Friday, March 23, 2007

Star Wants Council To Investigate Gray

The Star's editorial writers ask the city-county council to conduct a bipartisan investigation of City-County Council President Monroe Gray concerning his business ties to at least one major city contractor as requested by council Republicans. The Star has already concluded Gray's actions at least call for his censure by the council. The editorial reads:

Let's be clear: Indianapolis City-County Council President Monroe Gray deserves censure for failing to disclose his business ties to a city contractor. His failure to set and follow high ethical standards reflects poorly not only on himself but the entire council.

At the least, the council should set up a bipartisan panel to investigate why Gray did not accurately complete ethics forms that would have shown his financial connections to James Trotter, a contractor who has handled millions of dollars in business with
the city.

Unfortunately, Gray and fellow Democrats on the council are refusing to take the issue seriously. They've dismissed calls to create an investigative committee as purely partisan in motivation.

But even partisans can make sensible points on occasion. And council Republicans' questions about Gray's potential conflicts of interest shouldn't be quickly brushed aside.

Gray has shown a pattern of playing loose with facts when it comes to his personal involvement in the city's business. He denied, for instance, any connection to the development of a restaurant and bar at the Julia Carson Government Center. His wife, however, was an investor in the project.

The Star also takes a swipe at City-County Council attorney Aaron Haith, who is personally representing Gray in his business dealings at the same time he's performing work for the council as a whole. Although the editorial doesn't mention it, Haith is also defending City-County Councilor Ron Gibson against charges he shoved a sheriff's deputy during last year's Black Expo. The Star writes:

Then there's the matter of council attorney Aaron Haith, who initially blocked a resolution to have a committee investigate Gray for possibly violating the city's ethics code. Gray himself intervened to allow the resolution to move forward. Council Republicans are expected to submit the proposal Monday.

Haith not only represents the council but also works as Gray's private attorney and handles legal work for Mid Region Concrete, a failed company owned by Gray. Mid Region is named in at least nine lawsuits that accuse Gray of failing to pay workers and suppliers.

The potential conflicts of interest are piled high. Yet neither Gray nor Haith is willing to acknowledge the problem.

I think it's a good idea for the council to investigate Gray, but I think it is even more important what our county prosecutor is doing--or not doing, as the case may be. It's been more than eight months since serious questions were raised about Center Township Carl Trustee's conduct surrounding the 300 East bar in which Gray's wife has a financial interest. It's also been four months since an IBJ story raised additional questions involving conflicts of interest and potential misuses of township property by Drummer. The prosecutor's office has been completely mum on both accounts so it is also no surprise we've heard nothing about an investigation of Gray coming from the prosecutor's office. And at least in Lake County, there's a U.S. attorney who will actually investigate and prosecute these matters. The U.S. attorney in Indianapolis seems only interested in prosecuting petty drug dealers. Note she had another press conference yesterday about some small-time drug dealers who were busted.


Anonymous said...

I've already predicted elsewhere that Gray will be taking the fall for sticking his neck out. I recommended then that he sit down with his attorney (not Haith!) and make a few phone calls to prosecutors to work out some kind of deal for himself in exchange for testimony, before he's further humiliated and perhaps prosecuted.

Now the Star is recommending action against him. Is anybody surprised? Gray better act quickly (and quietly) before all of the cards are stacked against him. I hope you're reading this, Mr. Gray.

I also stated that Senator Howard may be on the same list. If I were him, I'd consider accepting the same advice - there are larger players in this scenario who will quickly sacrifice their local champions, as a message to others who are involved in protecting racketeering and as a tool to convince the public that action is being taken.

Wilson46201 said...

Why the whining about
Susan Brooks? From what we are learning from the Justice Department firing scandal in Washington, our local Republican US Attorney is probably rated as a "good Bushie". Enough said!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, I am curious, could you give us your opinion on the actions of Mr. Gray? At lease acknowledge there is a problem, and stop deflecting the attention to Brizzi et al when the real issue lies with a CCC President who very clearly has his own interests above those of both his employer(IFD) and the citizens of Marion County who he claims to serve.

Wilson46201 said...

Brizzi? Who mentioned Brizzi? Not me! Read carefully: it is your Blogmeister ( a self-avowed Republican! ) who raised the issue of Brizzi's seeming complaisance...

It's an election year for the Council - the ebbing Marion County GOP is desperate for campaign issues - they know voters will overwhelmingly support Monroe Gray but by raising questions about him, perhaps enough other folk will get riled up and vote for the feeble slate of Republican At-Large Candidates. This aint about Monroe, it's about control of the City-County Council!

Anonymous said...

Why should Gray be concerned. He and other blacks involved in racketeering always seem to have many race cards to throw down from the deck they were given by the whites who control the operations.
I am simply amazed with Haith's attitude. That sob needs to have his license to practice law revoked. How crooked can it get?
How much evidence does this town need of widespread corruption?

Anonymous said...

Ethics charges need to be brought along with criminal charges of Ghost Employment, Racketeering, perjury as well!

Gray is involved in getting himself city construction contracts that were not disclosed, illegal gambling (is there a cash payoff for his support of illegal gambling?) His wife, who he claims to know nothing about is an investor in a bar located in a GOVERNMENT building!!! The zoning variance was approved by the wife of his council majority leader.

Does Gray have any assigned duties for IFD? Does he perform meaningful duties when on the payroll??? (We know that answer)

Gray needs to go!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gray, to his credit, overruled the nincompoop Haith and allowed the resolution to go forward. It won't win because 15 votes are needed.

As usual, Wilson didn't answer the Gray question. He never will. Apologists don't have to make sense.

I, too, wonder where our prosecutor is. It is clear he's spending some time out of town lately. Attending glitzy Super Bowl parties. The goof has no sense, either...he allowed himself to be pictured with folks there.

If the council Republicans had some brains, they'd focus some attention on Ms. Franklin for her vote. She has shown a propensity to dart from her party.

And why wasn't this case taken to the city Ethics Board? That forum already exists.

Just asking.

Anonymous said...

perhaps enough other folk will get riled up and vote for the feeble slate of Republican At-Large Candidates.

Why do you call the GOP At-Large candidates feeble, Wilson? I've heard them all speak, and a couple of them in particular strike me as actually wanting to serve because of a sense of need; cleaning up the mess the Democrat majority has made of the Council, these past 4 years.

How is that feeble??
-From a Democrat tired of the antics of these self-serving fools

Anonymous said...

"overwhelmingly support monroe gray"-what a sick joke! sick because the repubs cant find someone in his district to run, but wilson, ANY party who put up a candidate against gray, libertarian, green etc would swamp that fool. he is a disgrace to your party

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:08:
Correction. Those who vote for Gray are the disgrace, and get what they deserve. But sadly, the city suffers.

Wilson46201 said...

At the Democratic Slating Convention I got a bright yellow "Re-Elect Monroe Gray" T-shirt. After today's Star editorial, I figured it'd be a good time to wear it downtown shopping, if only to rile up some grumpy Republicans. I got a generally good reception, with several nods of approval. It was fun!

Anonymous said...

More inane chattering from Wilson. Irrelevancy to the topic at hand personified.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, the fool, is always silent on the criminal activities of his party. It is ALWAYS eerily quiet when it starts to hit the fan of someone getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or more appropriately, at the pea shake.

The party plays him like a puppet and, while well spoken, is a tool and happy to dance when they pull strings.

Oh the mighty Dems, how they will fall. It is the complete arrogance of their perceived power that will be their downfall, and then it will be the Republicans turn to screw it all up to. It is a very predictable cycle.

Anonymous said...

I know that it may be difficult for you to understand but there is a rather sizable group of Democrats that have been around a long time since before you started shaving that have been silent on the open corruption within their party. I'm one of them.
Now, if it takes hardball, down and dirty politics to flush down the filth like Gray and many others like him then that WILL happen. It's not a threat or a promise. It's just the way it is. Our party promised the good people of Indianapolis more and it's high time that we started to live up to those promises.
Gray and his circle are a disgrace to the Democratic Party and they will not be tolerated no longer.

Contemplate if you will, what would happen if Mayor Peterson is forced to step dowm before election day. Think about it real hard. Impossible? Hardly.

Wilson46201 said...

...and I suppose it's possible that the deed to the valuable land under the Soldiers and Sailors Monument that you are peddling might be authentic too. It's possible, I suppose...