The Hamilton County Election Board wants to hear directly from the people involved in a February meeting that led to allegations of bribery in the Republican primary race for Carmel mayor.
The three-member board approved a motion April 5 to set a meeting with the three people involved in the February meeting. It will take place at 9 a.m. May 14, which is after the May 7 primary but before the vote is certified May 17.
Joe Weingarten, chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, asked the election board to investigate the allegations that representatives from or one or both campaigns requested or offered $140,000 for candidate Fred Glynn not to run against incumbent Mayor Jim Brainard.
Greg Purvis, a Democrat on the board, represented Weingarten at the meeting.
The people at the Feb. 3 meeting were Glynn’s former campaign manager, Dan Hennessey (who now works for the Brainard campaign), Brainard campaign volunteer Allan Sutherlin and Hamilton County Republican Party Chair Laura Campbell.
Glynn said Hennessey told him Brainard’s campaign offered $140,000 for Glynn not to run for office. However, Sutherlin and Campbell said Hennessey requested that amount to keep Glynn from running. Glynn said several days later Hennessey informed him he would be leaving the campaign to go work for Brainard’s campaign.
Election board member Ray Adler compared the May 14 meeting to a probable cause hearing.
“You’re talking about one campaign offering a bribe or another campaign seeking a bribe to get one of the candidates to drop out, if it’s true,” said Purvis, who suggested the Indiana State Police might be asked to investigate.
David Brooks, who represented the Hamilton County Republican Party and Campbell at the April 5 election board meeting, suggested a meeting before anything was referred to state police.
“I’m not interested in goose chases,” Adler said. “If it’s something, I want to get right on it. If it’s nothing, then we’ll ignore it.”
Hamilton County attorney Mike Howard said even if the allegations are true, they don’t appear to rise to the level of bribery.
“The allegations may be disturbing, but the question is if there is an issue here (over which) this board might have jurisdiction,” Howard said.
The story will be updated