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October 11, 2013

Special prosecutor requested for investigation into sheriff's Maj. Adams

Move was made to avoid appearance of impropriety; ISP investigating

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Clark County Prosecutor’s office has asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate Clark County Sheriff’s Maj. Chuck Adams.

Steve Stewart, county prosecutor, said in a previous News and Tribune report that his office would conduct an investigation to determine what charges, if any, would be filed against Adams related to allegations of incorrect reporting of campaign finances leveled against him in his campaign for Clark County Sheriff in 2014.

Adams has since withdrawn his name from the sheriff’s race.

But Friday, Stewart’s office asked that Clark County Circuit Court No. 3 appoint a special prosecutor to conduct the investigation.

According to the petition submitted by Stewart, a special prosecutor was requested because of an investigation that was opened by the Indiana State Police following allegations made by Larry Brooks, a donor to Adams’ campaign, that appeared in the News and Tribune.

In addition, Stewart cited Adams’ standing as a long-time Clark County Sheriff’s Department officer, that he holds a position on the Jeffersonville Township Advisory Board and that the appointment of a special prosecutor is necessary to avoid any appearance of impropriety during the investigation.

The allegations that have spurred the investigation include a claim Brooks made to the News and Tribune that Adams offered him a $70,000 per year, no-show job with the sheriff’s office in exchange for an increase in campaign contributions. Brooks provided the News and Tribune a recording in which Brooks and Adams discuss the possibility of Brooks being employed by the sheriff’s office.

Adams also failed to file paperwork with the Board of Elections declaring his candidacy within the 10-day filing deadline, despite receiving more than $13,000 in in-kind contributions from Brooks more than two years ago.

Adams issued a written statement to the News and Tribune in response to Brooks’ allegations, accepting responsibility for failure to follow Indiana campaign finance rules, but stating that while he did have conversations with Brooks about the possibility of employment in an Adams-run sheriff’s department, he never offered Brooks ghost employment.

Adams has left his post as the sheriff’s department’s public information officer and Sheriff Danny Rodden said Adams also has looked into the possibility of retirement. To-date, Adams remains on the sheriff’s department payroll.

The ISP’s policy is to not comment on open investigations.

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