Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Police Bust Pea Shake House, Again

IMPD raided a pea shake house known as The Shack at 37th & Keystone for the third time this year. The Star's Vic Ryckaert writes:

Police today arrested 10 people on charges of illegal gambling during a raid on the Northside. Officers cited another seven people on charges of playing illegal games in a house in the 3700 block of North Keystone Avenue, said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

The 11 a.m. raid was not the first at the red two-story house known as The Shack. Today, police seized video equipment, a pull-tab machine, tickets and more than $2,500 from the alleged "pea-shake house," Duhamell said.

Pea-shake houses typically offer illegal neighborhood games that are similar to the Hoosier Lottery's Pick Three or Pick Four games.

Duhamell said today's raid at The Shack was the third since March.

In March and April this year at various locations in the city, police arrested at least 20 people and cited about 30 others for gambling or visiting a common nuisance.

On March 28, three men were arrested and three patrons were cited after SWAT team officers forced their way into The Shack.

Do you see something wrong with this picture? Why are police having to return time and time again to raid these same illegal gambling establishments? Is the City powerless to permanently shut down these establishments?

Compare what's happening with the pea shake houses to the City's stance on Melyssa Donaghy's dominatrix business. On the forced settlement of the City's lawsuit against her business, corporation counsel Kobi Wright "said the suit achieved the city's aim of shutting down Donaghy's business in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood" according to the Star's Jon Murray. "She lost that argument," Wright said, "because now she's enjoined from doing this." If you're such a tough guy when it comes to enforcing our zoning laws, Mr. Wright, why can't you figure out a way to permanently shut down The Shack and all these other illegal gambling establishments known as pea shake houses? "Police say the pea-shake operations, poker clubs and other illegal gambling operations are magnets for drug dealers, thieves and criminal activity," Ryckaert writes. Think about that, Mr. Wright.


Sir Hailstone said...

If the city only put as much effort into shutting down peashakes as they did into shutting down Melyssa's business...

Which begs to ask is there money being laundered and kicked back to the Democrat office holders??

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Gary, do you expect any different, when one of the leaders of the Black community, Sen Glenn Howard, is heard while interfering with a bust, to mumble "It's just a shake"..? A man who is entrusted to help author legislation, to include taxing these establishments, but does not, preferring to break the law as its written.

Must be some twisted logic involving 'reparations', I dunno. What I do know is that this is what happens when a group, in this case the black community, inflicts upon the community as a whole, elected individuals who are not reflective of the whole community, even the black one, yet all must suffer because of their indiscretions.

Anonymous said...

The problem is a prosecutors office who has failed to do their job as they should, to close these places down, in the absence of any leadership in the black caucus to legalize the activity. Perhaps if Carl Brizzi actually did his job instead of sniffing Peyton Manning's (and Eli's, too) jock at the Atlantis Club in the Bahamas, the shutting down of the establishments once and for all might take place.

Instead, he's busy ordering more pancake make-up. Oh, and inapporopriately filing charges on a cop who acted within the law as it relates to those who resist arrest...all for some unholy alliance with the Mayor's office to garner votes, apparently.

Anonymous said...

And this place will be back open for business tomorrow. What a sham. When the city gets serious about shutting these down is when I might think there is hope for this city.

Anonymous said...

Of course one knows where Brizzi's priorities are. Wherever he can get money and votes. You can see that by his letter to the editor today. He's married to the liquor lobbyists money (as a bar owner in part himself). His letter to the editor was pathetic. And he's probably happy to look the other way at the Columbia Club, where, some would say, high dollar prostitution, drug dealing among the casual rich white users, and illegal gambling flows throught the French Room.

Why be a hypocrite and bust the poor black gambling houses and p.o. the black community, where he still can pull some votes, and be accused of looking the other way among his own set.

Anonymous said...

Kobi Wright can't shut a door without help how do you expect him to shut down a peashake?

We need change in Indianapolis. A change in leadership = change in staff, then we might have a chance at a safe city.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, Gary, that the police are doing their job. These cases are not progressing through the court system. That's the purview of Carl Brizzi. Inept though Kobi may be, he works for the city, not the prosecutor.

It seems simple--the violators operate in a former home, boarded up windows, surveillance cameras, guns out the ass...

Find the owner, sanction him to hell, and maybe you'd get to the source.

The operators? Unless they own the real estate, they're pawns.

And, the comparison to Melyssa is getting real old. Kobi Wright is a 14 Karat legal goof, but Melyssa admitted in here agreement that she'd violated zoning ordinances. Story over.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 4:44, you totally miss the point. In Melyssa's case, there were no arrests. The city used its zoning laws and the court system against her. The arrests at the pea shake houses by police are fine, but the city is not using its zoning laws to go after the property owners so these operators aren't allowed to keep reopening. And that begs the question, why?

Anonymous said...

FOLLOW THE MONEY!Thousands of tax free dollars are generated daily in each one of these illegal gambling establishments.Drive by there today and you will see a parking lot full of cars and people milling around.These little raids are conducted periodically so politicians can say they are "cracking down" on this illegal activity. Fact is, the operators of these places are tipped off and know when the cops are coming. This way they don't have large amounts of cash on hand.The $2500 that was seized in this latest raid is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of cash that flows through there daily. These small sums of money are nothing more than a payoff; the price of doing business so to speak. The city could shut these places down,board them up,and seize every parcel of property TODAY if they so choosed. Why don't they? The answer to that question is simple: FOLLOW THE MONEY!

What seems even more curious to me is why the feds don't come in and prosecute these places under the RICO statute. HMMMMM!

Anonymous said...

OK, Gary, now I get your point, although my point is equally applicable.

Whether or not our erstwhile camera-hogging Miami-tripping prosecutor goes after the operators, the city can pursue the owners with zoning violations. As aggressively as they pursued Melyssa.

It makes sense. They'd better send someone besides Kobi to do it--he could screw up a two-car parade...all the while acting bullyish.

But please no more "Melyssa the poor victim" stories. We've had our fill.

Anonymous said...

It'll take some kind of investigation on the federal level to bring the pea shakes down. The money leaves a trail, and I'd be willing to bet that the dozen or so known shakes all have the same couple people at the top of the pyramid.

And I'm going to echo Anon 6:26 am's point, though I know it's probably not going to be popular: I think we can take Melyssa down off the cross now.

Anonymous said...

Whether it's popular or not, Lance, it's the right thing to do.
There's only so much room on the martyr cross.

I'm told by folks who know, that the money trail from these peashakes is indeed tough. Those who set it up knew exactly what they were doing.

And if the authorities want to pinch the winners, it's whole neighborhoods or groups of folks winning $20-40...completely impractical. Yeah, they're visiting an illegal operation, but hundreds do it weekly.

I actually like Gary's suggestion about zoning violations. Clearly, the city legal folks can work themselves into a lather on such issues. Mr. Wright is a bozo attorney, but even he got what he wanted on the above-mentioned case.

Always remember, Al Capone was jailed for tax evasion. Not murder, or anything else.

Go at 'em with what ya' got. Which is very clearly a gross zoning violation. Has anyone checked property records to see who owns these dens of crime?

Not that i'm pining for his comments, but we all must notice who's absent on this post...

Anonymous said...

As Mr. Callahan stated, IF Bart Peterson wanted to, he could give the order and drop the hammer right now and order these shut down.
It wouldn't be difficult to accomplish. BUT, Bart can not do this. Why, you ask? Because he needs the black vote. Without the black vote, he is done. He might be out anyway, but he is definitely out if he doesn't get the black vote. Bart can not afford to piss off Glenn Howard, Bill Mays, Monroe Gray, Vern Brown, etc, etc.

And if anyone that reads this blog thinks that IMPD is "cracking down" on the pea shakes, you are mistaken. They only raid these every so often, in order to keep some uninformed voters appeased.

Anonymous said...

I wish to hell that you local people would refer to these so-called Pea Shake houses for what they are. Calling them Pea Shakes is an awfully tame description for ILLEGAL NUMBERS RACKETEERING!

Indianapolis is the only city in the United States where this type of criminal enterprise is allowed to operate without impunity! Why??????? Because the syndicate's ties to local law enforcement, elected politicians, the courts, the local media and financial institutions runs very very deep.

This criminal activity is NOT a local law enforcement matter, it is a Federal law enforcement matter. The Department of Justice MUST deal a death blow to this crime syndicate's operations and they need to do it NOW! Only the Feds can effectively press full RICO charges against organized crime and these "Pea Shakes" ARE organized crime.

The Justice Department has shut down these operations in other city's with RICO but Indianapolis is "hands off"? Why?

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the previous posters, a lot of what can be done needs to be done outside the scope of law enforcement. Talk to some of the people who run these things, they have 15 or 20 B Misdemeanor gambling convictions (which you know will yield no punishment whatsoever regardless of recidivism.) Even if you got them for maintaining a common nuisance you'd probably need 4 or 5 convictions to send them to prison.

But if you went after them with zoning laws, or for violating the fire code by barricading their doors the operators wouldn't necessarily go to prison but at least the place would be shut down. Unless you caught them selling dope out of the place...

Oh, and I've never been there but I thought the Columbia Club was a political hob-nob type thing, not a gambling house?

Anonymous said...

What part of ILLEGAL NUMBERS RACKETEERING do you NOT undertand? We're not talking misdemeanors here, we're talking about RICO charges. It's a Federal issue NOT a local one and the DOJ either steps in or they don't.

A white man was hit with RICO charges and sent to Federal prison for supplying gambling machines to taverns in Indiana. White ran poker clubs where shut down in Indianapolis. Both, all within the last year.
Yet somehow, the black criminal syndicate in Indianapolis that runs a mulit-million dollar number racket is allowed to operate without impunity.
No one gives a damn about the low level "soldiers" who are always the ones arrested "on site" when a house is raided. We want to know who the local syndicate bosses are that employ these "soldiers".
To hell with Brizzi, he knows the deal and the players.
Federal RICO action needs to be taken NOT penny ante zoning violation bullshit!
Sorry Jason, organized crime really doesn't give a rip about zoning but they DO care about the DOJ coming in.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me? I never admitted I violated any ordinance. I agreed not to do certain activities which I was not doing in the first place.
There is absolutely no issue with my teaching dominance and submission arts for consideration.

Email me at if you want a copy of the recording of Kobi Wright attempting to intimidate me on the phone. It's priceless.

And as a bonus, I'll include a hilarious phone recording of Councilor Conley too.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"The problem is a prosecutors office who has failed to do their job as they should, to close these places down..."

How, may I ask, is the prosecutor supposed to "close these places down"? If you will bother to look you will find out that in practically every one of these pea shake arrests the prosecutor's office has filed charges consisting of Corrupt Business Influence, Promoting Professional Gambling, and Money Laundering. These are all Class C and D felonies and represent the most serious charges that the Indiana Criminal Code provides for in these kinds of cases.
I'm not sure that some people don't have unreasonable expectations about what law enforcement is capable of doing. You think that just because the police make a gambling arrest that somehow that is going to put an end to all gambling? The police make murder arrests, yet we continue to have murders; they make burglary arrests and we keep on having burglaries. When a search warrant is served at a crack house it isn't unusual for it to be back up and running within hours of the police leaving the scene. What makes you think the pea shakes are any different? I'm not saying that that makes it okay, I'm just saying that in a system that bends over backwards to prevent jail overcrowding adn generally coddles criminals it is naive to think that the people that run these gambling operations won't get released and be back in business soon (or replaced by others), particularly considering how lucrative the pea shakes are reputed to be.
The only way to shut these places down is for the police to raid them every single day. It's clear that the prosecutor is willing to file serious charges whenever the police bring them a pea shake case so any failure here is on the part of the police for not keeping the pressure on. And in their defense the police can't reasonably be expected to hit every pea shake house every single day. They have neither the manpower, nor I suspect, the desire, to put that kind of all out blitz on the pea shake houses.
What is clear, however, is that these places must be lucrative enough that they are able to absorb the occasional raid, confiscation of cash on hand, and incarceration (however brief) of their employees and continue to operate without missing a beat. That means that these raids are just a brief hiccup in the daily operation of these cash cows, and that more than anything else speaks to the degree of organization and sophistication at the upper management level. Somebody is clearly getting rich off these places, and it isn't the occasional winner, or the citizens of the city that stand idly by while thousands, maybe millions, of untaxed and unregulated dollars daily flow into the hands of the proprietors. Small wonder that State Senator Glenn Howard has never seen fit to introduce legislation that would legalize these "cultural fixtures" that he is so fond of defending. Why cut the state in on the take when you don't have to?
Bottom line: if the city administration wanted these places shut down there are three ways to do it: keep up the pressure from the police department with arrests; enforce civil zoning rules and statutes; and finally, follow the trail of untaxed cash and go after those that are getting rich with criminal and civil tax penalties. When running a gambling operation ceases to be profitable then and only then will it shut down.
But to 7:49, don't blame the prosecutor when he is filing the charges that the police bring to him.

Anonymous said...

Melyssa, honey, you obviously don't understand the nature of the document you signed. Pity.

You agreed not to do something you weren't already doing? Damn...not the way I read it. Someone must've wasted a lot of time--on your legal team and the city's.

We're not stupid, M.

However, the Conley tape would be funny. He's a huge flaming goofball.

And did I read correctly--you may indeed go back to teaching your "classes" again?

Talk about stupid.