Vote-buying in Utica?

Utica police report $100 bill fastened to anti-incumbent flier

Utica police are reporting a possible buy-your-vote effort ahead of Tuesday’s elections after a village resident reported getting an unsolicited $100 bill attached to an anti-incumbent flier.

Sunday, village police issued a report compiled after investigation begun Saturday when they were alerted to a resident finding currency and a campaign flier inserted into his doorway.

Sgt. Robert Stone said he made contact with Michael Sharp at Sharp’s residence in Ridgeview Estates (the Burgess subdivision). Sharp said he took his wife to work in Ottawa and “when he returned home he found a campaign flier and a $100 bill in his door.”

“He (Sharp) stated that after he checked to see if the bill was real, he found that it was,” Stone wrote. “He advised that he does not know who put it there but believes someone was trying to influence him to vote for a particular candidate.”

Sharp later supplied a picture of the flier to Utica police. The photos depict a $100 bill affixed diagonally across a multi-colored flier saying, “Utica deserves better. It’s time for a change.”

On the rear of the sign is a series of select responses to a reported survey conducted of Utica residents, each expressing disapproval with the current regime. The flier is unsigned, save for a small-print disclaimer that reads, “This message is not affiliated with, approved by, funded by or otherwise related to any campaign.”

Utica Police Chief Rodney Damron said Sunday he was unaware of any additional fliers attached to currency of any denomination.

Utica has a contested mayoral race – incumbent David Stewart versus challenger Tracy Mix – plus five candidates (three incumbents, two challengers) vying for three open seats on the Utica Village Board.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins covers criminal justice in La Salle County.