Residency Challenge against Sen. Waltz

Annie Goeller and Michele Holtkamp-Frye are reporting for the Johnson County Daily Journal that there a residency challenge has been filed against Sen. Waltz (R-Greenwood). Unfortunately, the article is behind a subscription wall.

Sen. Brent Waltz’s opponent in this year’s Republican primary [Mike Beeles] is challenging whether Waltz lives in the condominium he rents and instead argues that he lives with his parents in their White River Township home, which is outside Senate District 36.

Waltz denies the allegations, saying that his neighbors haven’t seen him because he gets home late and leaves early; and that his electric bill is only $17 per month because he keeps his thermostat low. A Duke Energy employee said that $17 per month is about the cost to keep a refrigerator running.

In his challenge, Beeles said he knows the condominium is vacant by looking into the windows, the mailbox says the unit is vacant and that the senator lives at his parents’ Center Grove area home.

Beeles is challenging Waltz on the issue because many people seem to know that Waltz doesn’t live in the district, yet no one has ever confronted him on the issue, he said.

“It’s illegal,” Beeles said. “If I have to follow the rules, he has to too.”

On the one hand, the reported facts make Waltz’s story sound fishy. On the other hand, who wants to side with creepy, stalker guy?

Comments

  1. Brenda says

    “It’s illegal,” Beeles said. “If I have to follow the rules, he has to too.”

    Isn’t looking in someone’s windows illegal?

  2. Jason says

    I spent some time working with Sen. Waltz when I worked in Indianapolis. I think the comment I said to a co-worker after our first visit with him was:

    “That guy could talk you into supporting your daughter’s Playboy photo shoot and make you think it was your idea.” I don’t buy one second of his story.

    To answer Brenda’s question, I don’t think it is. Assuming stalker guy was standing on public property, he can look anywhere he wants to. At least that is what they told me in photo school…

  3. Brenda says

    Jason said:

    Assuming stalker guy was standing on public property, he can look anywhere he wants to.

    I can go with that, but unless it’s dark outside and the lights are on inside (which, I’m guessing isn’t the case here), you typically can’t see enough of the inside of someone’s house from public property to tell they aren’t living there.

  4. Jason says

    My previous house had a picture window facing south. The sun would shine into it most of the day, and I could see my family as I pulled into the driveway with no lights on in the house.

    I’m not saying that I think this is LIKELY, but it can’t be ruled out.

  5. Joe says

    Is it illegal to look into a vacant house? I mean, yes, it’s trespassing … but I find it hard to believe Waltz has suffered harm to anything save his ego.

    Waltz’s district has many of the same folks who re-elect Woody Burton … so they don’t have high standards for quality. Throw in that Waltz is the nephew of Greenwood mayor Charlie Henderson, and this is Beeles’ best chance to win the district.

    I suspect Beeles is right, but the Election committee will swallow their whistle and look the other way. I hope they don’t.

  6. Brenda says

    For the record, I have no problem at all with someone calling Waltz out on the issue… I just thought Beeles’s “I looked in the windows” comment was… a bit creepy (and how did he get ahold of Waltz’s electric bill?). I have no idea how you would legally go about determining whether or not someone actually abides at a residence.

  7. Brenda says

    Per the IBJ article:

    The unit used an average of $17 a month in electricity last year, enough to run a refrigerator, Duke Energy told the newspaper.

    How do we parse that? Did Duke Energy tell the newspaper that Waltz’s bills were an average of $17/month? Or did they tell the newspaper that $17/month is enough to run a refrigerator?

  8. says

    The Johnson County article says:

    And Duke Energy records show an average electric bill of $17 per month for 2007, which is about the amount required to operate a refrigerator, a company employee said.

    So, Duke energy records; employee commenting on the charge and its relation to powering a refrigerator.

  9. Branden Robinson says

    Jason:

    You wrote:

    “That guy could talk you into supporting your daughter’s Playboy photo shoot and make you think it was your idea.”

    Imagine how much better the world would be if such powers of persuasion weren’t used for evil (like legislative log-rolling), but for good…like talking people into supporting their daughter’s Playboy photo shoot and making them think it was their idea.

  10. T says

    The challenger, being Republican, is probably familiar with voter caging. He should have just sent mail to the address and seen if it was returned undelivered. If he was having it forwarded, then send something certified. Then he could have not only disqualified the guy as a candidate, but he could have challenged his right to vote, too.

  11. Former Reporter says

    Assuming his electric meter is on the outside of his house (and most are), you could determine the amount of electricity used by simply reading the meter on the same day every month and noting the changes. Duke’s per/unit residential rate can be easily obtained with a call to the IURC. Then do the math. Once you have that number (in this case, apparently $17) you could call Duke energy and ask how many appliances an average residential customer could run on $17 worth of electricity in a month.

    I’d be surprised if Duke would talk about someone’s bill to a reporter (unless it was the reporter’s bill). But they would likely have no problem generically estimating what you could do with $17 worth of electricity.

  12. Pila says

    Lemming: that’s funny! Did he becomed an oil painting, a watercolor, or an assemblage upon graduation? :)

    Wouldn’t reading the electric meter involve trespassing, unless you are a meter reader employed by the electric utility? My electric meter is on the house, next to the back door. There is no way someone could read it without walking into the back yard–and I don’t have a huge yard. Maybe a powerful zoom lens would help, but still I do wonder how the person obtained the information about the electric usage.

  13. Former Reporter says

    Judging from what little of the story I’ve seen, the reporters gathered information about the senator’s condo from neighbors. You’d be surprised how informative a nosey neighbor can be.

    It wouldn’t look particularly suspicious if a neighbor read the meter (though it may still be trespassing). And I don’t know the geography of his condo building, but if it is in a multi-tenant building, electric meters are sometimes grouped together to make reading the meters easier. Anyone in the same building would have legitimate access to all the meters.

    It’s also possible that a political enemy of Waltz’s works at Duke (or has a friend who works there) who slipped him the readings. And sometimes interesting documents just show up in the mail at a newspaper, especially when people find out you’re working on a certain story.

    However they got the readings, it appears Waltz is not contesting their validity. Instead, he offers explanations for why the electic usage is so low.

  14. Pila says

    Thanks for the information, Former Reporter. If Waltz doesn’t reside in his district, then there is a legitimate issue, no doubt. There is still a creepiness factor to this story, though.

  15. Joe says

    Here’s an update from today’s paper – Waltz is filing charges against him.

    By early next week, Waltz plans to file a police report alleging the crimes and to get a restraining order to keep Beeles away from him and his residence.

    “There is a real safety concern here,” Waltz said.

    “Following somebody around for a two-month period, late at night presumably, is stalking. Going onto a person’s residence with a ladder is voyeurism,” Waltz said.

    “You just can’t do that.”

    Unfortunately for Beeles, sounds like Waltz is calling in his favors:

    When Beeles presents his evidence, he’ll be admitting under oath that he committed a crime, Waltz said.

    “Running for public office does not allow people to put ladders up against your window, peer inside and take photographs of the inside of your home,” Waltz said.

    Waltz hopes that Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner will call a grand jury to determine what, if any, criminal charges, should be filed.

    That process can be important when public officials are involved to avoid any appearance of impropriety. The prosecutor also could decide on his own to file a criminal charge or decline a charge after a police investigation.

    Waltz has consulted his attorney and will file a report with Greenwood police. But his uncle, Charles Henderson, is the mayor of Greenwood, so Waltz isn’t sure if Greenwood police would investigate or forward the case to the Indiana State Police.

    However, there’s still the minor issue of Beeles being right:

    Earlier this week, Waltz called Beeles’ challenge of his residency nothing more than a political ploy because Beeles doesn’t have any real campaign issues to raise.

    Now, Beeles is calling Waltz’s claim of victimization a tactic to avoid addressing the issue of whether he lives where he says he does and that he had no intent to stalk him.

    “If he feels threatened, then I apologize,” Beeles said. “But he’s got to face the truth, that he’s lied to the people who voted him in, and he’s being checked on it right now.”

    And the smoking gun:

    Waltz would not provide utility bills as proof of his residency or allow a reporter to inspect the condominium earlier this week.

    My dream is that neither of the guys should be on the ballot – one’s a liar, one’s a stalker.

  16. says

    Waltz’s purported safety concerns seem to drop quite a bit if he doesn’t actually live at the subject residence. Lots of evidence on that point could presumably be compelled from Waltz if Beeles was facing a criminal charge on the matter. Deposing Waltz could be a lot of fun, especially if, as rumor has it, there are skeletons in Waltz’s closet.

  17. Joe says

    Doug, I’m afraid I may have left out some stuff that would change your perception. I’m trying to just quote what is needed:

    To get evidence to back up his claim, Beeles followed Waltz at night about five times over a two-month period and used a ladder to be able to see into Waltz’s condominium in the Greenwood Maples community, Beeles said.

    Those actions constitute stalking and voyeurism, Waltz said.

    By early next week, Waltz plans to file a police report alleging the crimes and to get a restraining order to keep Beeles away from him and his residence.

    “There is a real safety concern here,” Waltz said.

    Stalking is repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened, according to Indiana law.

    Voyeurism, as defined by law, occurs when a person goes upon the land of another person with the intent to peep into an occupied dwelling of another person or peeps into an area where an occupant reasonably can be expected to disrobe. If the person uses a camera, voyeurism becomes a Class D felony.

    Peeping is any looking of a clandestine, surreptitious, prying or secretive nature, according to the law.

    “Following somebody around for a two-month period, late at night presumably, is stalking. Going onto a person’s residence with a ladder is voyeurism,” Waltz said.

    “You just can’t do that.”

    Beeles believes that Waltz doesn’t live in the condo he rents and instead lives with his parents, which is outside the senate district he was elected to represent.

    Earlier this week, Waltz called Beeles’ challenge of his residency nothing more than a political ploy because Beeles doesn’t have any real campaign issues to raise.

    Now, Beeles is calling Waltz’s claim of victimization a tactic to avoid addressing the issue of whether he lives where he says he does and that he had no intent to stalk him.

    “If he feels threatened, then I apologize,” Beeles said. “But he’s got to face the truth, that he’s lied to the people who voted him in, and he’s being checked on it right now.”

    In his challenge, Beeles said he knows the condominium is vacant by looking into the windows. He also said the mailbox says the unit is vacant and that the senator lives at his parents’ Center Grove area home.

    Beeles said he used a stepladder and a camera with a zoom to look into the condominium Waltz leases to take pictures. He said he saw an empty kitchen, empty living room and two chairs in the dining room.

    He wasn’t trying to spy on Waltz; he was trying to prove that the home is vacant, he said.

    “I didn’t touch the condo,” Beeles said.

    He also has tried to follow Waltz to see where he sleeps at night. During a two-month period, he found him going to his parents’ Center Grove area home late at night on five occasions, he said.

    He said he figured out what Waltz drives and followed him after they passed on the street.

    His actions are not stalking because he had no intent to stalk and Waltz didn’t even know he was there, Beeles said.

    So I’m going to guess Waltz will drop the voyeurism idea real quick – because Beeles has the proof it was an unoccupied residence on camera, and if a judge agrees and says “You don’t live there”, it would seem to me it makes the ballot question an open & shut case. Waltz can’t take that chance.

    However, the following Waltz around sure seems like stalking to me. Waltz is trying to make it sound like a continuous two month stalking case, I suspect it was actually just five times over a two month period.

    Flip side is, if Beeles had hired a private investigator, does that make it any different? What Beeles has done seems like what a PI would have done, at least on the surface.

  18. Peter says

    Filing charges is a mistake, especially voyeurism charges, since it would require Waltz to admit under oath whether the condo was occupied. Yet another reason why the deposition would be fun.

    I did some stalking cases in my previous life, and they are pretty hard to prove. If – as seems to be the case – Waltz didn’t know about being followed until Beeles admitted it, it doesn’t sound like he was subjected to a pattern of harassment that terrorized him and that would terrorize a reasonable person.

  19. Hoosier 1st says

    Speaking of closets, I think Mr Waltz would be best to prove quickly that he occupies that place.. and allow the reporter to find certain items to bely a lot of the other reports about him. Frankly, in this day and age, I can’t understand why he wouldn’t be living on his own. Why don’t any of these politicians learn? Wasn’t a city councilman from Indy recently kicked off due to residency? That woulda been my first clue to get my house in order, so to speak.

  20. Joe says

    Are you kidding? He probably thinks he can skate on this because his Uncle Charlie runs Greenwood like his own personal fiefdom. One of Charlie’s famous quotes is “There are two sets of laws – one for my friends, and one for everyone else.” He’s a menace.

    And he will skate – as best I can tell, coming off the ballot would require a Republican to join two Democrats in finding him in violation – a tie vote means nothing. I’d be stunned if he was off the ballot.

  21. Pila says

    Why not at least get more furniture, spend the night at the condo on occasion, run up the electric bill, etc.? I mean, if you’re gonna pull a fast one, do it right! ;-)

  22. Deana G. says

    Don’t believe everything you read in the news paper, I know Mike Beeles very well and he is not stupid, I have seen the condo myself and it is empty, Taking pictures of a empty condo is not illegal, I know he has not followed Mr. Waltz, but the Journal News has and related that information over to Mr. Beeles, He was told on Wednesday what kind of car Mr. Waltz drives, and that information came from the journal, Mike has his information that he needs and Waltz is scared, Terry Rice the democrat knew of this 4 years ago and was not able to do anything about it do to the time limit. Mike is a family man and is very upfront about everything.

  23. Mike Beeles says

    I’m Mike Beeles, The information that you have been reading are the words of the daily journal, the journal has been working on this issue for about a month, most of the information that I got was from the Journal, I have not followed him and it was on tuesday that I was told what kind of car he was driving, and that came from the daily journal, the Journal ask me how many times was I aware of him being followed, I know of 5 or 6 times.
    I did go by his parents house to see what district they lived in, I did take pictures of a empty apartment, that was after I talked with the other residents about the apartment which they told me it was empty, the Duke bill information came from the journal, I’m not a staker, all the evidence I have been made aware of,points to the fact he does not live there, as well as his neighbors, the apartment, sorry, Condo is about a half block from my house.
    you may ask away if you like, some things I may not be able to anwser.

    Thanks Mike

  24. says

    See, this is one of the things I really like about having a blog — occasionally people who actually know what is going on drop by to give first hand accounts.

    It also serves as a reminder that, when I’m holding forth about something I’ve read in the newspaper, it’s not the same as offering opinions about the latest work of fiction I’ve read. There are real people involved.

  25. Mike Beeles says

    They were given to my attorney, we are work on the case for the Indiana Election Commission, right now I want the news media to convince him in to showing the condo and prove to all of us that he realing lives there. he won’t and because I know it’s empty, the part that bugs me the most and maybe you all can help out, why, in every statement that he gives he states that he has a gun permit, a passport that relate to him living there???????
    I will be watching for any reply

    Thanks Mike

  26. says

    Yeah, those confuse me too. Presumably the issuing authorities for those things simply trusted his representation that he lived where he said he lived. They would seem to prove nothing. If, as you are saying, he doesn’t live there; the issuing authorities for the gun permit, passport, etc. would presumably take a negative view of any misrepresentations he would have made on his applications.

  27. Pila says

    Maybe he’s trying to say he wouldn’t have lied to the state or the feds in order to obtain a gun permit and a passport. Admittedly, it’s a lousy defense, but when you don’t have a leg to stand on, you’ll offer up anything and hope that people don’t think about it too much.

  28. Brenda says

    I’m lost…what does where you live have to do with a passport at all? Your address isn’t on it; you don’t get a new one when you move; you don’t report a change of address to the passport agency. In fact, at least as recent as three years ago (my last passport was issued in April ’04) the instructions say to write in your contact info in pencil.
    I don’t know anything about gun permits – are you supposed to inform the permitting agency when you move?

  29. Brenda says

    Mike,

    A bit of well-intentioned advice… when you post to the Internet, your response may be there for a LONG time. It would be wise to run it through a word processor first for grammar and spelling and then copy and paste it into the response window. I freely admit I’m guilty of mistakes and typos myself, but I’m not running for public office.

  30. Jason says

    Brenda,

    Good advice for Mike. I’m glad I’m not running for office, I’m sure I’ll even have spelling mistakes in this post.

    My personal protection (gun) permit says the following:

    “You are REQUIRED BY LAW to notify the State Police within 60 days of a change of your name and/or address.”

    (caps were from the permit)

  31. Brenda says

    Jason,
    Ha – you can bet I ran *that* post through the carwash (uh.. word processor).

    So Waltz’s gun permit comment does pertain. If this goes south on him, it opens him up to another stream of investigation (penalty?).

    The disconnect between Beeles’s comments above and the vibe many of us got from the various media articles (including those of the Journal) is very interesting. Leaves you with the feeling that parts of the story were left on the cutting room floor.

  32. Lisa says

    I work with his former girlfriend and she had previously said how it was odd that he still lived with his parents. After this story came out, she said that he uses that condo for storage and all his mail goes to a post office box.

  33. Mike Beeles says

    Sorry forks, been busy with the inside portion of the issues with my attorney, going to court, filed yesterday in Johnson County, getting ready for March 12th with the Indiana Election Commission. plus been busy getting our campaign on the right track

    LISA, contact me via my e-mail at msbeeles@yahoo.com I would like to talk with his ex-girlfriend.

    Thanks Mike

  34. Branden Robinson says

    Becky wrote:

    What kind of grammer can you expect from a high school drop out?

    The kind that’s comparable to the spelling we can expect from Becky?

    /grins, ducks, and runs

  35. Joe says

    An update:

    A state senator has not proved that his challenger in Tuesday’s election stalked or harassed him, a judge has decided.

    When Mike Beeles peered into Sen. Brent Waltz’s second-floor condominium patio door, he was conducting a reasonable investigation into whether Waltz lived where he claimed, Judge Brian H. Williams determined.

    On Friday, after hearing more than two hours of testimony on the case the previous day, Williams determined that Beeles had not shown a repeated pattern of stalking and denied Waltz’s request for a permanent protective order from Beeles. The order that had been in effect was ended.

    Waltz and Beeles face off in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the District 36 seat in the Indiana Senate, which Waltz has held for four years. Beeles claimed earlier this year that Waltz doesn’t live in the Greenwood Maples condominium he lists as his address and filed a challenge with the Indiana Election Commission.

    The commission determined that Beeles didn’t have enough evidence to support his challenge.

    Williams, however, noted in his ruling that photos Beeles had taken earlier this year “depict a unit that appears uninhabited.”

    Looks like Beeles had the right idea, should have just hired a PI to do it.

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