Herbster campaign, consulting firm looking for resolution in legal fight, lawyer says | Elections

Attorneys for a Nebraska consulting firm and the gubernatorial campaign of Charles W. Herbster are working quickly to resolve a legal fight involving allegations that the campaign improperly ended the firm’s services and owes money, according to a lawyer involved in the case.

Herbster’s campaign retained political consulting firm EZ Politix under a contract for Dec. 1, 2020, to May 10 of this year at a rate of $12,500 a month, according to a copy filed in court. The contract was signed by a campaign representative and Andrew Northwall, who was then president of EZ Politix.

Last August, EZ Politix sued the Herbster campaign. The campaign filed a countersuit in January. State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, a lawyer who’s representing EZ Politix in the case, said Tuesday that the parties were looking to resolve the lawsuit quickly.

Wayne didn’t offer further details. The Herbster campaign did not respond to multiple requests for an update on the case. Its lawyers did not respond to The World-Herald’s voicemail messages or an email. According to court records, neither party appeared for a court hearing in March.

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The parties agreed in 2020 that, if either breached the contract, they had 30 days after notice to remedy the situation. After that, the other party could end the contract in writing. The campaign could end the contract without cause if it gave 90 days’ notice.

The lawsuit alleged that Herbster’s campaign unilaterally ended the contract and stopped making payments April 9, 2021, without providing notice, even though EZ Politix fulfilled its side of the agreement.

The company asked for $37,500, plus damages.

“We stand by our complaint, and simply ask that they pay their bill,” said Northwall when The World-Herald first reported on the lawsuit.

In its response, the Herbster campaign denied allegations and brought a counterclaim, alleging EZ Politix breached its contract and kept $62,500 in payments despite its “complete failure to perform.”

The countersuit alleges that the company’s principals, Northwall and Matt Butler, told the campaign that they had “no intention to comply” with the contract and “wanted to ‘see how far (Herbster) would go.’”

The campaign told EZ Politix that it breached the agreement in March 2021, the countersuit alleges, because it hadn’t provided agreed-upon services or any other services the campaign asked for. They scheduled a meeting to talk about the breach, according to the suit, but the company refused to attend.

According to the countersuit, EZ Politix also refused the campaign’s demand that it return the $62,500. The campaign is asking the court for that money, plus damages.

One thing the parties have in common: connections to former President Donald Trump.

Trump backed Herbster in the Nebraska governor’s race in October — an endorsement that has become the defining feature of the Falls City farmer and Republican businessman’s campaign. Meanwhile, Northwall’s LinkedIn profile lists him as chief operating officer at Trump Media & Technology Group, since December.

When The World-Herald called EZ Politix and asked if Northwall still worked there, the person who answered said he was still part-owner but had transitioned away from day-to-day operations to work for TMTG. The media company’s press contact did not respond to a request to confirm Northwall’s employment. Northwall declined to comment for this story.

His apparent new employer is the parent company behind Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform that has struggled to launch and gain traction.

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