News and Tribune

September 24, 2013

Adams no longer Clark County sheriff’s spokesman

No further disciplinary action taken, for now

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

CLARK COUNTY — Chuck Adams is still working for the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, though his duties have changed a bit in the wake of allegations that caused him to suspend his campaign for sheriff.

Adams, a major with the sheriff’s department, is still in charge of fleet maintenance and special events for the department, said Sheriff Danny Rodden. But Adams will no longer serve as the department’s spokesperson.

Adams suspended his campaign Friday in response to the News and Tribune asking him about allegations leveled against him by Larry Brooks, a donor to his campaign. Brooks alleged that Adams offered him a no-show, $70,000-per-year job at the sheriff’s department in exchange for larger campaign contributions. Adams 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 donations from Brooks more than two years ago.

Brooks provided the News and Tribune with a recording in which he and Adams can be heard having a discussion about the possibility of Brooks working with the sheriff’s department. Brooks said the conversation took place in Adams’ office on Feb. 14, 2012. Adams denies that Brooks was offered a position in a possible Adams-run sheriff’s department.

Rodden said no disciplinary action will be taken against Adams at this time.

“I’m not going to do anything about that at this point, but that situation’s still up in the air,” Rodden said.

Instead, Rodden says he will serve as spokesman.

Rodden said he was not aware if Adams had conducted campaign business on department premises, he said.

“That is prohibited. They’re not supposed to do that,” Rodden said. “I had no knowledge that that occurred. His office is a couple of doors down from me, but I’m not always here and I don’t know what happens when I’m not here.”

Rodden does not have any employees working for him under an arrangement similar to what Brooks alleges Adams offered him, he said.

“I’m dedicated to [my job], and everybody that works for me is dedicated to it, too,” Rodden said.



WHAT’S NEXT?

Multiple messages left for Prosecutor Steve Stewart at his office seeking comment were not returned by press time. Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he was instructed to direct all media inquiries regarding Adams to Stewart.

In a message left with the News and Tribune, Clark County Board of Elections President Kevin Fisher said Adams’ situation is a criminal matter, and that the board is “waiting to see what comes out of the prosecutor’s office.”

Circuit Court Clerk Barbara Bratcher Haas wrote the Indiana Election Division Monday seeking guidance for the board of elections in regard to the News and Tribune’s report on Adams.

“Since the filing period [for campaign paperwork] is not open, does the county election board have reason to hold a meeting?” Haas asked in an email.

“You are correct that the county election board does not do anything yet,” replied Leslie Barnes, co-counsel to the Indiana Election Division. “Even if the candidate filed his or her declaration [of candidacy], the candidate is entitled to run until he or she actually receives a guilty verdict [if otherwise qualified].

“If the candidate has opened his or her committee, the candidate will still owe you an annual report. If the candidate decides to disband his or her committee entirely, then the candidate would owe an outgoing treasurer report within 10 days of disbanding the committee.”

Adams still has not filed a statement of organization, or CFA-1 form, with Clark County Voter Registration, said a voter registration employee Tuesday.

Title 3 of Indiana Code governs campaign finances. Per Indiana Code 3-9, a person who fails to file a report with the proper office commits a class B misdemeanor. Failure to file a CFA-1 form within 10 days of receiving more than $100 in contributions or spending more than $100 for campaign purposes can result in a fine of up to $1,000.