Thursday, October 04, 2007

Memo To GOP: It's Called Ghost Employment

A Star investigation discovers that the Indianapolis Fire Department and Monroe Gray can't produce evidence of any work Gray does to earn $83,000 a year as a community liaison. Responding to the report, his GOP challenger Kurt Webber issued this statement: "Monroe Gray has gotten himself into another pickle," Webber said. "Mr. Gray should remove these conflicts of interest by choosing one of these positions and resigning from the other." Webber added, however, that he wasn't accusing Gray of acting inappropriately according to the Star. Say what? Let me help you out a little, Kurt. It's called ghost employment and it's a Class D felony under Indiana law.

If you don't believe me that such a law exists, just ask former Indiana Clerk of the Courts Dwayne Brown, who was convicted of 7 counts of ghost employment, even with Jim Voyles as his defense attorney. While Brown served as Clerk of the Court, he actively campaigned for two other elected jobs--Attorney General and Congress. According to a Court of Appeals opinion affirming his conviction, the facts were as follows:

Each of the seven counts of the indictment charged that Brown had used state employees, while they were being compensated by the State, in furtherance
of his political campaigns as proscribed by the ghost employment statute, Ind.Code 35-44-2-4(b), which reads as follows: A public servant who knowingly or intentionally assigns to an employee under his supervision any duties not related to the operation of the governmental entity that he serves commits ghost employment, a Class D felony.

The first three counts of the indictment involved a state employee hired by Brown in 1992. At the time this employee was hired, Brown told her that she would be working on his campaign. Brown told others in the office that this employee did not need to be trained to perform any of the office duties because she would be doing political work. During the first week of work, Brown requested that this employee attend the movie "The Pelican Brief" with him during office hours to allow her to learn more about the political and legal process. After that first week of work, Brown directed that the employee receive a $2,500.00 bonus from the State. Brown also requested this employee to attend a political fund raising event on his behalf during office hours. Finally, Brown directed this employee to spend office hours drawing sketches which were to have been used for Brown's campaign posters.

The fourth and fifth counts of the indictment pertain to another state employee hired by Brown to serve in a position described as "press secretary intern." Brown assigned this employee, during office hours, to research the voting record of the incumbent U.S. Representative Brown had hoped to unseat. Brown also directed this employee to attend a fund raising event held for his benefit on a Saturday for which the employee was compensated by the State at the rate of $50.00 per hour.

The sixth and seventh counts of the indictment relate to an incident in which Brown directed two other state employees to accompany him on a trip, during office hours, to Monroe County where he participated in a debate-style luncheon in conjunction with his campaign for Attorney General. One of these employees was directed to take notes regarding the other candidates' speeches and performances.

Now, let me first note that Brown's first mistake was crossing both the Bayh folks and the Julia Carson folks at the same time by stepping ahead of their candidates for the AG's office and Andy Jacob's congressional seat, respectively. That alone made him a marked man, although it doesn't excuse his criminal wrongdoing in office. You will see the ghost employment charges against Brown centered around the work of others Brown supervised. Nobody accused him of not performing the job to which he was elected, although there was evidence he was performing legal work on the side. And none of the employees performing political work on state time were charged with a crime.

In Gray's case, his immediate supervisor is IFD chief Jim Greeson, who is supervised by Mayor Bart Peterson. We know from earlier Star reports that not only does Gray get paid to do work as a CCC member and CCC President, but he also operates a concrete company, which he failed to properly disclose on his statement of economic interest has contracts with other contractors performing work on publicly-funded projects. Gray also admitted to the Star he is away from his IFD office a good part of the time during the day, driving his IFD-issued take-home car.

So I ask Kurt Webber and the Marion Co. Republicans, why aren't you accusing Gray of acting inappropriately? It seems to me he is every bit as guilty of ghost employment as Dwayne Brown was. The real question is why hasn't a grand jury already been convened and Mssrs. Gray, Greeson and Peterson called before it to testify about how a man can draw two public salaries and run a concrete business but can't produce evidence he performs any work for his full-time, $83,000 a year job? If the Lawrence Township Trustee can be indicted for theft over a $500 expenditure, surely our prosecutor can indict someone for the misappropriation of funds involving far more money and far more serious wrongdoing.


Anonymous said...

How many more are there on the take and where is Brizzi-MIA it seems. The good ol boys dem and rep mingle.

Sir Hailstone said...

I'm wondering this myself. All this effort to re-elect Brizzi and THIS is how we are repaid? IANAL, can the State AG look into this if the county prosecutor does not?

Gary R. Welsh said...

If this were Chicago, the U.S. Attorney's office would be all over it, but this is Indianapolis.

Anonymous said...

With Indianapolis Black organized crime running the largest multi-million dollar illegal numbers racket in the United States and it's spin-off narcotics, prostitution and vehicle theft operations you people are concerned with ghost employment???

I hate to burst your bubble but Gray's not going down. Neither is Peterson and others. If the Feds don't give a damn about organized crime in this city do you think Carter gives a rip about Monroe Gray and a measly $83 grand for sitting on his ass watching over the numbers operations and collecting cash.

When you worked to re-elect Brizzi you thought he'd put fires out. What you really got was a man building small fires into raging infernos. In short, you were played for a sucker and got screwed. M.Kennedy would have done the same.
It's going to take more than day bloggers to take down organized crime and the people like Gray that keep it's wheels greased.
Ghost employment is the least of this city's worries right now.

Anonymous said...

Then our U.S.Attorney is on the syndicate's payroll too Gary. That's not a surprise, it wouldn't be the first time one was tied in with organized crime. Hell, organized crime can't even exist without help from the U.S.Attorney's office.........OR CARL BRIZZI'S FOR THAT MATTER.

Anonymous said...

Consider the $83,000 the Mayor pays Gray as "protection money". It's really that simple.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Remember, anon 8:30, don't forget the feds nailed Al Capone for income tax evasion, not any of the other more serious crimes he and his mob buddies committed.

Anonymous said...

Why is Carl Brizzi failing to act??? It seems clear that the evidence is present to convict!

Brizzi was elected to be prosecutor, if he refuses to prosecute corrupt officials, then he is a failure.

Sir Hailstone said...

"If this were Chicago, the U.S. Attorney's office would be all over it, but this is Indianapolis."

Or Northern Indiana. Until he became a judge, Joe Van Bokklen was busting the Lake County Dems chops pretty good.

We had Susan Brooks *sigh*.

Anonymous said...

This is the perfect time for the new United States Attorney to demonstrate LEADERSHIP and prosecute Monroe Gray, Cody & Lacy Johnson, Carl Drummer, Bart Peterson, Fire Chief Greeson....and expose the CORRUPTION that is "The Democrat Machine!"

Anonymous said...

They nailed Capone but it was Sam Giancana who took control of the Chicago illegal numbers racket.
The present Indianapolis illegal numbers racket began in South Chicago.
With a little work you might find the MOMO had connections to a rather unusual priviate detective agency in Indianapolis that was established and ran by___________ (you fill in the blank)

Anonymous said...

People don't make large political contributions to someone like Brizzi without expecting to get something for their money.

Anonymous said...

Protection money in it's most hideous form and all supporting Peterson.

M Theory said...

There's going to be another protest at the City County Building regarding Monroe Gray's ethics, ghost employment, and the lack of transparency to the people regarding MBE city contracts.

Watch for an announcement soon.

(p.s. where is Wilson on this issue? Why isn't he defending Gray? He was at Gray's fundraiser last night.)

Anonymous said...

Gary, there is news about Monroe Gray's concrete co. being ordered to pay unpaid bills. Funny that it appeared in IBJ Daily which was sent at 12:06 p.m. and as of now (12:42), there's NOTHING on Indy Here's what appeared in IBJ Daily.

Councilman Gray ordered to pay $43,514
IBJ Staff

A Marion County Superior Court judge has ordered a company owned by City-County Council President Monroe Gray to pay $43,514 in unpaid bills. The judgment resulted from a suit filed against Mid Regional Concrete Inc. by Charlotte, N.C.-based Sunbelt Rentals, formerly NationsRent Inc.

Gray could not be reached for comment.

The decision is the latest in a long string of business troubles for Gray, a Democrat.

Yesterday, the Republican who is vying for Gray's council seat, Kurt Webber, charged that Gray is in a conflict of interest by holding the seat and working for the Indianapolis Fire Department. Webber's challenge followed an Indianapolis Star story showing that few records exist to document Gray's work within the fire department.

And of course, there will be nothing done about this either.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Grey may want to re-think giving up the $83,000 dollar a year job he has now.


Anonymous said...

PROSECUTE MONROE GRAY, et al, for the FELONY Ghost Employment & Official Misconduct!

Call Carl Brizzi to question!

Wilson46201 said...

Hey, most of the commenters here are Republicans and you-all really, really backed Brizzi bigtime! Surely some of you-all have inside connections to get Carl to do what you-all think is his job. Or does he ignore "the little folk" now that he's safely re-elected?

Mike Bowman said...

Wilson said "Or does he ignore "the little folk" now that he's safely re-elected?"

Sounds like someone else we know.

Anonymous said...

what, do you all think melina kennedy would do ANYTHING about grey at all? You're kidding yourselves if you do...