MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County auditor candidate Conni McChesney had yard signs placed on the former HPM property with permission from current property owner Ted Bloom of Warren, Ohio; but on March 25 she found her signs next to her parking space at Morrow County Hospital where she serves as controller. She contacted Morrow County Sheriff John Hinton.

After obtaining permission from Bloom on March 14, McChesney’s signs were placed the evening of March 24.

After speaking to Sheriff Hinton Friday, McChesney contacted Bloom to review the permission he had previously given her. His text response read,”Please do not put any signs up.” She remains confused as to why he initially gave permission and then rescinded it.

At the time of this report, the Sentinel has not spoken with the property owner.

Hospital security video showed Morrow County Commissioner Tom Whiston placing the signs he removed from the HPM property by her hospital parking space.

Sheriff Hinton’s report explains that he saw the messages between McChesney and Bloom, and the hospital security video.

In his report Hinton wrote, “I then made contact with Tom Whiston by telephone… I asked Tom if he had removed some campaign signs from HPM. He admitted that he did at the request of the property owner.”

The report further states that Whiston said he would have advised McChesney herself to remove them but she was not at the Central Committee meeting he attended.

“I explained to Tom that he should not have touched her signs regardless if the property owner had requested them to be removed,” the report said.

McChesney showed Hinton the texts from Bloom telling her she could no longer display her signs at the property. Hinton then received a message from Whiston “telling me the issue had been resolved.”

Sheriff Hinton made contact with the Morrow County Board of Elections to make them aware of an issue involving candidates in a local election. He also contacted Prosecutor Thomas Smith to make him aware of the incident.

When asked if she wanted to see charges filed, McChesney responded, “No, that is not how I do things. I did file a report with Sheriff Hinton. He had contacted the Board of Elections and contacted Prosecutor Smith. My understanding is it could be considered theft? I think only a candidate or property owner can remove signs. My understanding is that Tom said he had permission. The signs were not even up for 2 hours before he removed them.”

Penny Porter of the Morrow County Board of Elections when described the incident stated, “I would say they [Whiston] shouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do that if I was the candidate. It wouldn’t reflect well on me as a candidate.”

“I got into this race for county auditor because the people in the county deserve serious, competent leaders who act with and treat people with integrity,” McChesney said in an email to the Sentinel. “I want to talk about the issues that people actually care about and focus on the job I’m running to do. Instead, we have to deal with nonsense like this. Our county deserves so much better from our leaders. My focus remains on getting our positive vision for the auditor’s office out to the public and working to deliver the change in leadership the people of this county so desperately need and deserve.”

Morrow County Commissioner Tom Whiston’s campaign sign is displayed at the former HPM property on April 2 after opposition candidate Conni McChesney’s were removed. County Commissioner Tom Whiston’s campaign sign is displayed at the former HPM property on April 2 after opposition candidate Conni McChesney’s were removed.

By Rhonda Bletner

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