I-Team 8

Anonymous campaign letters sent to Zionsville voters may be illegal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Zionsville school board race was turned nasty. Two anonymous letters have been sent out about one of the candidates, and the Boone County prosecutor says whoever sent them out has committed a crime.  

Tim Hardt is the target of these two letters. Whoever wrote them claims Hardt has been in trouble with the law and hasn’t managed his money well. He flat out denies the accusations. 

“Absolutely not 100%. I posted my background check on the website immediately,” Hardt said. “Illegal campaign activity, there is just no place for it.”

I-Team 8 looked into the accusations and can’t find any documentation to support the claims laid out in the letters. Hardt became aware of the letters when someone posted it to his campaign Facebook page.  Since the letters were sent in the mail, someone had to pay for the postage. According to the Boone County prosecutor Kent Eastwood, it is illegal to send anonymous campaign material.

“Under Indiana statute, you have disclose who is paying for the material. In this insistence, there are two letters that went out. One unsigned, and the other signed by a concerned father. It didn’t have that disclaimer at the bottom paid for by campaign committee to elect so and so, or citizens concerned citizens for whatever,” Boone County prosecutor Kent Eastwood said.

What is written in the letter is a civil matter according to the prosecutor, and not under this investigation.  Hardt he is a former teacher and has lived in Zionsville for the past decade. His sons attend the schools in there. He says the letters have damaged his reputation. 

“It is defamation, you know? We just can’t go around doing this again. State statute offers opportunity for that to be addressed. I’m going to very strongly challenge and protect my reputation and credibility because it has been damaged,” Hardt said. 

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. The prosecutor says if the author of the anonymous letters is arrested, they could face a misdemeanor charge that carries a year in jail and fines. Hardt says he is surprised that a school board race became so nasty.

 “I am surprised that is took a turn like this. One, it is school board, and two, I thought we could just have good healthy discourse and dialogue” Hardt said.

Hardt has posted his background check done by a third party on his website in defense of the anonymous allegations.