Tuesday, July 29, 2014

IMPD Officer's Drunk Driving Arrest Raises Questions

The Indianapolis Star's Jill Disis has a story discussing newly-filed court documents filed in the arrest of Officer Kevin Brown early Monday morning for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, his second such arrest in less than a year. Although her story doesn't seem to pose questions about the timing of his arrest and the administering of a blood-alcohol test, the recitation of the facts in her story certainly give rise to suspicions that his fellow IMPD officers may have taken steps aimed at protecting him from registering over the legal limit following his arrest, which should have been made by Morgan Co. authorities where he was driving at the time of his arrest but instead was made by IMPD.

Disis indicates that the court documents say that Officer Brown had gone out for drinks Sunday night after working all day at the Brickyard 400. He reportedly consumed six beers, including four, 20 oz. glasses of Blue Moon at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Plainfield. Brown and his girlfriend were dropped off at his home in Camby by a friend. Brown later decides to drive his police cruiser to a White Castle on Ind. 67 near the Marion, Hendricks and Morgan Co. lines around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. because he was hungry. This is where it gets confusing. At around 4:00 a.m., one to three hours after he left his home in Camby, someone places a 911 call to complain that a plain-clothes IMPD officer who appeared to be drunk was witnessed using his loud speaker and lights while going through the drive-thru at White Castle. Apparently, Brown was messing with some friends he recognized in a car in front of him. Before he left the White Castle, an occupant in the car in front of him got in Brown's police cruiser, and Brown drove the person to their home in Mooresville, which is in Morgan County.

An IMPD officer who responded to the 911 call figured out that the officer involved was Brown. Surely the officer knew about Brown's arrest for drunk driving last August. That officer told Brown to pull his car over. At that time, Brown was in Morgan County on Ind. 39. The officer arrested Brown around 5:00 a.m. and took him to IMPD's Southeast roll call site at 1150 S. Shelby Street; however, a blood-alcohol test was not administered on Brown until 6:41 a.m., almost two hours following his arrest. Brown tested just over the legal limit at 0.09. IMPD spokesman Kendale Adams told Disis that "it is standard practice to take someone suspected of drunken driving to a place that has instruments for recording results taken from certified chemical tests." "Those tests, which give investigators evidence that can be submitted in court, are only available in certain locations, Adams said." But why was Brown's arrest handled by IMPD instead of Morgan Co. authorities since he was apprehended in Morgan Co.? And why did so much time pass before the BAC test was administered? When he tested over the legal limit, IMPD took Brown back to Morgan Co. where he was booked into the jail. The police report sounds kind of fishy. What do you think?

According to IMPD policy, an officer is subject to discipline whenever a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher is registered at the time of his arrest. That discipline can go all the way up to firing. It's unclear what discipline Brown received following his drunk driving arrest last year, although he was reportedly placed on administrative leave immediately following his arrest.

Clark County Sheriff Arrested By FBI In Prostitution Sting

The two-term Democratic sheriff of Clark County, Indiana, Danny Rodden, has been a bad boy according to the FBI. A federal grand jury in New Albany has indicted Rodden on charges of attempted evidence destruction and making false statements to FBI agents during an investigation of his relationship with a prostitute. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Sheriff Rodden is accused of providing law enforcement credentials to a prostitute last year so she could rent rooms at a Louisville hotel at government discounted rates. Rodden is accused of meeting the prostitute at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Louisville where he allegedly paid her $300 to perform oral sex. Rodden is not seeking re-election this year due to the state's constitutional term limits barring him from seeking a third consecutive term. Clark County Commissioners are huddling with their attorneys to determine how to proceed in handling Rodden's possible removal from office before the end of his term. Last month, Boone Co. Sheriff Ken Campbell (R) was forced to step down due to his relationship with a prostitute.

More On Arrest Of Carmel Doctor And Attorney In DEA Drug Sting

Current In Carmel's Adam Aasen has a lengthy editorial on last week's arrest of a Carmel-based drug addiction physician, Dr. Larry Ley, and criminal defense attorney Andrew Dollard, along with three other doctors and several clinic workers for operating a "cash and carry" drug distribution business for Suboxone, a controlled substance prescribed to persons with drug addiction problems that's well worth the read. Aasen writes that Dr. Ley had reached out in the recent past to the online news publication to speak out as an expert on drug addiction, and the newspaper had been urged on by Dollard to rely on Dr. Ley for expert opinions.

The editorial has an interesting discussion about the two's political relationships in Hamilton County. The newspaper spoke frequently to Ley when he was a recent candidate in the Republican primary for a Hamilton County council seat being vacated by Meredith Carter, who endorsed Dollard in his unsuccessful bid against Fred Glynn, Jr. The editorial notes that Dollard had previously worked at a Nobesville substance abuse clinic while he was attending law school out-of-state in Michigan. He was later appointed as a public defender by Judge J. Richard Campbell after he finished law school and was admitted to practice law in Indiana in 2010. The editorial alludes to Dollard's backing by the Hamilton Co. GOP, although the party's executive director, Andrew Greider, sought to distance the party from Dollard according to Aasen. According to a probable cause affidavit in the case, Dollard was still working at Dr. Ley's clinic in Noblesville at the time of his arrest helping dispense Suboxone prescriptions to his patients.

Public Safety Director Criticizes Churches For Not Contributing To Public Safety Foundation Controlled By Downtown Mafia

The downtown mafia recently created yet another nonprofit organization about a year ago, the Indy Public Safety Foundation, to which part of the million bucks in crime prevention grant money doled out by the City of Indianapolis is funneled through the Central Indiana Community Foundation, which administers the grant money. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs sits on the board of the public safety foundation, along with the usual suspects who scheme to operate Indianapolis city-county government for their own self-enrichment purposes.  Comments Riggs attributed to Riggs in a recent column by the Star's Erika Smith has set off a bit of a firestorm among churches. It seems Riggs and the Indy Public Safety Foundation went around hitting up churches to kick in money for a program sponsored by the foundation to create make-work jobs for inner city teens to keep them busy so they won't be breaking into people's homes and shooting each other during their summer break from school. Here's what Riggs told Smith:
. . . We have a hard time working together for the common good because all of those things get in the way.
For an example, look no further than Riggs’ current source of ire — churches.
In preparation for the long-hyped plan to create jobs for teens who otherwise would be running the streets this summer, Riggs spent weeks canvassing the community for donations to the Indy Public Safety Foundation. He ended up with about $35,000, mostly from large institutions.
“We didn’t get a dime from any church,” he said. Instead what he got was resistance.
That meant a few hundred kids who wanted a job this summer couldn’t get one.
Next up, Riggs wants to help the thousands of teenage mothers who are trying to break the cycle of poverty — and violent crime — by finishing school, becoming self-sufficient and being good parents. He needs donations. But he’s not optimistic about that one either.
“I’m not making any political statements here. It’s just the way the world is,” Riggs said. “We have a group of wealthy, predominantly suburban churches that are against abortion. We have young ladies in the inner city that have been sexually assaulted — had a child because of that sexual assault because they made a decision to keep that child because, morally, they thought that’s what they needed to do.
“Why in the world aren’t these churches helping these young mothers?”
First of all, Riggs' job is to direct the various public safety agencies, not fundraising for a nonprofit foundation. Secondly, the foundation is trying to create entirely new programs that compete with existing government-funded and other nonprofit programs that have been around a lot longer than the past year, a number of which are administered by various church organizations. Only a few weeks ago the Indy Parks run by the administration in which Riggs serves complained that it was going to have to cut back hours of operations at the city's pools this summer because it couldn't find enough lifeguards to fill all of the summer job openings. Just who does Riggs think he is to demand that churches give money to a newly-created foundation with programs at cross-purposes with existing programs, and to seemingly blame them for the crime problems the city faces?

Riggs, by the way, gave an interview to radio talk show host Amos Brown. Ironically, Riggs had to call into the show from Texas where he was with his sons, who were attending a church-run sports camp in Texas where he formerly lived. He reiterated his concern that churches and businesses aren't doing enough to help combat the crime and violence in Indianapolis. If Riggs really gave a damn about public safety, he might ask one of his fellow board members, Pacers Sports & Entertainment's Jim Morris, to give back some of the tens of millions of dollars annually his billionaire boss is selfishly hogging for the Pacers before he criticizes others not on the public dole for not doing their fair share. Riggs might also stop wasting more taxpayers' money by creating a new high-paid position in his own office for retiring fire chief Brian Sanford, a position he said only a couple of years ago was not needed and spend that money instead on hiring more police officers. Interestingly, the $35,000 Riggs said the foundation raised was given to certain inner-city churches to run summer jobs programs, which might explain why some churches were reluctant in the first place to waste money on programs that have been exploited for personal use in the past by a few unscrupulous ministers who always seem to get their hands on this money.

Monday, July 28, 2014

IMPD Officer Arrested Second Time Within A Year For Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated

(Provided Photo/Morgan County Sheriff's Office)
A 16-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Kevin Brown, was arrested in Monrovia by Morgan County officials early Monday morning for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, his second such charge within the last year WRTV is reporting. He also faces an enhanced felony charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction within the past five years. Officer Brown was driving his IMPD police cruiser at the time of his arrest according to WRTV. Five other IMPD officers have been arrested for drunk driving since Brown's first arrest last August.

Hogsett Joining Bose McKinney & Evans

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett will be joining an Indianapolis law firm with a very large lobbying presence at the Indiana State House and the Indianapolis City-County Building. WISH-TV reports that Hogsett is set to join the litigation practice group at Bose McKinney & Evans when he steps down as U.S. Attorney at the end of this month. He will supposedly focus his practice on internal investigations and corporate audits. Hogsett was a partner in the labor practice group at the Bingham Greenebaum Doll before he became U.S. Attorney in 2010. Hogsett, a former Indiana Secretary of State, is expected to make a run for Indianapolis mayor next year so a law firm job is a natural step for him. He can spend as much time as he pleases campaigning for mayor, while drawing a large salary and having ready access to the law firm's influence peddling operation to raise a lot of money for his campaign. And people wonder why he refused to prosecute the rampant public corruption taking place right under his nose the past four years.

Former Indiana governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh followed a similar path. Hogsett worked for Bayh when he was Indiana Secretary of State. Bayh worked at the same law firm where Hogsett was later a partner before he became Indiana Secretary of State and then later Governor. Bayh then went to work as a partner at Baker & Daniels for a brief two-year period while he was running for the U.S. Senate after he left the governor's office. Bayh reportedly earned about $1 million working for the firm while he devoted most of his time campaigning and raising money for his Senate bid. Baker & Daniels, of course, has a lobbying arm in Washington that lobbies Congress and executive branch agencies. Bayh now works for a D.C. law firm, an international consulting firm, and he and his wife have both served on numerous corporate boards that have made the couple multi-millionaires. No, they don't work for us when they hold public office.

Former Marion Housing Authority Director Accused Of Stealing More Than $20,000

The former head of the Marion housing authority, Frederick Hunt, was arrested last week after a three-year long investigation according to the Chronicle-Tribune. Hunt is accused of stealing more than $20,000 by forging checks made out to a subcontractor and depositing the funds into his own account and using a credit card belonging to the authority to pay for numerous trips to North Carolina where Hunt originally lived. Grant Co. Prosecutor Jim Luttrull charged Hunt with two counts of forgery, one count of corrupt business influence and four counts of theft. The case was jointly investigated by the federal HUD office in Indianapolis and the Marion Police Department. Federal authorities were aware that Hunt was accused of stealing federal funds but chose to let Hunt be charged under state law.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Irsay Passes Out $100 Bills To Fans

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Colts owner Jim Irsay treated fans who showed up to the Colts training camp in Anderson this morning to $100 bills. Is he trying to explain to doubters why he was carrying $29,000 in cash on him when Carmel police pulled him over for operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a large stash of various prescription pills on him?

Dallas County Commissioner Charged With Taking Nearly $1 Million In Bribes

Federal authorities charged a long-time Dallas County commissioner, John Wiley Price (D), with multiple corruption charges yesterday after a lengthy, 3-year long FBI investigation. Federal prosecutors charged Price with scheming with two business associates to amass nearly $1 million in cash payments, automobiles and land as part of an influence-peddling scheme that extended for more than a decade. Price is accused of being the mastermind of the criminal enterprise whereby vendors and businesses would hire Kathy Nealy, a lobbyist and friend of Price, to help win favorable action from Price in his official capacity as a Dallas County commissioner. Charges against Price include conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services fraud and income tax evasion. “For more than a decade, in a shocking betrayal of public trust, Commissioner Price sold his office on the Dallas County Commissioners Court in exchange for a steady stream of bribes,” U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña said in a news conference Friday morning. The text of the indictment against Price and his co-defendants can be viewed by clicking here.

What is interesting about yesterday's charges is the fact that the largest beneficiaries of the bribery scheme do not face charges. Federal prosecutors allege that particular minority subcontractors specified by Price were included in contracts awarded to other vendors. A Dallas art gallery owner, Karen Manning, allegedly schemed to help Price launder his money. Price also allegedly co-owned a business with political consultant Dapheny Fain, who was charged along with Nealy, called Male Man Sales, which allowed Price free use of a credit card to the tune of more than $133,000. Nealy acted as a straw purchaser for several pieces of real estate property valued at several hundred thousand dollars that were funneled to Price, and she provided him several luxury automobiles to drive. Nealy would also transfer money directly to Price or endorse checks made out to her to him according to the federal complaint.

One of the largest beneficiaries of the scheme was Schlumberger Ltd., an international IT company that was awarded a contract worth $43 million. Federal authorities allege that Schlumberger hired Nealy as a lobbyist, who would arrange secret meetings or obtain insider information about the procurement process for her client to get an edge in the bidding process. Identified as "Business S" in the complaint, Nealy was paid by Schlumberger more than $250,000 for providing consulting services, a large part of which Nealy kick backed to Price. After Atos Origin, a large international IT company later acquired Schlumberger, Price allegedly advocated on its behalf to continue receiving contracts from the county. A company owned by billionaire Ross Perot, Hillword Corp., hired Nealy to help win a Federal Trade Zone designation, which Price supported while opposing an application by a competing company.

Although Price has been very popular in Dallas' African-American community, he has been a very polarizing political figure who is not ashamed to express his disdain for whites. Nonetheless, some of Dallas' most wealthy and influential wooed him. Ross Perot, Jr. contributed nearly $10,000 to Price in recent years. Perot hired Price's friend, Karen Manning, to participate in design work for the W Hotel he developed in Dallas. In this video below, Price can be seen telling a number of white citizens who appeared before a commissioner's meeting to "go to hell" because they are white. Many in Dallas' black community told reporters they believe Price is being targeted because he's black. The Dallas Morning News noted in its story that Price is just one of a string of mostly African-American politicians charged with public corruption by Obama-run Justice Department in recent years. The newspaper noted that some of those prominent white business officials not named in yesterday's indictments could be charged as more facts are developed during Price's trial.

In another exchange captured on video, Price is seen going on an expletive-filled tirade at a public meeting after a disagreement with a fellow commissioner.

Whitley County Auditor Asked To Take Leave While Under Investigation

Discrepancies uncovered during a state board of accounts audit of the Whitley County Auditor's Office suggesting funds had been misappropriated led to a request by the county commissioners that Jennifer McGuire, the elected auditor, take a leave of absence from her work. News reports say McGuire was led from her office by human resources early Friday afternoon as she started a period of paid leave while investigators sort through financial records in her office.

Whitley Co. Commissioner George Schrumpf declined to discuss what matters had been uncovered by the audit when commissioners recently discussed its findings with state auditors. The most recently available audit on the state board of account's website gave the office a clean bill of health. Schrumpf said the matter had been turned over to the county prosecutor for further investigation after "some discrepancies in accounts" were uncovered during the audit. Whitley County Prosecutor Matt Rentschler told the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette that misappropriation of funds was part of his investigation. Indiana State Police investigators are assisting the prosecutor's office in the investigation.