Collecting unpaid fines for late campaign finance reports is proving to be a challenge for the Starke County Election Board. During last week’s meeting, it was learned that former Coroner Dannie Hoffer Jr. still hadn’t paid his $150 fine. Election officials said the matter was sent to small claims court, but Hoffer apparently refused to sign for the documents when he was notified by certified mail.
Board Member Harrison Fields made a motion to have the Sheriff’s Department hand-deliver the notice, but Clerk Bernadette Welter Manuel had another idea. “My thought is, since we are getting the publicity that we are getting right now, I would like to see the board not excuse the fine, but stop collection proceedings,” she said, “and if he ever comes back to us wanting to run for public office again, if he wants to run again, then he must pay this fine, and until he pays this fine, then he can’t run for public office.]
But the rest of the election board pointed out that this was the second time that Hoffer was late in turning in his finance report. The motion to have the Sheriff’s Department hand-deliver the notice initially got a vote of two-to-one, with Welter Manuel opposing, but it passed unanimously when a second vote was taken.
Hoffer previously blamed his late paperwork on health issues stemming from a September car accident.