Henry A. Calame, 76, of 3430 Plymouth East Road, Greenwich, is charged with theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. He is the father-in-law of North Fairfield resident Bob Morgan.
Morgan, an Independent, is running against Republican incumbent Joe Hintz and Melissa James, a Democrat.
“There is an allegation that my father-in-law did take a sign. I never instructed anyone to do anything. I can’t control what goes on all over,” Morgan said.
“The biggest problem is that my opponent is going around coercing and intimidating individuals to pull my signs out and put his sign in and that’s where all this is going,” he added. “They’ve been looking for trouble and they’re starting to cause trouble.”
Irv Hintz, Joe Hintz’s brother, brought the case regarding Calame’s alleged theft to the Reflector’s attention.
“Several of Commissioner Hintz’s signs have been stolen in (the) Norwalk and Greenwich area. A local man from Greenwich took one of these signs that was later recovered by the sheriff’s office. It is time for everyone to ban together for a fair and honest campaign throughout Huron County,” he wrote in a letter to the editor.
A sign was reported stolen from the intersection of Ohio 13 and U.S. 224 in Greenwich Township. The Huron County Sheriff’s Office investigated the theft, which according to court records, happened Oct. 14.
“I think there was a witness. The deputy spoke to the witness, the property owner,” Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said.
After the owner reportedly identified the suspect, the deputy interviewed Calame.
“According to the deputy’s report, he had it in his possession and admitted to stealing the sign,” Christophel said. “I think it was just one.”
Also according to the report, Joe Hintz reportedly took down a sign and placed it beside the owner’s residence.
The flea market owner, who declined to be named, provided his side of the story Monday.
“I didn’t know him; I didn’t know his (Joe Hintz’s) brother,” the man said.
The owner said he gave Calame, Morgan’s father-in-law, permission to post one of Morgan’s campaign signs.
“I told Henry, ‘That’s fine.’ … I’ve known Henry for years; he’s a good man. That’s what I tried to explain to Joe Hintz’s brother,” he added. “I did not see Henry take the sign.”
At some point, Irv Hintz came to the store “four or five times,” said the owner, who felt pressured by Hintz to also post one of his brother’s signs.
“I said, ‘I’m not into politics; I just wanted Mr. Trump in,’” the man added. “I said, ‘If you want to put a sign out there, you’re more than welcome.’ … He said to pull up Bob’s sign. He said, ‘If you’re Republican, you shouldn’t be having no liberal or Democrat in there.’”
The flea market owner said he didn’t want the commissioners to make his life difficult, “so I kinda let them put their signs up.” The man also said he “felt intimidated.”
“If it was left up to me, I’d rather Bob be the commissioner because everybody in the area says Bob’s a good man; everybody says that,” he added. “Joe Hintz — I don’t know nothing about him or nothing.”
When being interviewed Monday, Irv Hintz denied pressuring the flea market owner about the signs.
“No, no. That didn’t happen at all,” he said. “It didn’t happen.”
Morgan alleges there have been multiple incidents about Irv Hintz reportedly pressuring people to post signs on their property.
“I have had six or seven different people already call me and (say they) pulled the Hintz signs out of the yard and put my signs in because they didn’t have permission or they went and talked to some elderly people (who) didn’t really know what was going on. Once people realized what was going on, then they’d call me and they take theirs out and put mine in. It’s happened six or eight different places,” Morgan said.
Hintz notified his brother that a sign was missing from the flea market and Joe Hintz called the sheriff’s office.
“He (Calame) shouldn’t take our signs,” said Irv Hintz, who noted the missing sign was recovered.
Joe Hintz was asked about the allegations of his brother pressuring the flea market owner.
“I am not involved in any of that,” he said. “I can’t believe he did it.
“I don’t know any of the details,” added Hintz, who said at one point he was with his brother when his brother spoke to the flea market owner about the missing sign.
Once his brother notified him about his sign being gone, Hintz said he called the sheriff’s office. Generally, he added he doesn’t want anybody stealing anybody’s campaign signs.
“The sign was gone,” Hintz said. “The deputy got the sign back. … I don’t go for anybody stealing anybody’s sign.”