Hamilton County Election Board dismisses request to investigate Republican mayoral campaigns

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The Hamilton County Election Board voted May 14 to dismiss a complaint from the county’s Democratic Party chair to investigate allegations that the Carmel Republican primary mayoral campaigns offered or asked for money for candidate Fred Glynn to not run for office.

Two Republicans on the board, Ray Adler and Hamilton County Clerk Kathy Kreag Williams, voted to dismiss the complaint after the board’s only Democrat, Greg Purvis, moved to conduct a full evidentiary hearing on the matter.

“It may end up being a waste of time, but I think it’s important,” Purvis said during the meeting. “You could clear the air or otherwise.”

Lawyers representing three people present at a Feb. 3 meeting – Hamilton County Republican Party Chair Laura Campbell, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard campaign consultant Allan Sutherlin and former Glynn campaign manager Dan Hennessey – where the alleged offer took place presented affidavits from their clients. Campbell, Hennessey and Sutherlin were not present at the May 14 meeting.

Glynn, who was not in attendance at Feb. 3 meeting, previously said Hennessey reported back from the meeting that the Brainard campaign was offering Glynn $140,000 to bow out of the race. Soon after the February meeting, Hennessey went to work for the Brainard campaign. Sutherlin and Campbell previously told Current Hennessey requested the funds to keep Glynn from running.

Hennessey’s affidavit outlined his version of what happened at the meeting.

“During the course of the meeting, the parties discussed whether if Fred Glynn were to forgo running for mayor, if the Brainard campaign would support him in a subsequent run for office,” it stated. “Al Sutherlin suggested that the Brainard campaign could host a future fundraiser for Fred Glynn’s subsequent run for office. I suggested that the Brainard campaign make a political contribution to Fred Glynn’s campaign committee, which Fred Glynn could use later for a subsequent race.”

The affidavits from Campbell and Sutherlin supported Hennessey’s version of events.

“The amount of evidence in front of you at this point is woefully inadequate to reach a conclusion that a violation of election law has occurred,” said David Brooks, an attorney representing Campbell.

Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Joe Weingarten, who asked the board to investigate the allegations, said after the meeting the board didn’t have a full picture of what happened since Glynn did not attend or send a representative.

“Nobody approached Mr. Fred Glynn to provide his part of the story, so I think by doing this they have shut down the other part of the story,” Weingarten said. “You don’t have a full disclosure by everybody about what’s going on.”

Glynn said he didn’t attend the election board meeting because his side of the story has already been reported “all over the media.”

“At this point I’m moving on,” he said, adding that he originally spoke out about the issue to let Carmel residents know about the kind of campaign Brainard was running.

Brooks speculated that Glynn didn’t attend the meeting because he didn’t want to face the scrutiny that would arise from promoting a controversy without firsthand evidence.

“Mr. Glynn, who in my opinion was wholly irresponsible in bringing these charges to the press and embarrassing the City of Carmel, should owe the citizens of Carmel an apology for  making these allegations, which were ridiculous,” Brooks said after the meeting.

When reached by phone May 14, Hennessey said he never told Glynn that Brainard’s campaign was offering a bribe for Glynn to drop out of the race. He also denied an allegation from Glynn that he was already working on behalf of the Brainard campaign at the time of the Feb. 3 meeting.

“People say crazy things sometimes during elections,” Hennessey said. “Hopefully the city of Carmel doesn’t appreciate that behavior or attitude all the way around. I think people can heal a little bit and move on and focus on what’s great about Carmel.”

After the meeting Purvis said he was “not surprised” by the board’s decision.

“(The Feb. 3 discussion) is being styled as a party unity kind of thing, trying to bring a party together and eliminate a primary challenge, but when you start talking about offers of money, no matter how it’s categorized it looks bad,” Purvis said. “I’m disappointed that this discussion apparently did happen and we’re not going to look any further into it, but I’m just one vote on the board.”

Weingarten said he does not expect to pursue legal action but he hopes that another entity, such as the county prosecutor’s office, will decide to investigate.

Brainard, who was not at the Feb. 3 meeting, declined to comment on the board’s decision.

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The Hamilton County Election Board voted May 14 to dismiss a complaint from the county’s Democratic Party chair to investigate allegations that the Carmel Republican primary mayoral campaigns offered or asked for money for candidate Fred Glynn to bow out of the race.

Two Republicans on the board, Ray Adler and County Clerk Kathy Kreag Williams, voted to dismiss the complaint after the board’s only Democrat, Greg Purvis, moved to conduct a full evidentiary hearing on the matter.

Lawyers representing three people present at a Feb. 3 meeting where the alleged offer took place – Hamilton County Republican Party Chair Laura Campbell, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard campaign consultant Allan Sutherlin and former Glynn campaign manager Dan Hennessey – presented affidavits from their clients. Campbell, Hennessey and Sutherlin were not present at the May 14 meeting.

Glynn, who also was not present at the election board meeting, previously said Hennessey reported back from the meeting that the Brainard campaign was offering Glynn $140,000 to bow out of the race. Soon after the February meeting, Hennessey went to work for the Brainard campaign.

The affidavit from Hennessey stated that Sutherlin did not make that offer.

“During the course of the meeting, the parties discussed whether if Fred Glynn were to forgo running for mayor, if the Brainard campaign would support him in a subsequent run for office,” stated the affidavit from Hennessey. “Al Sutherlin suggested that the Brainard campaign could host a future fundraiser for Fred Glynn’s subsequent run for office. I suggested that the Brainard campaign make a political contribution to Fred Glynn’s campaign committee, which Fred Glynn could use later for a subsequent race.”

Purvis said he believed the matter should still be fully investigated.

“It may end up being a waste of time, but I think it’s important,” Purvis said. “You could clear the air or otherwise. This is so important that the authors of the 1851 Constitution thought it necessary to write it out in black and white and put it in the Constitution.”

This story will be updated.

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