Mansur's team includes hotel operator Concord Hospitality Enterprises, of Raleigh, N.C., and equity partner Samuel L. Odle, an executive of Indianapolis-based hospital group Clarian Health Partners.Odle, of course, is closely associated with the Julia Carson crowd. Close Carson confidante Lacy Johnson is the president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. Let's take another look at a story from the June 4, 2004 edition of the Star about a lawsuit former airport director David Roberts brought against the airport authority claiming he had been wrongfully terminated:
The former airport director at Indianapolis International Airport alleges he was fired last year for calling attention to "political opportunism" in airport hiring and contracts by an influential Democrat that Mayor Bart Peterson named as airport board president in 2000.
Indianapolis Airport Authority board President Lacy Johnson and board members attempted to influence airport staff to hire political favorites of Johnson, including an embalmer for whom there were no suitable job openings, according to a five-page notice of the former director's intention to file a lawsuit, which was recorded with the state and obtained by the Indianapolis Star."
Johnson attempted to influence employment of minorities, unionization of employees, allocation of space to airlines and concessionaires . . . engagement of favored contractors and suggested removal of BAA employees who were considered politically too Republican.
The former airport director, David Roberts, claims that in 2001 Johnson asked him to employ a "female state representative who was unqualified as an embalmer and who was a protege of Mr. Johnson's godmother.
"The godmother "is also a Congresswoman," the complaint states, in an apparent reference to Indiana's only congresswoman--Julia Carson, a Democrat who represents Indianapolis.
When Mr. Roberts told Mr. Johnson there were no suitable vacancies, Mr. Johnson said, "Other companies do this," according to the complaint.
Johnson, an attorney at prominent Indianapolis firm Ice Miller, was out of the office and could not be reached for comment Thursday . . .
Roberts' suit against the airport authority was dead-on about sleazy cronyism going on in this city with these various projects. As I said the other day, it's really cozy in Mayor Bart Peterson's little world of local real estate developers. The problem is only going to get worse as the local Republicans bypassed an opportunity to field a credible candidate to oppose Peterson, effectively ensuring his re-election.
Odle has absolutely no experience in the hotel industry. His unlikely participation has Lacy Johnson's fingerprints all over it. By participating in this insider deal, Odle erodes public confidence and detracts from the critical job he has running Clarian Health Partners. If he values the public's confidence, he will immediately divest his ownership interest in the hotel project. And it's about time the feds stepped in and started investigating this crap. It's our taxpayer dollars which are being thrown around to line the pockets of Peterson's cronies. Who's looking out for our interests? It clearly isn't Mayor Bart Peterson or Lacy Johnson.