Oak Harbor City Council candidate involved in rent dispute

A squabble between an Oak Harbor City Council candidate and two of his tenants became so heated last week that police had to be called to break it up.

At about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, police responded to a verbal dispute between political hopeful Paul Brewer and a couple he rents a home to on Judson Drive. According to Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace, no arrests were made nor did it appear that the quarrel ever got out of control.

“There’s no indication (in the police report) it was a screaming match,” Wallace said.

However, both parties say the situation was volatile and believed it was on the verge of degrading to fisticuffs.

The argument started after Brewer showed up at the home of Jacob Pen and his wife, Trish, to collect the rent. According to Pen, Brewer began yelling and pointing a finger in his wife’s face. When he tried to intervene, he claims Brewer then began yelling at him, and getting so close to him that they were standing “toe-to-toe.”

“He was trying to intimidate my wife ... and then he started threatening me,” Pen said.

The situation became so heated, Pen said he sent his family into the house and the police were called.

“He was irate, smoke from the nose and everything,” Pen claimed.

A former three-term city councilman, Brewer is hoping to reclaim a seat on the council this November. He is competing in a four-way race for position 1, the spot currently occupied by Jim Palmer who is not running again.

While Brewer admits the situation “escalated out of control,” he claims that Pen was the one who lost his temper. He also denies having yelled at or acting threateningly toward Trish.

“I did not point my finger at her,” Brewer said.

Although he acknowledged directing his conversation to Trish, Brewer claims he did so only because it’s her name on the lease agreement.

According to his version of events, Pen became angry at this, walking up to him so that they were “toe-to-toe” and trying to intimidate him. Brewer said he remained calm but would not back down either.

“I said, ‘Get out of my face or I’ll call 911,’” Brewer said.

He claims Pen was doing his best to get him to throw a punch but that he refused to take the bait.

“I’m a little more mature than that,” Brewer said.

This isn’t the first time there have been allegations concerning Brewer’s temper. According to a 2007 investigation by a city-hired legal consultant, Brewer was out of control with anger and went on a physically intimidating tirade during a council meeting in the fall of 2006.

He told a Whidbey News-Times reporter in a 2007 story that it was an isolated incident and that it would not happen again.

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