James M. Goble, president of the Universal Democratic Club, says he just wanted to be reasonable and work out a simmering disagreement with Councilman Edward I. Reisinger.
Instead of reason, Reisinger, a 6th District Democrat, gave Goble a mouth full of knuckles, according to a police report.
The report says that on Saturday, Goble and Reisinger were embroiled in a dispute in the parking lot of the Purple Goose, a Washington Boulevard tavern popular with political operatives in southwest Baltimore. At one point during the dispute, "Mr. Reisinger struck [Goble] several times with his fist, injuring his left lower lip and right shoulder," the report says.
The report also says that the responding officer observed no obvious injuries to Goble and found no witnesses to the alleged assault.
Reisinger yesterday called the information in the report a lie. "There was no fight," he said. "This is a campaign. I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize my candidacy."
Reisinger did admit to having an altercation with Goble, but, he said, the only physical contact occurred when he shoved Goble "after he pointed his finger in my face."
Goble said that the Universal Democratic Club, the largest in the 6th District, has removed Reisinger from its membership rolls. He also said the club's board will meet soon to decide whether to rescind its endorsement of Reisinger.
"I'd say it's really questionable whether he will remain on our ticket," Goble said.
Reisinger, 37, who was chosen to fill the unexpired term of the late William J. Myers, had been endorsed by the club along with incumbents Joseph J. DiBlasi and Timothy D. Murphy.
Adding to Reisinger's woes, Goble, 42, a former police officer and sheriff's deputy, said he would swear out a summons against his alleged assailant today at Southwestern District Court.
"I have my ducks in a row. I have photographs of the injuries and my doctor's report," he said. Despite the observations in the police report, Goble said he suffered a "swollen lip" and bruises along his chest and shoulder.
Both Goble and Reisinger said their argument was over the distribution of Reisinger lawn signs. After that, their stories diverge.
Reisinger said Goble was slow in fulfilling his agreement to distribute his lawn signs around the district. "I told him, 'You were paid to help us out in the election and you haven't helped,' " Reisinger said.
Reisinger said that he and the two other incumbents had paid Goble $1,000 each to have the lawn signs distributed.
Goble, however, said that Reisinger never got enough signs to him. As a result, he was able to display only a few of them. He added that he did a fine job distributing Murphy and DiBlasi signs.
The disagreement escalated Saturday, when Goble was at the Purple Goose enjoying a draft. "I got Reisinger on the phone and told him I wanted to meet and work this out the next day," Goble said. "But I could barely hear him because of the static in the phone and the juke box. But I heard him say something about B.S. So I told him to take a flying . . . and hung up."
After that, Goble said, he decided to go home. But, he said, by the time he got to his car, Reisinger had pulled up in the club's parking lot and was confronting him.
"He said, 'Nobody hangs up on me,' and hit me," Goble said. "He didn't pack much of a punch. I thought he'd have a little more wallop. My two front teeth are mostly cosmetic, but he didn't seem to harm them."
Reisinger insists that he never hit the 165-pound Goble, although he admits to making the two-minute drive from his home to the Purple Goose to confront him.
"I weigh 230 pounds. If I would have hit him, I would have hurt him," Reisinger said. "I'm not saying I'm a Mike Tyson or Rocky, but he'd be hurt."