Who Was Wrong in Nasty Email Exchange Between GOP Senator and Wildwood Resident?

The Riverfront Times recounted the exchange after the Wildwood man shared his email exchange with Missouri State Sen. Brian Nieves.

UPDATE: With a link to Bart Cohn's comments to Eureka-Wildwood Patch on Facebook.

Missouri State Sen. Brian Nieves hit the headlines of the Riverfront Times alternative newspaper this week after it revealed the details of a nasty email exchange the senator had with Wildwood man Bart Cohn.

You can judge for yourself who you think was in the wrong in the exchange.

Nieves, a Republican whose 26th district includes parts of West St. Louis County (including Wildwood) and Franklin County, received this email from Cohn, who was apparently on a mass email list from Nieves' office: "Take me off your mailing list. Freak."

The exchange started there and escalated. , responded to ask if Cohn was "incapable of communicating in a way that common, decent people do," according to the exchange published in the RFT.

Cohn's emails said he "despised" the senator and chided Nieves to "act like a big boy." Nieves in turn called Cohn a "troll," and accused him of harassing him.

UPDATE: Bart Cohn responded in the comments below and also about the episode on our Facebook page. 

Take a look for yourself and tell us what you think of the exchange. 

Travis Bickle April 17, 2013 at 05:28 PM
I want to leave one more comment. As a resident of this community I received the same letter to constituents that mr. cohn received from Mr. Nieves. What made me angry was that it was the same day as the Boston marathon bombing. Check your e mail. Mr. Nieves made NO mention of the children and runners blown up that day. He was so proud of his dogged persuit of a disc that was never even opened or used for squat that he could not offer a WORD to those grieving. His assault weapon in every closet idea quoted in this Patch might play well in Catawissa or Pacific but good God.....do we really want a one issue, angry, illiterate clown representing Eureka and Wildwood?
c z April 17, 2013 at 06:03 PM
I doubt he'd have any legal recourse regarding FB stalking. The media does it all the time.
c z April 17, 2013 at 06:07 PM
I read the back-and-forth in the RFT. Seemed like a conversation to me, intended or not. Immature on both sides. At least Mr. Cohn owned up to his part in this. I respectfully maintain that it's a double-standard to demand that public servants act better than the public. Also, have to chime in with a previous poster, why does Nieves keep getting elected if he's such an awful politician.
R Jones April 17, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Sounds to me like Mr. Cohn was looking for attention and he found it. Sure he didn't want a response from Mr. Nieves...and I suppose if Nieves admins his own mailing lists he probably has a email before the "freak" comment that says something a decent person would write such as "Unsubscribe" or "Please remove me from future mailings"? And Mr. Nieves wouldn't just make up an email address and be lucky enough to send this guy (a person who clearly doesn't care for his politics) SPAM. This is truly a "troll" in every sense of the word. Although he did get what he finally wanted....Mr. Nieves and others attention.
Barton Cohn April 17, 2013 at 06:50 PM
I'm no expert, but to address the question above about why people like Nieves (and Todd Akin and others) are able to get elected multiple times, the districts they represent are very strongly republican, and the winner of the republican primary almost always goes on to win the election. Then once elected, the incumbent is tough to beat. I believe this is Nieves' first term as a senator, I think he'd previously been a state representative for several terms. The primary for the 26th district senate seat that Nieves now holds was a very nasty 3-way battle which Nieves won. Also, the 26th district only includes a small portion of STL County (Eureka/Wildwood), I believe a bulk of that district is in Franklin County. Todd Akin won a 6 way primary back in 2002 or whatever year, and then once he won that primary and went on to win the election for his House seat in a very republican district, I don't believe he had another serious primary challenge after that. Incumbents are tough to beat, they have huge advantages against challengers. Also, the people who bother to show up in primaries tend to be the most extreme elements of the respective parties, and then in the actual election, voters tend to just vote R or D without much consideration for who the candidate really is. So, win the primary, win the election.
Travis Bickle April 17, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Rufus....I have Mr. Nieves letter on my computer dated April 15 and in so much as there is an "unsuscribe" button at the top, you are right. There is. In hindsight I bet Mr. Cohn wished he had avoided the whole drama and just pressed that but I am only guessing. Cannot speak for Mr. Cohn. I read the entire exchange on at least two sites and I must still maintain that TO ME....Mr. Nieves went too far. You are entitled to your opinion and I suspect it is different than mine. I will still contend and will end my comments on the situation with the idea that I have that coming from my own experience as a functional alcoholic that Mr. Nieves needs to be drug tested and get hospitalization and counseling. His actions are too extreme and I suspect actions late at night like that are fueled by something other than just anger. Or, if it is indeed just anger then he really needs counseling. This obsession with guns and gun rights by an angry man is upsetting to me and I suppose some that will read this blog. I would not want Brian Nieves to be anywhere near a gun with the issues I think he has. This is just my opinion and I might be proven right or maybe wrong. Hopefully for people around him, wrong. Just an opinion but what would be the harm in Mr. Nieves going to a clinic and having a drug test? In the words of that famous philosopher George W. Bush "If ya done nothin wrong, ya got nothin to worry about".
Barton Cohn April 17, 2013 at 07:16 PM
There very well might have been an unsubscribe link that I missed. I had the surgery on the 10th, and I've only been able to use my iPhone since- I'm not sure if the unsubscribe appears with the mobile device or not. As to how I got on Nieves' mailing list, I have no idea. It's possible that I sent him some correspondence in the past about some legislative matter, but I don't have a recollection of this. No question I could've been more polite in my request. But I was genuinely surprised to hear back from the senator, I never thought he or anyone else would write back. Actually, during the exchange with Nieves, I had a very upset stomach from all the post surgery drugs I was taking, and I was continually having to make my way to the bathroom on crutches. I was not enjoying the exchange at the time. I knew when I went public with this I'd have my share of detractors, I'm not surprised that some are focusing on me rather than the senator. That's your prerogative. But you won't be seeing my name on a ballot any time soon, and I would imagine Mr. Nieves fully intends to continue his political career. Food for thought.
R Jones April 17, 2013 at 07:35 PM
I can agree with that. Try being a Republican in the City of St. Louis.
Travis Bickle April 17, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Mr. Cohn....True, sad but true. We will see Mr. Nieves on a ballot. I hope the voters are more discerning next election. Good luck with your recovery. I would just let this go. You are not the first person verbally assaulted by Mr. Nieves. There are some teachers from Washingto, MO that got it first hand in his office and that kid that stopped by after the election went to the police. Everything was dropped, but when there is a thread that runs through the life of a man, a person wonders why. I hope you just forget this unfortunate incident and go on to get better. I am going to stop commenting about it now. I think i've had my say on the issue. Get better..
Barton Cohn April 17, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Thanks, Travis, kind of you. I'm fine. I was once a city councilman in Wildwood, was called all sorts of things, things much worse than "freak". I don't recall ever responding angrily to any hate mail, I usually tried to think of something clever but innocent to respond with- that's all you can really do. I've got to be still for at least another week or 10 days to let the tendons heal, so I've got nothing better to do than read or stare at this iPhone. Best to you, Travis, and best to everyone else. Take care.
Alfonz24 April 17, 2013 at 08:31 PM
"It's possible that I sent him some correspondence in the past about some legislative matter, but I don't have a recollection of this. " & "I don't recall ever responding angrily to any hate mail, I usually tried to think of something clever but innocent to respond with". I don't have recollection and I don't recall are some very convenient excuses.
Barton Cohn April 17, 2013 at 08:44 PM
They are especially convenient when they happen to be the truth.
R Jones April 17, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Barton, Do you do this often? Do you drive home from a bar and the next morning you can't "recall" how you got home? I'd say you either have alzheimer's or a substance abuse problem. Either way, I hardly think that this type of bickering is news-worthy.
Barton Cohn April 17, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Feel free to call me Bart since we're buddies and all, Rufus. I don't recall ever corresponding with Nieves before our exchange, and I don't recall ever sending a constituent an angry email. I seriously doubt I did either of those things, and I can't imagine there being evidence to the contrary, because I don't think it happened. But being 44 and not having been a councilman for many years, I can't say for absolute certain what emails I've sent and such. You guys are pretty good at name calling for dudes who think I was in the wrong for calling Nieves names. As far as being newsworthy, might want to direct those comments to Kurt above, he's the writer/editor. The original "news" story was in RFT, which I think most people consider to be a liberal tabloid, their content is humorous, and I think the email exchange is a good fit for their paper. You are under no obligation to read this or any other story you deem not to be worth your time.
Barton Cohn April 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM
I never said Nieves had a substance abuse problem, you must be thinking of someone else, I know very little about about Brian's personal life, nor do I care, that's not my business.
decaffeinated April 18, 2013 at 02:45 AM
My sentiments exactly. I have always wondered about Mr. Nieves
decaffeinated April 18, 2013 at 02:49 AM
@Lee exactly
Angelina Vitale April 18, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Mr. Cohn, You walked out on your term as councilman for the City of Wildwood. You couldn't even finish a local political career of 2 years. If memory serves me, you publicly stated at the time that Wildwood just didn't get things done as quickly as you wished, i.e., taxpayer funded projects. You are hardly one to give advice to elected leaders on how to handle constituents, eh? If you didn't want to play baby games with Senator Nieves, perhaps you should have crafted your words a bit less threatening? If you expected a staffer to receive your response, as stated above, why would you call him/her "Freak?" And for someone as sensitive as yourself, why are you using words such as "tard" (short for RETARD, right)? Decent people stopped using that term long ago. If you don't want to get dirty, don't play in the mud unless, of course, you really did want to get muddy and then accuse others of pushing you in the puddle all while running to tell your mommy? And since you met up with an elected official that didn't feel like listening to your abusive crap, you cry, "Poor me... and my poor surgery... and my senator is on drugs because he's awake at 1 am?" Has anyone heard of libel? The Patch was under no obligation to call you to obtain your one-sided version of your claim to fame "spotlight for a day." What would you have said, "I don't have a recollection... I don't recall... " Please, Mr. Cohn... Sen. Nieves didn't seek YOU out. Frankly, several think you had your own AGENDA.
Barton Cohn April 19, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Whatever, wildwood taxpayer/voter, have a party. But, I never, ever said anything about Brian's personal life to anyone. Ever. Wherever you got that idea, it's just plain wrong. I don't know anything about Brian's personal life, nor do I care. That's not my business. Oh, and don't all of us taxpayer voters have an agenda(?). Nice of you to add please at the end of your rant, such a gentleman.
Travis Bickle April 19, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Mr. Cohn, I have been a follower of Mr.Nieves outbursts for a long time now. At first I found them kind of sincere but not thought out and a bit funny. If you look at that post by the "Wildwood Taxpayer" does it not have the flavor of the e mail exchange you had with Mr. Nieves the other night? I think it is Brian beating a dead horse. You already said you should not have used that language and the posting is another ad hominim(sp) attack on you.. This thing has gone on now for DAYS to the point of it being in the Huffington Post today and somehow, someone(in hours after the legislature has adjourned for the day)just had to bring it up again. BTW if you really want to see Brian being Brian there is a video of him ranting on the RFT today posting does not seem able to follow the thread of the discussion here. Mr. Cohn never said anything about possible substance abuse. Let us see if the Wildwood poster can go back and read and find the answer. In summary, Mr. Cohn, I think you are responding to Mr. Nieves posting under another name and I would not respond anymore. Your apology for using the words was enough..This is a pattern for Nieves to rant on and on....Check out the RFT video and you will see. It reminds me of the old saying, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail". This should be over. Just a bad day and nothing more. Watch that video everyone and see if you are getting the best senator you could have for that paycheck.
Travis Bickle April 19, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Point of clarity. I said the Wildwood Taxpayer poster was not following the thread of discussion here by saying Mr.Cohn said something about possible alcohol or substance abuse. Let us see if Wildwood can ferret out the answer. And....it is not slander. It is a point of concern for reflection and discussion. No one said they were sure that was the case. Just wondering if it was so.
Barton Cohn April 19, 2013 at 01:24 AM
You are a kind man, Travis Bickle. I appreciate your support. I obviously can't respond to my detractors on Yahoo, Salon, HuffPost, etc. But I don't mind taking a few minutes to respond to mr. wildwood taxpayer guy, so big and bold but he can't even use his real name. Anyhow, best to you, sir.
Travis Bickle April 19, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Thanks Mr. Cohn. On reflection it could have been me that responded to that constituent newsletter that day. I was watching the news about the bombing of the Boston Marathon and using my computer to e mail family and up popped Nieves newsletter. NO mention of the kids blown up that day....just gun stuff. I was mad and I could have sent him a note and called him a name. I am human as both you and Brian are. We all have bad days and stuff affects us in different ways.. I guess my point to "Taxpayers" and voters is that IMHO Brian has more than the average bear and he gets a salary for it. I wonder why he is so damn angry all the time. I don't think the Huff PO articles and such are especially critical of you. I think they have found a senator in Missouri(hick state)that they can poke fun of in the big cities and they might be right! They make money off this stuff. Anyway...hell it's time to shake hands and quit fighting. Stuff happened and its over now. Hope your recovery goes well and I hope Brian tends to state business and quits fighting over a few misplaced comments. Some stuff is just not woth being upset over. This is one.
Mathew April 25, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Yes; the phrase "Freak" was inappropriate for Nieves. "Moron" would be more appropriate. And the apologists out there, regardless of what was said to Nieves, he made the decision to escalate. And this, like many of his beliefs, was poorly thought-out. Providing more evidence that he is a moron. This guy is a state Senator? God help us...
Travis Bickle April 25, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Matthew, Tonight at 7-9pm. Nieves and Lamping bring the "black government helicopters are coming to get you" roadshow to the Chesterfield City Hall. They will be discussing the state education Common Core Standards. I do not know that much about whether they are good or bad BUT I would encourage all citizens to question Nieves on HIS understanding of them. He is our senator and I think a fringe sort of guy. This may be an attempt to rile educated citizens like he does with the underinformed voters out in Franklin county. He might be right on this one but I always question his intent in any thing he does. What little spanish I speak, I think nieves means snow in spanish and senator snow might just be trying to do a snowjob on voters. It is time for someone else after that Facebook stalking on that guy from Wildwood. If you will do that, you will do anything.
Angelina Vitale April 25, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Travis, How do you plan on questioning Nieves about his understanding of Common Core Standards when you admit that you know very little about them? Would that place you in the same "category" as all of those "uniformed voters out in Franklin County" that you tend to reference? Or are you just far superior and informed based on your address, regardless of your knowledge of the issues? Do yourself a favor... get informed... learn exactly who benefits from Common Core... and who loses. You might find that you and Senator Nieves are not as far apart on the "fringes" about this issue as you think.
Travis Bickle April 25, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Wildwood.....You make an excellent point. If I were more informed on the Common Core Standards I might agree with Nieves. I will study that today and show up tonight to ask him questions. I'm not superior to anyone that I know of just because of my address. I am a bit more informed IMHO of many issues than many of Nieves followers or he would not be a senator right now. Neither have I ever been accused of beating anyone or pulling a gun on them or Facebook stalking another person. They do not write about me in the Huffington Post like I am a hillbilly with an i pod or whatever it is called.... THAT sir, IMHO makes me a boatload "better" than senator snowjob. Maybe better than you if you buy into his foolishness. Just look at the conspiracy crap he has sponsored this session. The guy has no answers to problems, he creates "straw men" to knock down to look as if he is doing something. Take off your tin foil hat and think.
Angelina Vitale April 25, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Travis, I'm sorry but you are neither better than those who live in Franklin County nor better than those who share differing opinions than you, including me. The politicians and/or issues that an individual supports does not define a person's worth or a person's level of information. I appreciate that you plan to research Common Core Standards. And I really hope that you determine your own stance and not just fall in line with many who simply support a candidate or party, regardless of that candidate's or party's views. As a reminder to all of us, we do not need to support or oppose an issue based on our favorite politician. Common Core is too serious for the citizens with far reaching implications to our children and youth to allow politics to split us on common sense. And I'm very sincere on that statement. All of us need to rise above extremist propaganda from both sides of this issue. Oh, and I'm actually a mom, and not a Sir. ;-)
Travis Bickle April 25, 2013 at 08:19 PM
.It is a good thing to formulate your own opinion and to not support or oppose an issue based on a particular politician. I wish Mr. Nieves would consider that when the Republicans vote on the Affordable Healthcare Exchanges here in Missouri. The Federal government will set them up anyway.Look at the gun legislation proposed by the Republicans.Federal law will supercede any state law.Saying Missouri will not enforce Federal gun laws will just cost taxpayers MONEY.. Look at the big deal over the DOR files that were not even opened.. I wish Brian Nieves had followed your advice before he put out videos saying "This is our country, Barack Hussein Obama and your liberal ilk" and put out videos on You Tube of him holding an AR-15 and calling it a "Nancy Pelosi Special". Those statements seem to suggest that Brian will not support any Democratic or Progressive agenda and might even be hostile to them. Let us look at your statement...."The politicians and/or issues that an individual supports does not define a person's worth or a person's level of information" Does that really mean anything in light of what Brian has done in videos and published statements over the years? How about going to ALEC meetings? Are those guys neutral?. I would think that a person's level of information would make a good person propose good, useful law. That level of information would come from reading different views. I think a person's worth is determined by his intent. I think Brian is suspect in intent
Travis Bickle April 25, 2013 at 08:32 PM
Wildwood Mom.....Just one more look at that statement you made. "The politicians and/or issues that an individual supports does not define a person's worth or a person's level of information" I take exception. If you support politicians that are corrupt then I would think it would have some sort of reflection on your worth. If you support politicians that adhere to views that are inherently harmful or wasteful then I would think it would reflect on your level of information and your worth as a good citizen.....especially if you know the politician is corrupt and the policies are wasteful or harmful. We owe each other the best government. One that is good for us all. If we vote hate, we breed our own destruction. Watch Brian's videos and tell me he is a guy who believes in finding the middle ground, one that is good for all citizens.


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