News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 27, 2007

Depositions start Wednesday in Terre Haute mayoral challenge suit

TERRE HAUTE — Attorneys for Mayor Kevin Burke this morning will depose a top official at Mayor-elect Duke Bennett’s employer in a case challenging the recently-elected politician’s candidacy.

Burke’s attorneys expect to elicit sworn testimony during a deposition with Galen Goode, the chief executive officer of Hamilton Center, Inc., where Bennett is the director of operations. After Bennett defeated Burke by 107 votes in the election earlier this month, Burke contested the results and Bennett’s candidacy based on the Hatch Act.

The federal law limits the political activity of employees in some government agencies and certain not-for-profits, depending on the federal funding they receive. The Hamilton Center receives federal funding for its Head Start program.

A motion filed Tuesday by Bennett’s attorney, James Bopp, Jr., states that Goode was served with a subpoena for deposition, and includes a copy of the correspondence. In the subpoena addressed to Hamilton Center, the recipient is commanded to produce several different kinds of documents, including those that describe Bennett’s job duties, those referencing the Hatch Act and political activity, and any correspondence referencing or from the Office of Special Counsel.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel investigates Hatch Act complaints for the federal government.

The documentation Bopp filed was a motion to terminate the deposition based on previously filed motions to dismiss Burke’s challenge and a recount petition. Bopp said Tuesday that the three motions were denied.

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or

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