Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Light Shines On GOP Chairman's Domestic Dispute

A domestic dispute involving Allen Co. GOP Chairman Steve Shine and his wife that has been the buzz of some Fort Wayne area blogs for the past couple of weeks has made its way into the mainstream media. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Benjamin Lanka is reporting that the Allen Co. Prosecutor Karen Richards has asked for a special prosecutor to investigate the domestic battery case dating back to November 9, shortly after the election. A state police report seemed to shed very little light on the incident. Lanka reported:

State police investigators determined Shine reached into a vehicle in an attempt to turn it off and broke the key off in the ignition, their report said. Police did not determine what – if any – force was used during the episode, but no weapons were used, the report said. No one was arrested.

One officer with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department was sent to Shine’s home that day, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Stone said. The state police also sent an officer who arrived about the same time as the county officer, Stone said.

Ken Fries, the sheriff’s department’s chief deputy, asked the state police to respond and handle the investigation to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, Stone said.

Fries, a Republican, was elected the county’s next sheriff just a few days earlier and didn’t want his department involved, so he asked a neutral party to investigate, Stone said.

Fort Wayne police were also alerted. City dispatch logs show that police were called at 10:11 a.m. Nov. 9.

Sgt. Rodger Popplewell, state police spokesman, said that state police forwarded the results of their completed investigation to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office last week. Niedzwiecki said the police report was received Nov. 22.

Shine told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel a little more than he told Lanka, which added further intrigue to what exactly happened at his home on November 9 between he and his wife. Explaining that nobody's life is like Ozzie and Harriet of TV 50's fame, the New-Sentinel writes:

“That’s all I can tell you at this time.” Shine said the incident was the result of “frayed nerves” over a disagreement with his wife. But, he said, no domestic violence occurred. Shine said his wife has since recanted any allegation of physical abuse. Beth Shine declined comment . . .

Shine said the challenges facing his family are no different than anything others have dealt with.

“I want the public to know how challenging it can be for families: finances, children’s problems, drugs,” he said. “Family values are important … but life isn’t perfect. I have yet to find an Ozzie and Harriet. This is part of life.”

Shine said he went home around 10 a.m. Nov. 9 to discuss several issues with his wife of nearly 25 years. She attempted to leave in a vehicle, and during the incident, the car key broke off in the ignition, Shine said.

As a family-law attorney, Shine said his experiences have helped him cope with his own crises. As a result, he said, his performance as party chairman has been unaffected by his personal problems.

A blog for the Allen County Democratic Party is more direct than Shine in describing alleged events of that day. Allen County Democratic Chairman Keith Knuth has been dogging the media over this issue for the past couple of weeks. He is particularly upset at the runaround he's gotten to public records request concerning the incident from local law enforcement. Knuth was also perturbed with Shine for raising questions to local media about Knuth's past arrest for check deception, which Knuth explains on the Allen County Democratic blog.


Anonymous said...

Thre is a ex-parte order for protection granted on November 28, 2006 filed by Steven Shine, a family attorne. The hearing is scheduled on December 21, 2006 at 1:00 p.m.

Anonymous said...

There is a ex-parte order for protection granted on November 28, 2006 filed by Steven Shine, a family attorney. The hearing is scheduled on December 21, 2006 at 1:00 p.m.