BUNKER HILL, Ind. – The town of Bunker Hill appears to be displeased with the town council after the police force walked off the job last week amid allegations of abuse and corruption on the part of the ruling body.
A former president of the Bunker Hill Town Council called for the resignation of two current council members Monday over concerns that their criminal history or association with felons made them biased against the town’s police department, reported the Kokomo Tribune.
Robert Cox made a formal request for the resignation of Louis Nino and Carl Wade Monday evening during a special meeting of the council. He suggests their corruption drove cops away, reported NYDailyNews.
The meeting was set to discuss hiring a new town marshal after the former marshal and his four volunteer deputies resigned last week, leaving the town without a police department.
Officers claimed financial mismanagement, preferential treatment, along with other illegal and unethical allegations.
During the public-comment period of the meeting, Cox asked Nino and Wade to resign due to “criminal arrest either personally or directly of a current spouse.”
Kokomo Tribune reported court documents showed Nino was arrested in February 2015 on misdemeanor charges of intimidation and theft, and entered into a pre-trial diversion contract in September 2015. The charges were dismissed in September 2016.
Additional court documents revealed Wade’s wife, Patricia, was found guilty of stealing over $53,000 in poor-relief funds from Pipe Creek Township in Miami County.
Patricia Wade was sentenced to two years of in-home detention and two years of probation. She was also sentenced to two years probation in the theft of life insurance claims.
Cox made a case against Nino and Wade, indicating the revelation warranted their resignations. “These council members have suffered direct arrest and/or felony convictions in the community,” he said. “This is directly putting the safety and security of citizens in Bunker Hill at risk due to bias opinions of law enforcement.”
Neither Nino nor Wade responded to Cox during the meeting.
Nino was appointed to the council earlier this year by the Miami County Democratic party. He said afterward that he had no intention of resigning his seat on the council.
“That will happen when there’s a real Santa Claus,” he said. “I’m not a chicken … I’m not going to sit here and take a pop-shot. What he said is true. I’m not denying that, nor do I want to.”
“I’m not a politician or perfect person … but I want to make sure we do something here in Bunker Hill,” Nino added. “If I’m wrong, let the court decide, not the court of public opinion.”
Nino also defended Wade, who left the meeting immediately after it adjourned and was not available for comment.
“It’s unfair for Carl to get something shot at him,” he said. “Carl didn’t get convicted of anything. In America, we give people a second chance.”
The resignation of the town’s entire police department last week drew national media attention. The call for Nino and Wade to step down seems to be a response to the negative publicity.
Andrea Newnum, Bunker Hill Clerk Treasurer, said that media attention has put the town in the crosshairs of disgruntled people from around the country expressing fierce opposition to the town council. She confirmed the town received about 100 emails and countless phone calls last week from people threatening violence to council members and their families.
“It was awful,” Newnum said. “The calls were absolutely disgusting.”
Newnum reported the threats to the FBI. “I just wanted them to be aware in case something happened, like our computers all get hacked,” she said. “I wanted to make them aware that this is going on, and it needs to stop. It’s not right.”
She said FBI officials have yet to inform her of any actions they might take.
The council is moving forward with hiring a new marshal. Council President Brock Speer said no one has applied for the position of interim town marshal. Yet Newnum said at least 50 people have applied for the permanent, part-time position of marshal. The applicants have come from as far away as Kentucky and Ohio, she said.
The council approved a paid, part-time position for a police deputy, according to Speer. Previously, all deputy positions had been unpaid volunteers. “We will act as quickly as we possibly can on getting a new marshal in here so we have our police department back,” he said.