A candidate seeking an Illinois House seat says his wife was followed from Troy to Fairview Heights by a private detective, and he suspects involvement by the incumbent, state Rep. Charlie Meier.
Meier said the accusation is nonsense.
Don Moore, of Troy, is running in the Republican primary March 20 against Meier, who is from Okawville and has represented House District 108 since his first election in 2012.
"I believe a distinct line has been crossed, whenever a private investigator is following my wife," Moore said in an interview Saturday. "As a husband and father, I take that personally and seriously."
Meier on Saturday said he has not hired anyone to follow the Moores, nor has anyone affiliated with his campaign.
"I didn't hire a private detective. I did not do it," Meier said. "If I was going to hire one, why would I follow his wife? That’s just wrong. That is just very wrong."
Moore, in a Facebook post Friday, said his wife texted him Monday, saying she had been followed from Troy to Fairview Heights by someone in a van. Moore said he drove to Fairview Heights and approached the person in the van.
"I asked pertinent questions and he denied he was following my wife," Moore wrote in the Facebook post. "Interesting that he had a video camera strapped to his right hand and there was an expandable manila file folder in the passenger seat, which appeared to have my name written on the exterior. I called the police, at which time he departed the parking lot."
Moore wrote that he received a copy of the police report Thursday, and that it "confirmed that he was a private investigator from Nashville, living coincidentally near my political opponent, state Rep. Charlie Meier of Okawville."
A Fairview Heights Police report says the man in the van was, in fact, a private investigator from Nashville. But the investigator, when contacted later by Fairview Heights Police, said he was not intentionally following the woman.
Moore's wife, Felicia Moore, told police the 2016 Dodge Caravan began following her as she left her house in Troy. She told police the van followed her to a gas station in O’Fallon where she stopped, and then again to a parking lot of a shopping center in Fairview Heights. Felicia Moore told police she got out of her vehicle at Burlington Coat Factory, and saw the van parked at nearby Best Buy. She then called her husband and police.
The investigator, whose name was redacted from the police report, told police that he was at the gas station, but to fuel up. He also told police that he went to Best Buy to check on getting a speaker repaired.
"After doing so, he parked in the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot and was on the phone with his wife about getting shorts from Burlington Coat Factory," the police report states. "He stated this is when Donald made contact with him and it startled him. He advised Donald he was not following his wife and left. He advised it was completely incidental how they were going the same places and he is not following/tracking anything in regards to Felicia or Donald."
Don Moore told police that he "suspects the man that followed his wife was a private investigator hired by a rival candidate."
Fairview Heights Police Chief Nick Gailius on Saturday said police investigated the report as a suspicious activity, but he was going to meet with investigators on Monday to see if “there was more to consider.”
Don Moore said Saturday said he's not 100 percent convinced that Meier hired the investigator, "but I have my suspicions. I think it's reasonable to draw that conclusion."
Moore said he doesn't know why his wife would be followed. "The only thing I can think of is trying to dig up dirt," he said.
Meier questioned why Moore would make the accusation public. Meier said he has made a police report about his campaign signs being stolen, but didn't publicly announce it. Meier also said that someone from Moore's campaign has videotaped him in public, which he said is fine, but then later denied it at a gathering of Republicans.
Moore and Meier are the only candidates in the GOP primary for the district, which leans Republican. In the Democratic primary, there is only one candidate, write-in J. David Parker. The general election is Nov. 6.
Reporter Joseph Bustos contributed to this report.