Monday, February 08, 2016

Proseuctors Say Disgraced Former Park Tudor Basketball Coach Incited Student To Attack Victim

If you thought the story of the former Park Tudor boys basketball coach's sexual victimization of a 15-year old student of the prestigious private school couldn't get any worse, it just did. Federal prosecutors told a federal magistrate today during Kyle Cox's initial appearance that his encouragement to a former male student at the school to mess up the victim actually incited him to physically assault her at the school. As Fox 59 News reported:
Federal prosecutors allege Cox kept in touch with students despite a confidentiality agreement he signed with the school after his termination in December. Prosecutors said in one instance, a male student Cox was in contact with threw the alleged victim and another witness to the ground in a physical altercation at Park Tudor.
The student told Cox about the altercation through text message.
“It would’ve been epic if you would’ve caused a concussion,” a text from Cox read.
Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch called Cox’s comments “troubling” and cited his “gross immaturity.”
Cox is being held at a federal detention facility in Kentucky.  Judge McVicker ruled over the prosecution's objections that Cox could be allowed out on bail and permitted to stay with his parents in Henry County while awaiting trial, but federal prosecutors are appealing that decision. In the meantime, Judge McVicker has stayed her decision, requiring Cox to remain in federal custody for the time being.

The Day Mike Pence Became Rod Blagojevich

Eric Holcomb
So Eric Holcomb was on the talking head shows talking up his Senate campaign this past weekend before he dropped a bombshell announcement today that he was abruptly dropping his campaign and would soon have an announcement about his future plans. It turns out we won't have to wait long to learn what those future plans are. The Indianapolis Star says there will be an announcement tomorrow that Holcomb will become Gov. Mike Pence's running mate this year. Because we've already been advised that Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann is in the running to become Ivy Tech's new president, we can presume Pence will also appoint Holcomb to take her place when she eventually resigns to assume a new position we know the politically-appointed board of trustees at Ivy Tech will choose her to fill.

I never thought I would find myself comparing Mike Pence to Rod Blagojevich, but I don't know how else to interpret this development. Holcomb was offered a chance to become the state's lieutenant governor if he would drop his bid for the U.S. Senate. By dropping out of the Senate race, the establishment is able to ensure a three-way race won't allow a candidate like Marlin Stutzman, who is not liked by lobbyists and the Indiana Republican establishment, to win the Republican nomination. The establishment, particularly those beholden to the military/industrial complex, have settled on U.S. Rep. Todd Young as their standard bearer in this race. Young's campaign finance disclosure statements are the surest indication of that fact.

Federal prosecutors in Chicago indicted and prosecuted Rod Blagojevich for attempting a quid pro quo in picking Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate. Our Republican governor is trying to help the establishment determine our party's nominee for the Senate this year by using the lieutenant governor's office like a marketable commodity. At least Pence won't have to worry about a pesky federal prosecutor bringing criminal charges against him like Blagojevich since it's next to impossible for an establishment figure in this state to break a law that will land them in prison, let alone get a rise of our federal prosecutor. And the media won't complain about Pence's quid pro quo. They all love Eric Holcomb and will pat the governor on the back for making a wise decision since they're particularly fond of Republicans like Holcomb who have no ideological convictions. An approving article in this evening's online edition of The Star brings that point home:
Gov. Mike Pence is expected to name Eric Holcomb as his running mate during a press conference tomorrow, according to a Statehouse source familiar with the plan.
Holcomb, who withdrew from Indiana's U.S. Senate race Monday, would replace Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who the Pence administration announced in December is seeking a job as president of Ivy Tech Community College.
Holcomb, who had been one of three Republican candidates vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, is a one-time Indiana Republican Party chairman and has been a top aide to Coats and former Gov. Mitch Daniels. He would bring a strong ground game to the governor’s re-election bid and provide him with a political attack dog in what is expected to be a tight race with Democrat John Gregg.
Neither Pence nor Holcomb would confirm the plans on Monday. A spokesman for the governor did not return messages and Holcomb’s campaign released only a two-paragraph statement several hours after he filed paperwork with the Indiana Secretary of State to end his campaign.
"Today I withdrew my name as a candidate for the United States Senate as Janet and I believe we have been called to serve our beloved state in a different capacity," Holcomb said in the statement, adding that he “looks forward to announcing soon how I will serve our state in the years to come.”
The only thing left to happen is for Sen. Dan Coats to find some reason to resign his seat early so Pence can appoint Rep. Young outright to the Senate seat before voters ever get the opportunity to vote on their next senator.

Here's Holcomb's full statement on Pence's enticement to get him to drop his Senate bid:
“Today I withdrew my name as a candidate for the United States Senate as Janet and I believe we have been called to serve our beloved state in a different capacity. It has been a tremendous honor to serve Hoosiers as a member of the staffs of Governor Mitch Daniels, Senator Dan Coats and as Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.
“Janet and I are grateful for the tremendous support we received from all over the State of Indiana during our campaign. With more people working today than ever before in our state’s history and record investments in transportation and education, I couldn’t be more excited for all that Hoosiers have accomplished and I look forward to announcing soon how I will serve our state in the years to come.”

Study Shows TIFs Claiming $320 Million Annually

The politicians and their mouthpieces in the media want you to believe that schools in Indiana don't have enough money to operate because of Indiana's property tax cap law that limits the maximum percent of a property's value that can be taxed. A new study released by Ball State University shows that TIF districts statewide siphoned off about $320 million in property tax revenues annually from other taxing districts. Schools are impacted the hardest. Not surprisingly, Marion County takes top billing. Here's a rundown of how much municipalities in area counties siphon away from other taxing district to fund mayors' slush funds:

  • Marion County-$63.1 million
  • Hamilton County-$21.5 million
  • Hendricks County-$10.6 million
  • Madison County-$8.7 million
  • Johnson County-$5.8 million
  • Boone County-$2.3 million
  • Hancock County-$1.9 million
  • Shelby County-$1.8
  • Morgan County-$897,000
An interesting finding in the study produced by Michael Hicks was that consultants are getting paid about $30 million a year to encourage municipalities to exploit Indiana's TIF law. "Hicks said it could be a reason why TIF regulations haven’t improved. Those firms want TIF use to continue." "It’s a cash cow, and I get that," Hicks said.

Holcomb Drops Out Of Senate Race

I'm a bit at a loss to understand this, but WRTV is reporting that former Indiana State GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb has filed paperwork with the Indiana Election Division to withdraw his name from the May primary ballot for the U.S. Senate after filing paperwork to run on January 27. That makes it a two-man race between Third District Congressman Marlin Stutzman and Ninth District Congressman Todd Young. Holcomb lagged well behind the other two candidates in fundraising, but he had compiled an impressive list of endorsements from party leaders up and down the state. I suspect the establishment will join hands now to stop Stutzman.

Pot Calls Kettle Black: Bill Clinton Thinks Sanders' Backers Are Sexists

The serial rapist, sexual harasser and former President who turned one of his White House interns into a human humidor has the audacity to claim people who support Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are sexists.

IPS Board Giving School Superintendent Retroactive Pay Raise For Doing A Poor Job

Supt. Louis Ferebee
Enrollment is plummeting and school performance is flat or worse, but your esteemed members of the Indianapolis Public School board think it's time to revamp Supt. Louis Ferebee's contract to reward him with a big pay raise. Chalkbeat reports that the board plans to boost Ferebee's base pay from $198,000 to $209,880 a year, made retroactive to July 1, 2015. He will also be eligible for a bonus of $35,000 a year instead of $25,000, plus the board plans to make $30,000 a year in new contributions to Ferebee's retirement package.

It's a bit puzzling to understand why he was given any bonus at all last year, but these out-of-touch board members voted to award Ferebee a $21,000 bonus last year for a job not well done. I guess he's entitled to a pay raise because he's not making a stink about the efforts by the education profiteers who populate the board from driving a stake in the public school system through its accelerated privatization efforts that benefit only the education vendors who are stuffing money in their campaign pockets.

IPS Board President Mary Ann Sullivan can't find enough good things to say about Ferebee's performance. "It was a very positive, positive review and positive conversation," she told Chalkbeat. "We have high expectations. … (But) I think I would be proud to get the evaluation he got for his work." Chalkbeat says Ferebee's pay, even with the big adjustment, is still below the average paid to urban school superintendents with more than 50,000 students enrolled, which it says is $211,000. The board also plans to throw in a big bonus pool that will match the bonuses paid to Ferebee for other members of his leadership team.

Why Peyton Promoted Budweiser

Peyton Manning had three things on his mind after winning Super Bowl 50 that he had to share with the tens of millions of Americans tuned in and watching his Denver Broncos celebrate their win over the Carolina Panthers: kissing his wife Ashley, kissing his twins and drinking a lot of Budweiser beer. Wait, he just plugged a beer product for free after other companies spent millions advertising during the most costly advertising bonanza in television?

Active NFL players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. He's a man with a plan, and it usually involves his own wallet, even if it means violating NFL rules. Yes, Peyton Manning owns an interest in two Budweiser distributorships in his native state of Louisiana. Budweiser claims it knew nothing about the promotion in advance, but it had 50 cases of its product ready to be shipped over to the Broncos after party. It probably also doesn't hurt that Peyton's BFF, country music star Kenny Chesney, pitches one of the company's products, Corona beer. Just wondering whether Ashley or Kenny got the first kiss after the big win.
There was also a kiss for Papa John's founder John Schnatter. Peyton owns a slew of Papa John's franchises and gets paid to pitch their pizza.

The entire Manning clan was very proud at Peyton's fete. Or were they?
 His facial expressions didn't go unnoticed on social media, where football fans were quick to post memes 
And Carolina's quarterback Cam Newton wasn't putting on any pretenses.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Financial Disclosure Statement Filed By Greg Zoeller Comes Up Short

Attorney General Greg Zoeller (Star Photo)
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller frequently conducts press conference where he touts his office's efforts to curb consumer fraud and various scams. Yet when he filed a financial disclosure statement with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives required as a candidate for Congress in Indiana's 9th congressional district, he was less than candid about his financial holdings.

According to the financial disclosure statement he filed on October 9, 2015, Zoeller reported owning no assets. That's zero, zilch, zip, nada. He reported the $98,399 he earns from his state office and $3,000 he earns as an adjunct professor at Indiana University, as well as $9,528 in income his wife earned from Meridian Street United Methodist Church. The only other disclosure was a mortgage with Chase Bank between $100,000 and $250,000 on his Indianapolis residence on E. 56th Street, which is valued at $411,300 according to the Marion Co. Assessor's Office. He claims a homestead exemption on that residence, which is not located in the 9th District. Zoeller and his wife own a second parcel in Marion County valued at $24,400. Zoeller hasn't lived in the 9th District in decades, although he claimed a voting registration there at his parents' home when he worked in Washington for Dan Quayle. Congressional candidates are only required to reside somewhere in the state; they are not required to reside in the district where they are a candidate.

The financial disclosure statement Zoeller filed with the Indiana Inspector General's Office is a tad different than the one he filed with the House Clerk. On that form he claims an ownership interest as a partner in 2010 Investment Group, Inc. According to the Secretary of State's website, that company's registered agent is some character by the name of David Njoroge with a business address listed as 3131 Springbrook Drive in South Bend. That's a residential address, not a business address. The company was established on February 2, 2010. Njoroge identifies himself as an account manager at Easy Access, LLC,  a software solutions firm located in South Bend according to his Linkedin listing. Why did Zoeller not disclose this asset on the financial disclosure statement he filed with the House Clerk? Does Zoeller not have any retirement or investment accounts? Interesting.

Zoeller's primary opponents provided more information on their financial disclosure forms. State Sen. Erin Houchin disclosed rental property in Campbellsburg that she and her husband owned worth less than $50,000, two College Choice accounts worth less than $50,000 and one worth less than $15,000, a PERF tax-deferred retirement account worth between $100,000 and $250,000, a legislative retirement account worth less than $15,000, two IRA accounts worth less than $15,000, assorted bank accounts with less than $100,000, a Raymond James investment account worth less than $15,000 and a Washington County retirement fund worth less than $15,000. She also listed liabilities in the form of two student loans (one between $50,000 and $100,000 and one between $15,000 and $50,000) and a home mortgage with Mid-Southerns Savings Bank of between $15,000 and $50,000.

State Sen. Brent Walz also listed extensive holdings on his financial disclosure statement he filed with the House Clerk. Those included: shares of Velox Express worth between $5 million and $25 million; stock options in Raydar, Inc. a veteran-owned defense-related contractor at Crane worth between $1 million and $5 million; a Las Vegas condo worth between $250,000 and $500,000; shares of The Baron Group, Inc. worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000; art and collectibles worth between $1 and $5 million; Atlantis Investments, LTD shares worth between $100,000 and $250,000 and a Huntington Bank account worth between $15,000 and $50,000. Waltz reported income of $55,000 from his senate job; $62,000 in partnership income from Velox Express; and $62,000 in professional fees from Raydar, Inc. Remarkably, Waltz, who is single, has no debts. He inherited his wealth from an unrelated, wealthy gay man while he was still in college.

Waltz is probably not the wealthiest candidate in the 9th congressional district. That honor belongs to Trey Hollingsworth, a Jeffersonville businessman. He has not filed his financial disclosure form yet. On November 16, 2015, Hollingsworth filed a statement requesting an additional 90 days to file his disclosure statement, which is now due on February 18.

Bern Your Enthusiasm

Larry David really nailed Bernie Sanders on SNL last night. Hilarious. The introduction of the Republican presidential candidates at the debate on ABC wasn't an SNL skit, but it could have been.