Following dispute, county commissioner delivers plastic snake to auditor
What do you think of when you see a snake? Something slithery, slimey, potentially dangerous? In La Porte County, a snake may be a reminder of local government.
The La Porte County Commissioners meeting came to a halt, December 15, when county auditor Timothy Stabosz accused one of the commissioners of sending a not-so-subtle message, in the form of a toy snake.
Someone left an unmarked package outside the auditor's office. Inside, was a small, green, plastic snake.
“It feels dirty. It feels unclean. It feels vaguely threatening. What’s the message here? Who’s it coming from? Why don’t they want me to know who they are?,” Stabosz said, describing the moment he opened the package.
The auditor and commissioner Rich Mrozinski have been at odds over several local issues. But faced with accusations at the commissioners meeting, Mrozinski said it wasn't him.
Surveillance video from the rear alley behind the auditor's building, captured the night before the package was found, shows a man in a long-dark coat and baseball hat bringing the package inside the auditor's building.
At the same time, key card information shows commissioner Mrozinski gained access to the building.
"It's just vaguely threatening. Its partly amusing on one hand. So you don't know. So it's that uncertainty that creates a feeling of what I call diss-ease. It's an internal diss-ease,” Stabosz said.
In a phone call with ABC57, commissioner Mrozinski admitted to leaving the snake at the auditor's office. But Mrozinski claims someone else in the county government gave him the package and told him to deliver it. Mrozinski claims he never knew what was inside. When asked who handed him the package, Mrozinski wouldn’t tell.
The county auditor says he's filed a complaint with the La Porte County Sheriff's Office.