A Lake Forest councilman was charged with removing a competitor's campaign signs on public display early Wednesday.
Adam Nick, the Lake Forest mayor pro tem at the time of the crime, is accused of instructing a passenger to remove a campaign sign belonging to Councilman Scott Voigts, according to an email statement from the Orange County District Attorney's Office. He was caught with 10 more of Voigts' campaign signs when an Orange County deputy stopped him at a no parking zone early Wednesday morning.
Nick was charged with a misdemeanor count of petty theft and a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. He's also been charged with violating a Lake Forest Municipal Code section regarding campaign signs.
This is not Nick's first brush with the law regarding campaign sign tampering. The Orange Country Register reported he became a "person of interest" in October when other signs went missing. Here's how he responded to that allegation:
“They’re making something out of nothing,” Nick said.
But Voigts, who says he is missing 140 signs, said he believes Nick meant to harm his campaign efforts.
“I’m saddened and hurt that a fellow council member would be caught at that time in the morning with my campaign signs without my permission,” Voigts said. “He’s pledged to change the makeup of the council, and I take that as including me.”
In 2014, Nick amended the Lake Forest Sign Code to allow for harsher penalties for those who tamper with or remove campaign signs without permission and requested that a violation of this municipal code section be prosecutable as a misdemeanor.
He faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail, if convicted. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 2, 2015.