A Genoa business owner and candidate for a village council seat has made a request for copies of files in the computers used by the village police chief and administrator.
Through his attorney, Eric Hise, owner of the Bharmacy, 621 Main Street, sent a letter dated Oct. 19 to Mayor Mark Williams requesting copies of the memories in the computers of the chief and administrator going back to January, 2008.
Mayor Williams last Tuesday said he hadn’t seen the request but acknowledged it may have arrived at the town hall after he last checked his mail.
Hise said his request is unrelated to a lawsuit he filed in December, 2008 against Mayor Williams, Chief Randy Hill, and a village police officer, alleging the mayor directed the police department to harass his business.
“I want to see exactly what they as town employees have been doing with our public money,” Hise said. “If they’re doing everything by the rules they should have no problem with the request.”
He also said his intent wasn’t to interfere with legitimate village business and wasn’t requesting sensitive investigative information that may be on police files.
It is the second time this year Hise, who is one of 10 persons running for four seats on council, has made a request for village records. In July, he asked for copies of Chief Hill’s employment contract and application but said village officials initially said they were unable to locate the documents he requested.
“It took a lot of pushing and pulling. After 10 days and putting the request in writing the fiscal officer was finally able to get it for me,” Hise said.
Mayor Williams said information was compiled for Hise after the village received his request in July and presented it to him but Hise initially refused to accept the material.
Hill was appointed chief in October, 2008.
According to the police department’s report for the fourth quarter of that year, it implemented a “new initiative that helps promote a positive relationship with the community. Under this program, officers exit their patrols cars and walk into businesses, restaurants, offices and interact with the business employees and patrons. This gives the police department a visible presence in the community, helps deter crime, and helps build bonds with business owners, employees, patrons, and other citizens.”
The department conducted 507 checks of business and 361 checks at establishments with liquor permits, the report says.
Hise’s lawsuit claimed a uniformed officer would repeatedly enter the Bharmacy without a warrant or a legitimate complaint. Police officers would also park their patrol cruisers in front of the business “for long periods of time without any just cause for the sole purpose of harassing the plaintiff and driving off his business,” the lawsuit says.
In March, Hise’s attorney filed for a voluntary dismissal of the case.
Last week, Hise said the objective of the lawsuit was to stop the village from “singling us out.”
“If they’re going to have a policy have it for everybody,” he said. “I had 17 visits, others had one and I’m only open three days a week.”