Threats to local congressman, family land man in court

Florida man on trial for alleged threats to Rep. Jim Jordan.

During the most heated days of the 2013 government shutdown, staff for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, received a note through Jordan’s congressional website.

“Your Tea Party sh— is hurting me, so now I am going to hurt your family,” the Oct. 14 missive said. “Get ready, (J.J.), I am coming after you and all members of your family. You can’t hide from an Army ranger who is well armed and doesn’t care if he dies.”

Now, a Tallahassee, Fla., attorney has pleaded not guilty to sending that note.

Theodore Erwin Mack, 67, pleaded not guilty Feb. 6 to a felony charge of transmitting interstate threats. He is scheduled to go to trial March 10 in Tallahassee, according to records filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. His attorney, Thomas Powell, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Tony Joseph, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tallahassee, said Mack was arrested but released without being required to post bond.

If he is found guilty, Mack faces a maximum of five years in prison, Joseph said.

The note, sent Oct. 14, sent to Jordan gave a fake a Norwalk, Ohio, return address, not far from where Jordan had a district office. Concerned, Jordan contacted the Capitol Hill police, then shuttered his Norwalk office until he was assured it was safe to open it again.

Ray Yonkura, Jordan’s chief of staff, said Jordan has received plenty of emails, phone calls and messages, but only “three or so” have been perceived as threatening over the past seven years. The office followed protocol by forwarding it to the Capitol Police, who acted quickly to track down its sender, he said.

The threat, Yonkura said, “was very real to us.”

“This is the most threatening message we’ve ever received,” he said. “You get tens of thousands of messages via email, phone letter, and folks have a different way of communicating. But this one in particular stood out very clearly.”

Jordan represents Ohio’s 4th District in Congress which goes from Champaign County to Lake Erie and includes the local counties of Shelby, Auglaize and Logan.