MILWAUKEE - A police chief in a western Wisconsin town created accounts on pornographic and dating websites under the name of a local Tea Party advocate to even a score with him, court records showed.
Town of Campbell Police Chief Timothy Kelemen set up accounts under Gregory Luce's name after he and fellow Tea Party members allegedly harassed Kelemen's department after it banned their protest signs on overpasses, a police report filed in a federal court case showed.
According to the report, Kelemen retaliated by using Luce's personal information to create identities on dating websites, pornography websites featuring homosexual men and healthcare.gov.
"I'm like, all right, buddy, you cause us a hassle, we're going to cause you a hassle," Kelemen said in a video clip posted on the La Crosse Tea Party website, showing an interview investigators did with him in May. Campbell borders on La Crosse.
"I'm not denying I did it ... I didn't think it was that big of a deal," he added.
Monroe County District Attorney Kevin Croninger was not available for comment. Kelemen was placed on administrative leave on June 12, town board minutes showed. Attorneys for Kelemen and Luce were not immediately available for comment.
The rift started in August 2013 when Luce and Tea Party members began holding protests on a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 90, where they hung banners on a fence above a local highway, a court document showed.
During a September town board meeting, Kelemen said the signs created a distraction for motorists, minutes showed. On Oct. 8, board members approved an ordinance banning signs on overpasses.
On Oct. 24, police told Tea Party members wearing T-shirts that spelled out "Impeach Obama" to get off the overpass. Three days later, Tea Party member Nicholas Newman was cited for waving an American Flag on the overpass, according to a letter by Newman's and Luce's lawyer, Bernardo Cueto.
Kelemen told investigators that the local Tea Party group took revenge by orchestrating a phone campaign, resulting in his department receiving 300 to 400 calls a day. He also told investigators that Luce hacked into the department's computers and that town officers received death threats.
"I got officers afraid to go on calls," Kelemen said in the video.
In January, Luce and Newman filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. district court in Madison, Wisconsin, against Kelemen and police officer Nathan Casper, accusing them of violating their free speech rights.