Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tully Names Names

After an onslaught of prodding, pulling, kicking, and not to mention, a few insults thrown in, Star political columnist Matt Tully finally decided to do what good reporters do--he did a little digging for information on the 300 E. bar, which political insiders broke ever law imaginable to build inside the Julia Carson Government Center. And boy did he hit a gold mine.

Let's see, there's the wife of City-County Council President Monroe Gray, Teresa Gray--she's an investor in the bar. Then there's Lacy Johnson, the father who's been hiding behind his son's namesake, who is Julia Carson's long-time political campaign manager and partner at Ice Miller. Yes, that's the same law firm that represents Center Township in its request to rezone and obtain a variance for the bar in front of the Metropolitan Development Commission. Oh, and then there's Joyce Rogers, who is Indiana Black Expo President. And don't forget Patzetta Rice, who works as a spokesman for the Indianapolis airport. And we already told you about local businessmen Al Oaks and William Mays.

All of this information Tully gleaned by taking a few minutes to visit the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to review the pending petition on file for approval of the transfer of a 210, 3-way permit for the bar's owners. Isn't it just a wonder what a reporter can learn when he actually does his job? Even if it did take him two months to getting around to doing what he should have done in the first place.

Tully's column today picks up on a few other interesting items as well. He tells us that he had asked Monroe Gray why he had appeared to support the proposed bar at an earlier Metropolitan Development Commission hearing. Gray insisted he had no particular reason according to Tully. After Tully confronted Gray with his knowledge of his wife's interest, here was Gray's reaction:

One partner's name is Teresa Gray. President Gray is married to a woman named Teresa, so I called him to ask whether that particular bar partner was indeed his wife.


"Uhh, it could be," he said.

"It could be?" I asked. "You don't know for sure?"

"Oh," said Gray, who hates to answer questions directly. "I'm sure it is."

Believe me, it is.

Gray dismissed my questions, saying despite his wife's interest in the bar, "I still don't have an opinion on it" and "that's her investment, not mine." He said he has not been involved in the bar and appeared at the zoning session for another case.

He grew irritated.

"Why do I need to discuss what my wife does?" he said.

Here's why.

First, Gray's top council deputy, Lonnell Conley, is married to the zoning examiner who gave the bar early approval. Second, Gray has taken campaign cash from lobbyist Lacy Johnson, a bigwig in Democratic circles who is the bar's lead investor. Third, angry residents have contacted the council, asking members to stop the bar.

Still, Gray kept his family's financial interest in the bar quiet.

It turns out you could fill a corporate board with the bar investors listed on the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission filing.


Gray's lack of candor towards Tully is quite revealing about the surrepticious manner in which this whole cast of characters has behaved. Lacy Johnson, the man to whom our mayor has given free reign as president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, to this date has refused to answer reporters' questions about his involvement; instead, choosing to hide behind his son, who is the only person representing the investors who's interest has been well known from the beginning. Judith Conley, wife of city-county councilor Lonnell Conley, approved the intial rezoning/variance petition for the bar in record time, even after the bar had already been constructed in violation of state and local building code and zoning laws. And then there's Rep. Julia Carson, who insists she knew nothing about the bar being built on the first floor of the building which is home to her congressional office. Tully writes, "And U.S. Rep. Julia Carson says she opposes a bar in her namesake building, but bar backers, who have close ties to Carson, D-Indianapolis, say she isn't really opposed." As for Mayor Peterson, Tully writes, "Mayor Bart Peterson has kept disappointingly quiet, even though he has been eager in the past to speak out on zoning issues that didn't involve such political allies."

Tully is promising another column on Friday which will discuss a meeting he had with some of the bar's investors this past weekend defending their actions. That's fine, but we need much more. Nobody has provided any explanation as to how, under color of government authority, the bar got built in the first place in violation of numerous state and local building code and zoning laws? Also, nobody has even bothered to take a look at the lease to determine whether the terms of the lease are fair to the taxpayers who own the damn building.

And what about an investigation? Mr. Brizzi? Hello, are you there? The fact that a grand jury hasn't been convened and subpoenas served by this late date shows why our public officials in Marion County feel they can thumb their noses at the law. Marion County does not try political corruption cases against people who matter. And our U.S. Attorney sits in her office in the federal building turning a blind eye to it all as well. God, if we only had a prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald, we could clean up this cesspool.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tully's best job yet. hich actually proves he can do it with some work.

This information was available weeks ago.

And before you go ballistic, most of us didn't retrieve it because we have our own jobs and a life.

Reporters are supposed to do this kind of thing regularly.

Tully's column should be posted beside O'S's coroner's office stories, on the Star newsroom bulletin board with a simple caption:

"This is good. Do it again--daily."

Anonymous said...

Tully commented on the Abdul show that there may a been a "few" violations...

Advance Indiana said...

If Tully said that, then he needs to go back and do a little more reporting work. This time, he needs only sit down at his computer and search the permit site for the Department of Metropolitan Development.

Anonymous said...

Egad! Rather than our public officials attempting to avoid the appearance of impropriety, these clowns appear to actively embrace it! Their wanting to invest in a private club is fine and dandy; however, it completely escapes me as to why they thought that doing it this way was a good idea. Hubris is a dangerous thing...

Anonymous said...

As a heading on the "Better late than never" page - FINALLY!!!!

Sir Hailstone said...

If it weren't for us bloggers putting the hot irons to Tully's feet this would be brushed under the rug.

Queen916 said...

This is a "Sweetheart Deal"

Thank you Matt for the article. Have you talked to Mayor Peterson about the Department of Metropolitan Development's handling of the petitions for this bar, or Prosecutor Brizzi regarding the code violations?

A restaurant is one thing, a bar in a residential neighborhood is another. No consideration has been given to the youth living in the area when these drunks are leaving the establishment. The real reason for having the playground equipment removed. The gate was kept locked to prevent the area residents from using the park prior to its removal.

An alternative location for them would be Peyton's Place on Indiana Avenue, this building is for sale and is already zoned for a bar/restaurant. Mention this to Joyce Rogers when you interview her. I am surprised that she is involved at all.

Atty. Bell Choate is married to Atty. Sarge Visher who is Julia Carson's campaign advisor.
She serves on the Liquor Board. It will be interesting to see what happens when this petition is reviewed. We are planning to attend each of the hearings to see how this process is going to handled.

This group of black appointed and elected leaders have not solved one critical problem in the community since elected. Yet, they can come together to support a private bar for them to kickback in. The security in the government building will prevent unwanted guests to enter this establishment. Remember, Carl Drummer ordered security not to let Eric Dickerson in the building when he held the press conference.

The crime rate in our neighborhoods is the real issue. Alcohol and drugs directly contribute to this dilemma. The Vault in downtown, Club Mecca in Eagledale, the Savoy on West 86th street, and other bars that some of these people have had financial interests in have each had problems with drug dealing and fights in the parking lots, gun violence, shootings and murders. Pot smoking and snorting cocaine in parked cars do go on prior to entering the bars. The drug dealers seem to follow the bar and or nightclub patrons.

The bottom line is the property owners do not want another establishment that serves alcohol in their neighborhood. If smoking is not allowed inside government buildings, nor should alcohol be allowed on the property.

I did attend the meeting of the Center Township Board on Thursday, 9/7/06 and requested copies of all leases and rent payments signed by the Trustee Drummer for the Township under the Freedom of Information Act. I am waiting for a response.

Anonymous said...

So ... what does Melina Kennedy have to say about this??? Someone should ask.

Anonymous said...

There is a category of building permits which Tully and Abdul discussed this mornning, which might, technically, let the city off the hook, for now.

A conditional permit to build/remodel can be issued. If that's the case here, it allows for certain construction to go forth. However, as the permit holder, you assume all liability until code inspectors can do their job. If any of your construction work is deemed inappropriate, for any reason, you assume the risk, as permit holder, of deconstructing and returning the premises to its former condition.

I'm pretty sure that's what happened here.

So, technically, Drummer's hacks didn't violate the law. They just assumed liability for any work done, and if it doesn't meet code, they cannot open until it does.

The Stop Work order was issued a long time ago, though. It has taken a long while to get this to center stage.

Joceyln (Queen), this might have been your best post yet. Seriously. If you asked for that information from the township board, good for you. Please let us know what becomes of that request.

The real question to that board should've been: was the concept of a bar in the building openly discussed and debated? And, if so, did it occur to anyone that the exclusive right to open such an establishment, should have been the subject of open bidding? How do you know Drummer's hacks paid something approaching fair market rent?

Can we see the lease? NOW? The fair market for that kind of expenditure (I've heard $500,000) and an exclusive right, is probably north of $12 per s.f. How far north depends on many things....who pays for HVAC, maintenance, etc.

Bring it on, Carl. Or Jocelyn. Hell I don't care. Somebody give us the lase details. It should be public record.

Anonymous said...

One benefit of having Ms. Juice involved:

Pea-shakes and martinis all around!

Anonymous said...

AI--is this a stock picture, or the real picture of the bar itself?

If so, it's stunning. These folks are out a lot of money, and they should eat it all.

Dibs on the plasma TV at the fire sale.

Advance Indiana said...

It is a photo of the interior of the newly constructed bar as posted on the Star's website. I should have pointed that out in the original post.

Anonymous said...

My,my, my, the list of power brokers includes wives and mistresses of some of the men.
The plot thickens!

Now they have involved their family members. I agree, Melina Kennedy has pounced on every issue thus far with Brizzi. What does she have to say about this Democratic controversy?

These are her supporters and contributors in the black community. By the way, Kennedy does not have an email address listed on her campaign website. One way communication, I guess?

I hope Joyce Rogers hasn't used any of Indiana Black Expo's money to invest in this bar. I guess she and Patsy are tired of having to drive driving all the way to The Savoy Nightclub for cocktails every night in Pike Township.

Circle City Classic weekend is around the corner. I am sure they were planning the grand openning for this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Uh, The Savoy is in Washington Township, across from St. V's. In an area (Hosp. Zone) where such clubs are not allowe dby zoning law. I'm sure the area residents would gladly shift their burden a half-mile west to Pike, but they wouldn't want it, either.

It opened a year or so ago, without proper zoning. Bill Mays is an investor. The zoning case is now in front of--you guessed it, Ms. Conley.

And the Savoy's neighbors have been fighting a losing battle with the City, over trash, late loudness, and multiple other issues. Now, their city councilwoman, Ms. Mansfield, is helping them fight, and I'll bet you the Center Twp. mafia will oppose her next eyar as a payback.

It appears the club is operating illegally, and has been for some time. Will it continue?

By the way, for those of you playing the home edition of this game, at the last hearing on this issue, allegedly several prominent persons, named in the Carson Center deal, were in the audience. And shortly afterward, those who insisted the city hold Savoy's feet to the fire, were dubbed "racist" by Amos Brown.

See how this neat little circle keeps going back to the same practices, the same people?

And anyone who dares to question it--off with their head! Racists!

Racism is ugly regardless who initiates it. Crying "racist" when it doesn't exist, to incite hatred, is almost as bad as racism itself.

Concentrate on the actions of the bar owners, not those who question the propriety of the bars.

Advance Indiana said...

That's utter bullshit. The stop work order was issued because the original permit which should have been taken out was not obtained--nor was there appropriate zoning/variance approval before construction commenced. That's aside from the numerous building code violations turned up by the inspection. I am personally aware of a case where DMD at Maury Plambeck's direction tried unsuccessfully to revoke a general contractor's license to do business in Marion Co. on far more trivial matters. That involved a white female builder who Ms. Jennifer Green, a completely incompetent person the city had running the Fall Creek project, was determined to destroy by hook or crook. The city succeeding in bankrupting the builder. It's funny how these laws get selectively enforced to protect and destroy at the city's pleasure.

Advance Indiana said...

From the DMD's own building permit files: The stop work order notes that the space was "converted into a bar" and that the work was "completed." An inspector for DMD notes that he "returned a phone call to Lacy Johnson . . . to discuss progress towards obtaining permits" the day after the stop work order was issued by the city.

Abdul is a good guy, but he knows nothing about the law in this area. Both he and Tully need to do a little more research. Lacy's reference to obtaining permits is in referenct to the GC, Keystone Construction Corp., which had not obtained a permit up to that time according to the DMD records. Of course, by the time anyone finally gets around to conducting any formal investigation, the records will likely be so altered that noone will be able to make heads or tails out of what really happened.

Anonymous said...

Relax, Gary, and read my post again: I merely pointed out there is a process by which petitioners may go ahead and start remodel, at their own risk. I didn't say it was done, or should've been.

So it's not "bullshit," it's just pointing out there is another way to do this. I had no idea whether it was done this time or not.

And I'm aware of the Fall Creek bruhaha. What a mess. Some people had ot undo some of the contractor's work, or, in one case, star talmost completely over.

A sad tale.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in several major cities around the country, and I've never seen as much political corruption as what seems to happen here. That doesn't seem to be Indianapolis' image elsewhere, but that's my impression after living here for several years. What I hear from my business associates would rattle any prosecutor to action, but not any in this town.

Sir Hailstone said...

Obviously you've never lived in Illinois.

Advance Indiana said...

I can't speak for anon 4:50 Sir Hailstone, but I have lived in Illinois. Yes, it has a lot of corruption, but at least it's publicly uncovered because they actually have prosecutors who send the bums to prison. When is the last time a prominent politician got sent to jail in Indiana. I can't count on my hand all the politicians in Illinois who've been prosecuted and sent to jail just in the last 10 years, let alone the long list in my lifetime. Indiana isn't cleaner than Illinois by a long shot. It's unbelievable what people in power get by with in this state.

Sir Hailstone said...

Gary - I've lived in Downstate and also in the NW Indiana "region" .. last Governor I can find prosecuted for corruption in Indiana was in the 1930's. It took 30 some years to finally get EC King Robert Pastrick out of office. Hammond's former mayor went to a bar on election night and beat the crap out of his opponent and the Hammond PD made sure nothing became of the incident.

My personal opinion is it's more noticable because over in Illinois they don't bother to hide the corruption.

Anonymous said...

It's sad we'd even have to debate whose state has "better" corruption. I don't know and don't care. They're both pathetic.

The good-ole-boy network here is alive and well. For many reasons. Mainly, there isn't often a power structure shift with each election. Rather, one party tends to stay in power 16, 20 years or more. That breeds contempt, laziness and corruption, cronyism, etc. That happens in large part because there are lax or limp campaign finance laws.

Institute public financing of campaigns, mandate the media give "X" time or space to all candidates equally, and you'd see a lot of this cronyism go away. Follow the money.

Folks like Carl Drummer are making 60-80K a year and it's the most money they've ever made in their lives, or may ever make. They make that money whether they fall out of bed today or stay home. They get little opposition and absolutely no media scrutiny, and arrogance sets in. This man drives a freaking souped-up tinted window unmarked police cruiser on the public dime, for cryin out loud. A trustee in a police car! And no one asks a question. He is not unique.

Unfortunate but true.

This whole Carson Center mess was brewing for months. Mainstream media knew it, and didn't want to bust a nut looking for it. Laziness.

The first aggressive reporter in years to ask tough questions is a sports guy--Bob Kravitz at The Star. People curse him, but he doesn't let the sports power structure get away with anything.

Think what would happen if the Mayor or Governor had a weekly press conference, and 10 reporters were trying to trump one another with new stories and exclusive leads.

One thing has come of all this mess, and the blog reporting. I've learned a delightful new word: kerfuffle.

lori said...

I'm a Democrat and this story disgusts me on so many levels. We need to clean house, straight across the board. It is way past time.

Anonymous said...

The "Ghetto Mafia" has infiltrated Indiana Black Expo, the same people in the Bar/Restaurant scandle.

Joyce Rogers, president and Arvis Dawson, chairman of the board are running this organization into the ground just like their democrat counterparts are doing in Center Township.

Running out the staff and volunteers and replacing them with family members and friends. I wonder how long it will be before scandle hits this organization. Stay tune!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Democrat, too, and this is a sad course of events.

I've spoken about it with friends in the Party, and made my opinons known.

But, after I did that, I then saw a TV news piece where the head of the Fall Creek Place neighborhood group was tellling the reporter that they WANT the bar/resturant to be there.

And, I have to say, that after seeing the photo in the paper, it looks like a high quality establishment, not the 'dive' I had envisioned.

I've never owned a resturant or bar, but I think that this business has a particularly high chance of failure for any number of reasons. And, I think that the way the investors have gone about this, and the 'stink' that permeates from around the permitting and zoning process, is terrible.

It'll be interesting to see what the lease stipulates. As a taxpayer, I want to know.

But, generally speaking, having an eating establishment in the Center may not be such a bad idea -- IF the general public and the neighbors are allowed access. I'm distressed that the playground has been removed, and quite frankly, consider that to be perhaps the worst part of this cluster-fcuk.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1155 pm, the bar/restaurant ISN'T for you. It is for the buildings employees and their guests, so you see, it descriminates. Yes siree, government at its best.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is for "upper-class professional African-Americans".

Anonymous said...

We Center Township residents, who own the building, must demand to see the lease.

And if it has under-market rates, Drummer should be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit fraud.

Period. Ice Miller shouldn't get off blameless...some ethics would be nice.

If it has market rates, then all involved are guilty of concealing the deal. Which probably isn't a crime, but should be.

And someone should start calling the members of the township baord, who oversee the trustee's budget and very little power to do anything else. If any township funds went to prepare the zoning case, that's typically a tenant expense.

One more reason the township fiefdom system has to end. It's duplicitous and expensive.

In more ways than one, as we now find out.

Anonymous said...

Todays Star Article by Will Higgins

September 14, 2006


Mays defends a 'nice, upscale thing'
Businessman: Carson Government Center bar would be good for Mapleton-Fall Creek area
By Will Higgins
will.higgins@indystar.com
September 14, 2006


Millionaire businessman Bill Mays is known as a savvy dealmaker, but there's one investment he'd like to have back right now: the six figures he put into his would-be bar and restaurant in the Carson Government Center.
"If I'd had any idea of all this controversy," Mays said, "I'd have never put my $100,000 up. I'd have gone to Europe. I'd have invested it in Fishers."
Instead, Mays' investment has drawn fire, in part because the plans initially called for paving over an adjacent playground. Some people also have raised questions about the appropriateness of a bar in a building where the people's business is done.
Mays thinks the place -- on the ground floor of a seven-story affair with a wide range of private-sector tenants that occupy the majority of the building -- would be a boon to the neighborhood and a welcome addition to the black-owned hospitality scene.
"You try to do something nice, upscale," not another nightclub that stays open into the early-morning hours, he said. "There is not another establishment in the black community as nice as that place. So you have African-Americans that have to go to holes in the wall. Don't even have windows."
The law, of course, says people can go to any restaurant or bar they want to, regardless of their race.
"Technically yes," said Mays, "but let's get real. In practical terms, folks like to be in an atmosphere they're comfortable in."
Mays and his partners had declined to discuss their enterprise -- they're calling it 300 East -- since it came to public attention in early August. On Wednesday, they spoke out, expressing dismay at the reaction to their plan, insisting it would benefit the neighborhood and that they aren't in it for the money -- not strictly, anyway. "This is a labor of love," said Lacy Johnson, the largest investor.
The other investors include Teresa Gray, the wife of City-County Council President Monroe Gray; Indiana Black Expo President Joyce Rogers; Indianapolis airport marketing executive Patzetta Trice; and businessman Al Oak.
Johnson, a prominent attorney and chairman of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, grew up in the neighborhood. Mapleton-Fall Creek is an old, somewhat beaten-down place, and not the scene of much economic development.
"Making money was never our intent," Johnson said. "We wanted to reinvest in our community."
Johnson, Mays and a handful of others ponied up about $500,000 to convert the empty space in the government building's ground floor.
Work on the place looks complete. The interior is done in browns and terra cotta. Abstract paintings hang on the walls. The bar is made of granite. There are tables and sofas and an outdoor deck.
The project, however, still needs the approval of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission.
Its critics include Eric Dickerson, the Republican candidate for the 7th U.S. Congressional District, who has railed against the idea of putting a bar in a government building.
Several neighbors have objected, too, although Shary Johnston, executive director of the area's neighborhood association, recently wrote to Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer to express support for the effort "to bring a quality restaurant to the Mapleton-Fall Creek Neighborhood."
Mays and Johnson say the outcry likely resulted from their request to pave over the adjacent children's playground to allow for more parking.
They've since dropped that part of the plan.
The Metropolitan Development Commission was supposed to rule at its Aug. 16 meeting on the request for a zoning variance to allow the plan to move forward. But Patrice Abduallah, the City-County Council member who represents the area, asked that the matter be postponed until the commission's Oct. 4 meeting.
Abduallah said his constituents told him they opposed serving liquor in the building, and that he does, too.
Mayor Bart Peterson, a close political ally of Johnson's, didn't go that far Wednesday, but he didn't express support for the project, either. "I don't have any intention of getting involved in that," the mayor said.
Congresswoman Julia Carson, for whom the building is named, and who is Dickerson's opponent in the coming election, said she remains opposed to the serving of alcohol there. "I just think we have other things to do at the government center," she said.
But according to Drummer, until now, no one has shown interest in doing anything in the space that would be occupied by 300 East. It has been empty for four years, since a day-care center closed.
Johnson said he took it upon himself to try to lure tenants. He said Starbucks turned him down and instead built its own store nearby, at the corner of College Avenue and Fall Creek. He later tried to get a McDonald's, and then a Dunkin' Donuts.
He could not make a deal, he said, even though the building commands rents of just $8 to $12 a square foot.
Johnson noted that selling alcohol in government buildings is not novel. "Look at the airport," he said, "or the public golf courses, or the Convention Center."
Mays finds the prospect of a rejection by the Metropolitan Development Commission upsetting. "This is a nice, upscale thing we're trying to do," he said, "but if they don't want it, we'll leave."
And he'll be out $100,000.
"Money isn't everything," Mays said.

Anonymous said...

From the Neighborhood:

Thanks to Mr. Kahlo, Eric Dickerson, Advance Indiana, Darla Williams, Linda Ivey, Jocelyn-Tandy Adande and The Indianapolis Star, Will Higgins, Matt Tully, RiShawn Biddle!

Anonymous said...

"Johnson noted that selling alcohol in government buildings is not novel. "Look at the airport," he said, "or the public golf courses, or the Convention Center."

Some Govt. Buisness may take place at the above locations - but not my type of govt. buisness.

Now the place to put a bar is in ALL the BMV locations - they have a captive audiance who might want a stiff drink now and then while waiting !

Anonymous said...

Lori - I agree, it is time to clean house in Center Township!

They all got caught this time!

Anonymous said...

Bill Mays may have money, but he has no common sense, class, or, apparently, a sense of morals.

When a deal like this is put in front of you, who doesn't ask some simple questions?

Like:

*Do I have to bid against others for the right to have this lease in a public building?

*Is alcohol reeally necessary?

*(Am I really a racist?) (tough question, but necessitated by his own remarks in the story this morning)

My grandma used to say: if you get something you shouldn't have gotten, don't whine when it's taken away. Something Biblical about ill-begotten gains...

This is not Mr. Mays's first forray into improperly zoned adult clubs. The folks up by St. Vincent are still dealing with it. He's an owner there, too (Savoy), and they're horrible neighbors. Noise, drugs, crime...and when you ask why rules were waived, ignored or overlooked, you're accused of being racist.

Just because someone's been successful chasing SBA minority biz quotas all over hell's half acre, doesn't mean they're qualified to run or own a social club. Or, apprarently, ask simple questions.

"Do something Nice for the community" ? "If they don't want us we'll go elsewhere" ? If you want to know what a community wants, ASK them first, instead of doing things under cover of darkness. When does playground removal EVER constitute good judgment? That action alone has alarm bells hanging all over it.

Pretty childish for a man who has a reputation for fully investigating business opportunities. His due diligence here was sorely lacking. Here AND Savoy.

He oughta bitch-slap Carl and Lacy and everyone who led him into this pathetic enterprise.

Fed up said...

Is Bill Mays a racist?

Well, he brags about how his "Name alone" can always get him his way and that the white folks just kiss his ass and that he can "Take" anyone's business that he wants if they refuse to let him buy in."

I'd call that an arrogant racist pig.

jim695 said...

Brizzi is VERY selective concerning which criminals he prosecutes. A few of my retired-military friends and I gave evidence to IPD's Sgt. Thayer, which resulted in search warrants being served at Hoosier Lottery HQ. They seized 4,000 documents and arrested William Foreman in the emerging scratch-off ticket scandal.

Funny thing is, the fax read by Foreman was actually intended for Pete Byrne or William Hollcraft, and originated from someone at Scientific Games, a lead which Thayer refused to pursue, despite our insistence that he do so.

The Hoosier Lottery is hopelessly corrupt. Hundreds of millions of dollars have simply vanished from their coffers with no explanation. When we showed Rep. Bob Alderman our five-and-a-half-inch thick file, we told him we wanted to see some people in handcuffs. He made the "time-out" sign with his hands and said, "We can take care of this quietly; no one needs to lose his job or go to jail." Alderman then told us that, aside from the relatively small Excise Fund, all Hoosier Lottery revenues were being shoveled into the State Policemen's, Firemen's and Teachers' Pension Funds to "shore them up." Naturally, we asked why those funds needed shoring up, and what had happened to the money the Hoosier Lottery was replacing. Alderman looked at his watch, suddenly recalled a pressing engagement and left the building without another word.

We met separately with Bob Cherry and Leslie Heiner, who "sat in" for Brian Bosma. They were more concerned with whether we knew anything about the scratch-off tickets being fixed, as this scandal had not yet become public. For two hours, they examined our evidence and agreed that "something must be done" as soon as possible. Their plan of action was simply to ignore us from that point forward and refuse to take our phone calls or respond to our emails.

I then sent a letter to Souder, outlining details of our meeting with Heiner and Cherry, a copy of which I sent to Heiner. Suddenly, she wanted to talk to us. Her subsequent email was time-stamped at 6:15 pm on Sunday, which also happened to be New Year's Eve. In that comm, she insisted she knew nothing of the scratch-off ticket debacle prior to its publication, but that's all she and Cherry wanted to discuss at our meeting. Oddly, she sent a copy of her reply to Souder, as if to preclude him from asking too many questions, and it worked.

If the feds ever do come down to look into this, a lot of "important" people are going to jail. Three Indiana law firms have told us that the evidence we've collected is "probably sufficient to convict on at least three RICO predicates" (Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Misappropriation/ Conversion of Public Funds). However, they won't take the case, saying, "...the state house can make it very difficult for us to make a living." When the lawyers in this state are afraid of their government, what hope do the rest of us have?

What really sticks in my craw is the fact that we were thrown out of the federal building in Indy, having gone there to speak with an FBI agent about the matter. Not only were we denied an audience with a federal police official, we were escorted to the lobby and warned NOT to come back.

As a final insult, they suggested we contact our attorney general. Of course, we had already sent him our complaint. Mr. Carter promptly wrote back, saying that, if any wrongdoing were proven, his office would be defending the crooked lottery officials!

For those of you who simply refuse to believe that a crooked state lottery could operate for any length of time, consider that Joe Pfister, H. L. CPA at the time, told us that they actually downloaded their first random number generator in 2000 from a public site on the internet, at the suggestion of William Foreman! This was done to save money, and they couldn't see spending money for an auditable commercial RNG to draw our half-billion-dollar-a-year lottery games. Consider also that the Hoosier Lottery is NOT a state agency, but a privately-held corporation

If you still won't take your head out of the sand, go to their web site and compare Hoosier Lottery Daily Game payouts (Pick-3, Pick-4 and Pick-5) with those of ANY other state for the identical games. Even states such as Delaware and South Carolina consistently pay out thousands of times more per day, and yet they have a fraction of Indiana's population. Pfister claims this is because those states "have more affluent populations than we have here," meaning, I guess, that too many poor people live in Indiana (the look you have on your face right now is identical to my own expression at the time).

The Hoosier Lottery's liability limits exist only in Andrew Reed's head. All other state lotteries have mandated liability limits, but the Hoosier Lottery instead tracks player selections on a central database AS THEY'RE BEING SOLD. They know how much money has been bet on every number played on any given day, according to Regional Sales Manager Marina Bookout, and they have access to this information PRIOR TO EVERY DRAWING!

Getting back to Brizzi, we offered to provide him with a copy of our entire evidence file. He refused, saying he didn't even want to KNOW about it.

It is mathematically impossible to obtain payouts as consistently and ridiculously low as those enjoyed by the Hoosier Lottery without actively engineering them.

This is the issue Tulley should be investigating, but the Star wants nothing to do with this story, either. Every appointment we've had with Indianapolis TV or print reporters was mysteriously canceled at the last moment, again without explanation. When we call back to reschedule, they just don't come to the phone, and electronic requests continually go unanswered.

We've contacted everyone we can think of who is in a position to expose this corrupt organization, even political candidates such as Malina Kennedy and Tom Hayhurst. They always promise to call back and set a meeting, but they never do. Mitch Daniels has been notified three times - once just prior to his election and twice since then. In return, we received two form letters thanking us for our concern.

The standard argument we hear is this one: "The lottery would never fix their online games; they already make a fifty percent profit. Besides, look what would happen if they got caught!"

Well, now we know what happens when they get caught: Nothing.

Anonymous said...

These accusations are incredible! But, seeing how Indiana politics is undoubtedly corrupt, I believe ever bit of it! Like you said, when the lawyers are afraid to defend us against such crimes who do we turn to? We do need help, and we sure arent going to get it from Indiana? Where is the Federal Government? Help!