Monday, June 04, 2007

Trudeau Underage Party Scandal Grows

Former Conseco CEO Stephen Hilbert was a guest at the home of Jack Trudeau last Friday night when police arrested a number of underage drinkers and Trudeau himself for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In fact, according to a police affidavit, it was Hilbert who asked that police produce a search warrant if they wanted to check for underage drinkers at the graduation party for Park Tudor students. Trudeau saw those charges escalate to include a Class D felony obstruction of justice charge for refusing to produce a list of party-goers to police. The Star's Robert Annis writes:

A missing list of Park Tudor students attending a graduation party at the home of Jack Trudeau was the basis for a felony obstruction charge against the former Colts quarterback, court documents released today show.

The police affidavit in the case says also that former Conseco head Stephen Hilbert was a guest the night police arrested Trudeau and several juveniles on alcohol charges.

The sworn statement says it was Hilbert who told officers they would need a search warrant after police showed up to check on a report of juveniles drinking at the party. The affidavit offers new details of the police decision to charge the former NFL player, whose arrest underlined what have become annual warnings by authorities that parents are in violation of the law if they tolerate underage drinking at graduation parties.

The night began with a Friday-night party for Park Tudor graduates at Trudeau’s Zionsville residence, the report says. Trudeau told officers that he collected car keys and listed names on a clipboard -- but denied that he supplied any of the alcohol that authorities found there early Saturday.

Trudeau is charged with obstructing justice, a Class D felony, and misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

His wife, Lisa, was also charged on the misdemeanor accounts. The Trudeaus’ attorney, Mike Andreoli, waived their rights to the initial hearing on their behalf in Boone County Superior Court 2 this afternoon. Trudeau was charged after police found underage Park Tudor students celebrating their graduation with alcoholic beverages in his home.

According to a police report, when officers arrived on the scene, Trudeau was at the front of his home with a clipboard in his hand. He told officers that he was taking everybody’s names and keys so no one could leave the party. He said that if underage drinking was going on, he didn’t supply the alcohol, but added that he wasn’t checking people’s coolers or bags as they entered the party.

Authorities said Trudeau had told his guests that he didn't want them to wind up like Jon Pavey, a star receiver on the Zionsville Community High School football team who was critically injured in an accident May 25.

According to a toxicology report taken two hours after the accident, Pavey had a .09 blood alcohol level. He remains in stable condition at Methodist Hospital.

Authorities said that after they arrived, officers and Trudeau went around to the back of the home, where officers saw several open containers of beer, rum and wine, and called for additional police to help secure the scene.

When officers asked if they could check on the welfare of the kids, Trudeau asked, “How can we make this go away?”After officers pressed the issue, Stephen Hilbert, who was at the party with his wife Tomisue and son, told the officers to get a warrant.

After returning with a search warrant, officers gathered the graduates and gave alcohol breath tests.

Eight of the partygoers tested positive for alcohol. Seven of them were charged with either minor consumption of alcohol and minor possession of alcohol and taken by bus to the Boone County Jail. The seventh was under 18 and released to his parents who were also at the party.

When officers did a sweep of the woods behind the house, they found five more partygoers hiding. All five tested positive for alcohol and were arrested by police for resisting arrest. Four of the young men were charged with illegal possession by a minor.

During the house sweep, officers asked Trudeau for the clipboard with the names of the partygoers, but Trudeau said he didn’t know where it was. Trudeau was asked for the clipboard again later, and he once again denied having the list or knowing where it was. At that time, Trudeau also was arrested. Trudeau’s daughter was one of the graduates at the party, but wasn’t charged with a crime.

Andreoli, representing Trudeau, declined to comment except to say Trudeau and his wife did nothing to violate the law. He added there was “no question” that Trudeau is being made an example of by local authorities.

“Whether they’re doing it artfully or appropriately, we’ll leave that for another day,” he said. “Certainly the message is they’re not going to tolerate underage drinking in Boone County.”

Hilbert is the CEO of Haverstick Consulting, a Carmel-based IT company with several significant government contracts, including the State of Indiana and the Indianapolis Public Schools. Were Hilbert and his wife helping supervise the party at which their own child was attending? Trudeau tells police he wasn't serving alcohol to any minors at the party. Then why was he collecting their car keys as they arrived at the party? Was he just assuming they would consume alcohol they brought with them to the party?

UPDATE: A sidebar to today's story in the Star indicates police found at least 97 bottles of beer, an empty half-gallon bottle of vodka, an empty champagne bottle and a beer bong.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm.... 40 and 50 something males hosting a party for high school grads, providing alcohol, and insisting they spend the night?
Looks like a little cradle robbing going on if there would have been more girls there!

Not saying that was the intention, just looks like it!

Doug said...

How out of line is it of me to think that maybe we're not better off with police cracking down on this sort of thing? Seems like if kids are going to get drunk at graduation, it's best that it happen with some sort of adult supervision and with keys confiscated.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see the rich and famous treated like everybody else. But, I recall my parents letting me drink with them after I turned 18. I can't get bent out of shape about high school graduates drinking with their parents. Perhaps I don't fully understand the situation -- very possible, since I'm not clear on Trudeau's relationship to these minors. Was one of his kids graduating or something?

In Ohio, circa 1990, it was legal for a parent at a restaurant to order a beer for their minor child. The server would go through the motion of handing the beer to my mom or dad who would then hand it to me. Silliness.

In any case, I guess I'm just not sure we're pursuing the best policy here.

Anonymous said...

I heard more from a (JT) neighbor friend yesterday, and it adds initrigue, and perspective, to the mix.

It seems the parking for this party was out of hand, and probably more Beemers and Benzes showed up than the adults planned on. The double-park was causing some traffic concerns on their road.

In addition, the neighbor put up with the loud noise until 10 or so, then tried to call Jack ot ask him to tone it down. No one answered the phone. The neighbor called police, and the police indicated they were enroute, as they'd already had another noise complaint.

To be sure, noise and double-parks are not life-threatening situations. But police are obligated to respond, and they did, presumably to ask that the party quiet down and move some cars into less-dangerous spots.

Once on the scene, the officers noticed multiple teens with beer and wine. The teens scattered into the woods nearby. What are the police supposed to do?

The police had warned the entire county they were going to crack down on thes eparties. They prepared posters with fancy slogans, I believe with a grant from the Governor's Council on Impaired Driving. The very definition of irony.

And when they arrive, they are greeted, it now appears, by a smart-ass Jack. And who offers legal advice vis-a-vis warrants? None other than Tomisue's husband, he of extensive courtroom experience.

How could we expect anything else, from a man who married the stripper who jumped from his own son's bachelor party cake?

Our symphony's theatre is named for this sorry excuse for hillbilly trash. I guess money can buy clout, but, be assured, one axiom will never change:

Money cannot buy class, manners or common sense.

"Come back with a warrant," indeed.

Anonymous said...

"What are the police supposed to do?"

The same people bashing the police for doing their job would be the same folks bashing the cops if they had not done their job and some kid ended up dead. It wouldn't have to be driving related, just drinking too much or climbing a tree and falling.

Seems like if kids are going to get drunk at graduation, it's best that it happen with some sort of adult supervision and with keys confiscated.

Sorry, but this is NOT the way to do it. The fact is, there are such things as extra keys. It is obvious to me that Jack knew that at least some of these kids were going to get intoxicated. How is this ok? To let young people get intoxicated and then no watch them? Sorry, but by having the party outside, it was clear to me that these kids were _not_ going to be watched. Why force these kids outside? Simple, a few would likely have gotten drunk. Can't risk the HDTV getting knocked down or someone throwing up on the fancy floor.

Had the police turned around and left saying "Ah, an adult is there, no big deal." and one of these kids died, everyone in the city would be slamming the cops:
"They only left because it was a rich person."

"The cops should have done their jobs. A minor arrest of a few folks is better than a dead teenager."

Etc. etc..

John M said...

Doug, I don't think many people have an issue with young adults who aren't of legal drinking age drinking socially with their parents. Not only is it no big deal, it's a good idea for kids to have some exposure to responsible drinking habits. That doesn't appear to be what was happening at the Trudeau residence. It seems to have been a run-of-the-mill, drink-to-get-drunk-fast kegger (well, with no kegs, I suppose, just the don't-ask-don't-tell cooler policy), with the only distinction that it was held with the endorsement of some parents. The party was loud enough to disturb the neighbors, something that is pretty rare for "adult" parties. You may have posted your comment before Gary added the update, but I presume that your parents didn't teach you how to bong a beer. The mere existence of that particular item pretty strongly refutes the idea that this party was in any way analogous to having a beer or two at a family dinner. Further, did Jack have the permission of the parents of every kid at the party to allow drinking at his home? Finally, let's not forget that Trudeau has had some quite public legal problems that were fueled by drunkenness. As far as mediocre Colts quarterbacks go, I would no sooner have my kid taught responsible drinking by Jack Trudeau than I would have him taught responsible gambling by Art Schlichter.

I'm not so naive as to think that all of those kids aren't going to be attending similar parties when they go to college in a couple of months. Still, I'm not sure that they should be taught that a kegger, where alcohol is merely a means to an end as opposed to something to enjoy and savor, is the proper or normal way to drink.

By the way, I think we are on the same page in terms of the public policy of a too-high drinking age. Parties like the one Trudeau hosted are a phenomenon in large part caused by that drinking age, where young adults drink to excess in unsupervised settings instead of in a bar with security, hopefully responsible bartenders, and the like. Still, the mere fact that such parties are inevitable doesn't mean that Trudeau should have given such a party a stamp of approval. If he really wanted to be responsible, he would have been downstairs with the kids as a bartender making sure they didn't consume dangerous levels of alcohol.

Doug said...

Thanks for the thoughts. Probably the Trudeau party isn't the right scenario with which to raise my concerns about how best to address teen drinking: a) I don't know that much about what was going on; and b) the more I learn, the fewer potentially redeeming features it had.

As a general proposition, there has to be a better way to address the issue than simply telling teens not to drink with the result being that they stake out a liquor store until they find an alcoholic adult who will buy a few bottles of something in exchange for a few bucks and then go drinking out in an isolated corn field somewhere before trying to drive home.

Anonymous said...

It's a real problem, Doug, and there is no solid answer to this dilemna. A solid discussion must ensue across all jurisdictions, to make sure all views are aired, and experts are dialed in.

But, not unlike my appreciation for art, I cannot always define good art, but I know it when I see it.

I don't know what constitutes a good teen drinking education program. But I'm betting it has several moving parts, and the law enforcement agencies in Boone County have decided tough love is one of them. I cannot argue. They didn't sneak up on anyone. A good program also, no doubt, does NOT contain large-scale parent-0ften parties where alcohol is served. Come on, folks...does anyone really believe it should?

The LEOs' effort last weekend is not the sole part of a good program. It cannot stand alone.

And it sounds as if maybe some parents, all too eager to win their children's and kids' friends "approval," need some education, too.

Doug said...

Off on a tangent, the history of alcohol in the country is an interesting one. In the early 1800s, the idea that 17 year olds drinking beer was a criminal act probably would've seemed very silly.

I recall one Civil War history book describing antebellum America and mentioning that John Adams would routinely drink a gill of hard cider (I think that's about 1/2 pint of 20 proof alcohol) before breakfast.

Industrialization made drunkeness a real problem. I guess it used to be common for people to work real hard for awhile then follow it up with a couple of days of drinking. That doesn't work in an industrialized society - you need your workers to function as predictably as your machinery. Furthermore, industrialization enhanced a drunk's ability to hurt himself and others. Falling down when you're walking drunk is one thing, blowing through a red light in a car and killing a guy after you got wasted at a strip club is another.

Tanning Lotion said...

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