Sheriff's challenger declines donation from York City CEO
The CEO of two York City businesses — whom York County's sheriff let park in a secure judicial center garage — tried to donate to the election campaign of the man running to unseat the three-term sheriff, but the donation was declined.
Shane Becker confirmed that Bill Hynes — CEO of Think Loud Development LLC and United Fiber & Data — sent Becker's campaign a $250 donation via PayPal last month. Becker is running against Sheriff Rich Keuerleber.
Becker said he and those involved with his campaign first checked to see if the William Hynes sending the donation was the same man Keuerleber allowed to park in a secure garage under the York County Judicial Center used by judges and other elected officials.
After confirming it, Becker declined to accept the donation and instead refunded the donation through PayPal, he said.
"I just thought there was too much controversy around him," Becker told The York Dispatch. "I did not want to be tied to any type of controversy or possible claims of obligation toward him."
Hynes also confirmed that his donation to Becker's election campaign was returned, saying he never donated to Keuerleber's reelection campaigns and that Think Loud donated money for the sheriff's office to buy K-9 Dargo for "the safety and security" of York County residents.
"I wanted to support Shane Becker, because I didn't like the way the current Sheriff handled the situation regarding my entrance to the courthouse," Hynes wrote in an emailed statement. Click on the link below to read his full statement.
Hynes tried to donate to Becker's campaign because Becker, through his campaign, "said he is going to be a sheriff 'for all the people of York County,'" the email states.
CEO responds: "I guess he should put in a disclaimer of, I'm for all the people of York County that's never made a mistake in their life," Hynes wrote. "Instead, he too has proven he is partial and (would) rather have one side of the story. He has proven he won't be a candidate for ALL THE PEOPLE."
The mistake to which Hynes is referring is his 2010 felony theft by deception conviction in Northampton County.
Becker, a registered Republican, ran against Keuerleber in May's GOP primary election and narrowly lost. But he received enough write-in votes on the Democratic ticket to challenge Keuerleber in the Nov. 5 general election, on the Democratic ticket.
Hynes said he doesn't support Keuerleber either, saying the sheriff's reaction to being questioned about his decision regarding Hynes' entrance to the courthouse "came across with a 'I'll do what I want' mentality and seemed offended his authority was even questioned."
The York County commissioners issued a public statement calling the move a serious security breach that "allowed a defendant with an active Ex Parte Protection from Abuse Order against him to park in a secure area. By admission of the Sheriff, the formal security protocols were not followed."
Keuerleber responded on Wednesday, Oct. 16, saying, "I've been totally transparent from the beginning. I've taken full responsibility for this incident and continue to review and make positive enhancements to the (judicial center's) security for the safety of all."
The sheriff has previously said he didn't violate any policies or procedures.
"It's within my discretion ... to make exceptions to searches and screenings of persons entering the facility," he has said.
What Hynes recalls: Hynes' recollection of events from that day differs in some respects from what Keuerleber has told reporters.
"If he had just told the truth he wouldn't be in the situation he is in today," Hynes wrote.
Keuerleber has said he received a text July 15 from deputy Lt. David Godfrey, asking whether Hynes could park in the secure lot. The sheriff said he approved the request.
The sheriff in July told The York Dispatch that Hynes was going to visit with K-9 Dargo prior to attending a hearing on a protection from abuse order request in which Hynes was the defendant.
The sheriff has said he's allowed Hynes to park in the secure lot in the past to see Dargo, who was bought with money donated to the sheriff's office by Think Loud Development.
Keuerleber said he met Hynes in the lot and escorted him to the portion of the sheriff's office that's located on the fourth floor of the judicial center, where Godfrey, who is Dargo's handler, took over escorting Hynes.
Hynes then left the fourth-floor office through the public door leading into the judicial center to attend the hearing, the sheriff has said.
Not a social call: Hynes maintains he didn't go to the judicial center to visit Dargo.
"Due to the crazy allegations I was facing, the sheriff decided that it was a good idea to keep both parties of that civil matter separate," Hynes wrote. "He didn't want both of us going into the same entrance ... to avoid any contact between the two parties. ... He also knew the plaintiff, so he had a great familiarity with both parties."
Hynes maintains that after walking in the back door, he was patted down and sniffed by Dargo and a second K-9, made to turn over his car keys and escorted by an armed deputy. Members of the public don't have to turn over their keys or have K-9 dogs sniff them.
People who enter through the front door of the judicial center are required to empty their pockets and have their bags and other belongings X-rayed, and they also must pass through a metal detector.
"I asked the Sheriff why the fuss, and he said, 'Well, Bill you have some serious allegations against you and I have to make sure that the plaintiff and defendant are safe,'" Hynes wrote.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.