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No criminal charges filed in Hamilton County campaign sign incident

May 3, 2018

No criminal charges will be filed in a case involving missing campaign signs from a property in Noblesville, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office announced late Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office opened an investigation Sunday after Steve Schwartz, an incumbent candidate for Hamilton County Council District 3, turned over photographs of his opponent's wife removing the signs from the northwest corner of 211th Street and Oakbay Drive, near Morse Reservoir.

Lisa Hall, wife of county council candidate Mark Hall, didn't deny removing the signs and said she had permission to do so.

Mark Hall told IBJ he has full written permission from the property owner (who leases the land to a farmer) to place signs there and remove them. He said his wife took down Schwartz's signs Saturday night because Schwartz didn’t have permission from the property owner to advertise there. She also removed a sign advertising a painting business and political signs belonging to judicial candidates, he said.

In an April 3 email to Mark Hall, Dr. Marc Zipper, who owns the land, wrote, “I will leave it up to you to decide whether the other signs should be taken down now. I do not want anything to happen to you if you have an agent remove them now."

Schwartz said he received permission from the farmer to put his signs at the location. He said his father set up a trail camera in the area after the campaign's signs were removed from the location on five occasions.

Hall said Schwartz had been told in person on April 14 that he didn't have permission to put signs on the property. He said Schwartz committed multiple trespass violations by putting up new signs.

The sheriff’s department forwarded its findings in the investigation to the prosecutor’s office, which reviewed the case. No criminal charges are forthcoming, the sheriff’s department said. Deputy Bryant Orem directed questions about the investigation’s outcome to the prosecutor’s office. 

The office could not immediately be reached for comment. 

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