At a meeting this morning, the Miami County Election Board is set to discuss an anonymous political flyer mailed to thousands of Peru residents listing all three mayoral candidates along with court cases in which they have been involved.
It really is a classic case of someone setting out to anonymously smear a candidate. But what’s really different here is that the person targeting the candidates is attempting to smear the Republican, the Democrat and the Independent who are all vying to be the next mayor of Peru.
Miami County Democratic Party Chair Charles Wagner last week filed a complaint with the election board requesting an investigation into the postcards, which he said were sent earlier this month to “1,100 or 11,000 depending upon which rumor one hears.”
The postcard lists the names of Democratic Incumbent Peru Mayor Gabe Greer, Republican Miles Hewitt and Independent Chris Wolfe, who are all running for mayor in next week’s election. Beside their name is a court case with a list of charges beneath each name.
The top of the postcard says “Character Matters … You have three choices review their past … then choose wisely!!”
The case listed for Hewitt was filed in 2012 and details a civil lawsuit in which a Vietnam veteran alleges Hewitt made unauthorized withdrawals from his personal account. The lawsuit alleges Hewitt spent the money for his personal benefit after the veteran asked Hewitt to help him handle a $400,000 settlement he received related to his military service.
In 2015, both parties filed a joint motion to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, according to court documents, which means it was permanently closed and indicates there may have been an out-of-court settlement.
The case listed for Wolfe is a conviction in 2012 in Huntington County of a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated endangering a person. Wolfe ended up serving six days in jail and had his license suspended for one year, according to court documents.
The case listed for Greer was filed in 2005 and ended with a judge dismissing misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement and assisting a criminal after Greer entered into a pre-trial diversion contract with prosecutors, according to court records.
Wagner said in the complaint the motivation behind sending the postcards is unclear since it “looks like they smeared everyone.”
“Not sure what the motivation might be other than just creating drama,” he wrote.
We agree. We also agree that the postcard is deliberate and somewhat dishonest in its details. We also encourage voters to look at the issues as well as the character of the candidates. Go to kokomotribune.com for a question-and-answer with the candidates and where they stand on the issues facing the community.