Former Osceola school board member accused of hacking email account



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Suspicions of email hacking have sparked an Osceola Sheriff's Office investigation into a former Osceola County School Board member.

Former board member Cindy Hartig was supposed to meet with the board Thursday evening to discuss a district investigation that found she had accessed the email of School Board Chairman Jay Wheeler, but Hartig canceled.

Cindy Hartig has been off the Osceola County School Board since losing her recent bid for re-election. But she and board member Jay Wheeler, with whom she had a number of disagreements when serving together, are still at odds.

 Now Hartig is accused of accessing Wheeler's district email account.

"She did not illegally, wrongfully, unlawfully access any email account," said Howard Marks, attorney for Hartig.

Marks said that Hartig was looking for public documents.

"Cindy asked for public records. She got a public records request.  In the public records request there's email addresses, there's passwords, there's a variety of information that's out there," said Marks.

But a school board investigation found that Hartig logged into her own email and into    Wheeler's email from her computer.

The investigation revealed that both log-ins came from the same IP address within seconds of each other.

It started last month when the Osceola County School Superintendent's secretary realized that information from an email she had sent to Wheeler had been copied and pasted into an email Hartig sent to someone else.
"This is nothing more than a vendetta by Mr. Wheeler to harm Ms. Hartig, even though she's no longer in public office," said Marks.

But it wasn't Wheeler who brought the issue to light.

In an email Wheeler told WFTV's Ryan Hughes that he didn't want to comment on the investigation.

"She's yesterday's news and is no longer on the school board," Wheeler said in the email.
Hartig's attorney said the vendetta he suggested might have something to do with a defamation lawsuit Hartig filed against Wheeler more than a year ago.

In the lawsuit Wheeler is accused of calling her crazy and mentally ill. That suit is still pending.