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Accusations against Wand are merely a smokescreen

Geoff Thompson and his partner Angelo Simione would be wise to spend a little less time deflecting blame and a little more time on the mea culpas.

Thompson and Simione are the guys who let their insurance lapse on the View Point Inn in Corbett, so when the iconic structure was heavily damaged by fire on July 10, they provided no safety net for repairs and left creditors wondering if they will ever see a dime.

Then, after a bankruptcy hearing on July 14 where Thompson and Simione were ordered to surrender ownership of the inn, Simione resorted to character attacks as a way of deflecting attention. The Outlook reported in its Saturday, July 16, edition that Simione accused Rep. Matt Wand of homophobia and of pursuing a personal vendetta.

That single, unwise statement has the potential of damaging the reputation of a solid lawmaker. As this editorial is being written, a debate is under way on BlueOregon.com (a website for progressive politics, news and commentary) regarding Wand's alleged homophobia, all stemming from the statement made by Simione.

Wand is a Republican lawmaker and an attorney who represents his uncle, Dick Wand, and another man, Steve Serafini, who say the View Point owes them a combined quarter-million dollars. His argument with the View Point Inn had nothing to do with sexual orientation, but everything to do with the fact that his clients weren't paid for their work. And in this case, he was acting as an attorney, not as a lawmaker.

But since he is a Republican lawmaker, it's not at all surprising that Wand has yet to accept the eventual inevitability of same-sex marriage. His views may evolve, but his current stance hardly qualifies him as homophobic. The Outlook has been associated with Wand since his entry into politics. We have never heard him utter a word that would give us reason to suspect him of homophobia.

We understand that Thompson and Simione likely have been the targets of homophobic slurs in the past. And we understand that this is a difficult time for both men as they come to grips with the reality of losing their business and their livelihood.

But we don't think either of those truths justifies the invention of a ridiculous claim against Wand, who is simply protecting the interests of his clients by attempting to collect a debt.