it was wrong of me to be looking at bathing suit photos at work during office hours, especially in your presence," the draft letter said. "It was not just a violation of the County's Internet policy, but was also insensitive of me."

In an accompanying document, signed by Ludwig and all three commissioners, Ludwig acknowledged printing "seminude" photos of the buxom actress on his office printer. The document said Ludwig's actions amounted to sexual harassment, especially when taken together with confirmation he had been viewing other similar documents and photos on his office computer.

"Mr. Ludwig was confronted with these allegations and the ramifications of possible sexual harassment charges to him personally and the County," the document reads. "He was informed this was a very serious matter that puts the county at risk of litigation. Mr. Ludwig was also informed that any future violation of this nature would constitute grounds for a request of his resignation from office. Mr. Ludwig stated that actions of this nature would never happen again."

The draft letter, signed document and a memo from Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle regarding the commission's options for keeping the issue out of the public record, are dated June 18, 2007. They were released at the commission meeting by District 2 Commissioner Jay Purcell in advance of a discussion of whether to seek Sunshine Law training for county officeholders and board members.

In his memo, Swingle said any written apology filed with the commission would be a public document and that a closed session to deal with a personnel matter would, in due course, become public.

The documents were not made public, despite requests from the Southeast Missourian, until this morning.

Ludwig has not been at work since April, claiming illness related to complications from four operations since Dec. 27. He left the county administration building April 17 following a closed-door meeting with the three county commissioners and Swingle. At that meeting, Ludwig was accused of violating the promises made in the letters released today and commissioners demanded he resign. Ludwig refused.

Since that April 17 meeting, the legality of holding a closed session to handle issues regarding an elected official has been questioned and is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Purcell against the commission.

For updates, check back at semissourian.com or read Tuesday's Southeast Missourian.

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Nude pictures? Yeah, that would be work inappropriate.

Bathing suit pictures? Probably still not quite work appropriate, but certainly not "sexual harassment". Any woman who feels offended or violated by that really needs to take another look. Was it something specifically against her? Did it involve her in any way? "Sexual Harassment" is not a term to be used lightly, and I feel like it is here.

I'm not missing something, am I?

-- Posted by katj85 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 12:14 PM

I guess they can take the gun away from Ludwig's head now. And, by the way, the bathing suit pictures are the only thing that's public.

-- Posted by B_O_B on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 12:47 PM

Someone typed you up a nice letter and typed your name to it. Now, sign it Mr. Ludwig.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 1:15 PM

I'm inclined to agree with the others, here---seems to be a few pieces still missing. Indeed, Ludwig IS in violation of his position, and should be terminated. As a matter of fact, the whole crew plus the commissioners should be thrown in the mix, as well---just to be sure.

Yeah, this "crap" has always went on for years on end, within the "publicly-secure" confines of county offices. And will most likely continue to do so, with any future "tenants".

Providing our long-time administrative assistant really IS the driving force behind this sudden "rally of ethics"---is/was it REALLY worth your "15-minutes of fame" for this? Sure hope so, 'cause these sort of accusations, real or imagined, have a tendency to backfire, even for those in very secure positions...

-- Posted by donknome-2 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 1:31 PM

Ok, so when are we really going to find out what's going on here?

-- Posted by TommyStix on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 1:39 PM

"Buxon." Ha ha, oh that's great. I love when these types of matters have to be dealt with officially. Nicely done. Maybe Ludwig wasn't being so professional, but he's not the only one. That's for sure. I think we all have witnessed worse.

-- Posted by Chief Broom1 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 1:41 PM

Scuse me, typo police. I meant "buxom."

-- Posted by Chief Broom1 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 1:42 PM

I'm having trouble finding the link to the letter written to Pamela Anderson for including her in this farce.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 1:57 PM

i would like to know more about tom allen firing from woodland school for involvment with students

-- Posted by rollover6117 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 3:34 PM



-- Posted by mom4 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 3:38 PM

Tom Allen's escapades are no diferent than those of Paul Kueper and his daughter. Swept under the rug.

-- Posted by rollover6117 on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 3:41 PM

This has to be the most stupid article ever printed! Nobody is perfect and I am betting that any of us sometime in our life has done something like this. If the picture had been of a nude person or a minor then you have a different outlook on it. Ask this woman if she has ever shown her husband or boyfriend's picture to some one.Maybe he was in a swimsuit. Any different?

-- Posted by tacobandit on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 4:57 PM

This chicken dinner newspaper spashed a breaking news banner all over the website this morning and I was thinking OMG, something big is happening in the Cape town, then the next glance revealed more of the same ole chicken dinner crap that gets fed to us on a daily basis. Here's my thought - lay off Ludwig - it's so obvious that this is nothing more than political mumble-jumble when there are probably much more serious offenses being committed by other office holders. As for the journalism - I'm seeing this more and more - no digging to get to the real story. NO investigative reporting, and no real news being reported that start with the "who, what, when, where, why, how" lead paragraph.

-- Posted by Beaker on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 5:03 PM

With any luck, Pamela Anderson's people will hear about this and she will come to Cape in a bikini, strut through the courthouse then plant a big kiss on him at center stage of the SEMO fair. Inside Entertainment Edition Tonight can send a crew so that every hillbilly who tried but didn't get their mug in Killshot can have a second chance to get on TV! And while they're here they can do a big expose on corruption in small town government. Set your DVR!

-- Posted by Duh... on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 5:50 PM

This is breaking news of interest to roughly 0.00001 percent of the Southeast Missouri readership. Obviously a slow news day.

-- Posted by jamiehall on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 5:58 PM

There is nothing more pathetic than a man long past his youth using the internet to download pics of women in bathing suits. Good gracious, no one even calls them that anymore. It should be a matter between him and his wife if she wants to tolerate such behavior. I'd hardly call it sexual harrassment in the office place. What does concern me, though, is that he was wasting time doing so at the taxpayers' expense.

-- Posted by BABE on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 6:41 PM

This is breaking news of concern give me a break, c'mon Missourian report real news.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 6:43 PM

Wow really cutting edge reporting here..sounds more like an attempt by purcell to use the media for his own publicity. I notice the article writer's name is strangly missing from the byline...

-- Posted by J_bob on Tue, Jul 29, 2008, at 12:26 PM

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