Wednesday, November 14, 2007

GOP Picked New Leader In Durham's Office

Republican City-County Councilors have a funny way of reassuring us their ascension to power will bring about a more open and ethical council. To pick the new president of the council and other GOP council leaders, the group met in the private offices of Tim Durhan, a multi-millionaire businessman who has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates and political parties in recent years. Star political columnist Matt Tully mentions the site of the GOP meeting without raising a hint of impropriety on the location of the meeting. Tully writes:

Five days after sweeping through Election Day, the 16 Republicans who will make up the City-County Council majority gathered on the 48th floor of the Chase Tower to select a leadership team.

It was just after 5 p.m. when the Republicans gathered in the offices of Obsidian Enterprises, owned by top GOP contributor Tim Durham. As the group arrived, the sun was shining into the conference room; cookies decorated with GOP elephants sat on the oval table that the members sat around.

Tully's lack of concern about the meeting's location is particularly noteworthy given he devoted an entire column to Durham's rather public sex life a few months back. Here was a little of what Tully wrote about Durham then:

Durham hosted a more interesting "Fantasy Pajama and Lingerie Party" at his home featuring 2005 Penthouse Pet Martina Warren. The festivities are documented on Durham's R-rated MySpace page . . .

Although he gives most of his campaign cash to Republicans, Durham also has financially supported some Democrats, including Mayor Bart Peterson.

But these days, political insiders are talking about Durham's MySpace page, which highlights the pajama party. One photo shows two naked brunettes making out. Another shows three blondes groping. The site also includes photos of the 45-year-old Durham -- who is divorced -- with D-level celebrities and Playboy Playmates . . .

If the photos were on Durham's fireplace mantel, who would care? Since he put them on MySpace for the world to see, insiders are talking.

"I'm a private citizen," said Durham, who is a member of the governor's re-election Steering Committee. "I am who I am. If someone doesn't want money from me, they don't have to call and ask me for it.

"Durham, who lives in Fortville, said he hired 10 off-duty police officers, mostly from Fishers, to make sure no laws were broken at the party.

"I had a party," he said, "and some of the attendees got a little out of control.

"Then he posted photos of the action on MySpace. After I called, Durham limited access to his site to his friends.

It is beyond belief that the GOP council members would find no problem holding a meeting to choose the leadership of the new GOP council at any private businessman's office, let alone Tim Durham's in light of recent publicity surrounding him. Can you imagine what the GOP would be saying if the Democrats convened at 300 East or a local labor union hall to pick their leadership team? Did Durham make a hefty recent contribution to the local party which made it all the more enticing to conduct this official meeting in his private office space?

The message the GOP council sends is loud and clear. People who contribute big bucks to our political campaigns are more important than you common folks. It's business as usual. If you want to play, you have to pay. The rest of us are irrelevant. And you thought we voted for change last week.

18 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

Now it can be told: last December I attended a most deluxe fundraiser for Bart Peterson up in Tim Durham's top-floor offices. Very, very impressive! I was rather amused myself when I read about the venue of that GOP council caucus...

As the French say: the more things change, the more they remain the same!

Anonymous said...

Durham has the whole top floor at the Chase Building and much of it is converted to conference space. They try to get meetings, conferences and fundraisers in there all the time and he's pretty quick to donate it groups if he knows them.

(They could have had these meetings at the Columbia Club, it would have cost them a lot more, and they would have come under the same criticism, I'm guessing.)

Advance Indiana said...

Or they could have had the meeting in a public building since they are elected officials whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Right here is reason #1 why this & other right-leaning blogs should not close up shop. We still need to keep our government accountable to the people.

Thanks AI!

Anonymous said...

It's a conference and catering center — scarcely a "private office."
http://www.obsidianenterprises.com/catering.php

*yawn*

Anonymous said...

How can they be doing "council business" when most of them aren't even sworn in to the council yet? The terms for the newcomers don't start til January. Perhaps this is a fine line, but one worth noting.

Wilson46201 said...

This was a private Republican get-together to iron out some Republican pecking-orders - not a public meeting of elected officials on public business!

The President of the Council will be elected openly by the Council in January. The GOP may have their little meetings where they wish - it is really not public business.

Where did Ballard select his transition team? Why wasn't I asked to be present? Because it's not official public business!!!

Bart Lies said...

"Now it can be told: last December I attended a most deluxe fundraiser for Bart Peterson up in Tim Durham's top-floor offices."

In wrinkled T-shirt and cargo pants, as per usual, I suppose.

Reminds me of the 'pet rock' fad. Everybody wanted to buy one and keep it around for their friends to look at, even though it had absolutely no purpose and anybody could pick up one for free anywhere.

Advance Indiana said...

In some states, the open door law requires even caucus meetings to be conducted in public. Not in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the location is it seems to be associated as a place where both political parties go to have fundraisers. That should be reason enough to avoid having an official meeting at this location.

Zappatista said...

And you thought it would be different???? I consider myself a fiscal democrat, as growing up it has been easy for me to view the republican party (in great masses) as the bourgeoisie, with no concern for their constituents. Yes, I know this is a large generalization, but can you tell me that this can be viewed any other way? To task, both parties practice exclusivity to some extent, but this is what "we" were fighting against, no?

Anonymous Nobody said...

The world must be coming to an end! I actually agree with Wilson. Caucus meetings are private. I don't hear anyone complaining when the House and Senate caucuses choose their leadership before the actual floor vote. Nor do I ever hear anyone complain about caucus meetings prior to any floor votes on bills. Media does not have access to these meetings- how is this different?

Anonymous said...

I've used the conference space described here. Durham was no where around.

And don't let Wilson's ruse fool you: the mayor's folks wanted as much distance as possible between Bart and Wilson. How Wilson attended that meeting is a mystery--he surely didn't pay...maybe Julia attended, and he entered with her entourage for free. God knows he's done that many times before.

Their only dilemna in the future: if 15 of them gather at the same place, unannounced, it is officially a council meeting. They've got to be sure to post it. The Open Door law allows caucuses, but it makes no mention of, say, Holliday Parties. To be perfectly compliant, the majority of any elected body, when gathering for any purpose except a caucus, should advertise and post it.

The Open Door law passed in 1977. Biggest lobby groups against it: Farm Bureau, School Boards, Superintendents, Cities and Towns. If you think there are some huge errors in judgment now, Gary, you shoulda been around pre-ODL.

We now have an entire generation or so, of elected officials, for whom this law is the norm. The progess is astounding. Sometimes, they slip. It used to be normal for closed meetings to occur. The law allows for the body to go private for negotiations on contracts, personnel issues, self-evaluation and interviewing personnel or discussing personnel issues.

In Florida, a school district must interview all its Supt. candidates in public. There are basically no reasons for private meetings.

Their schools suck, but that's the way they conduct business.

Anonymous said...

It was Tom John's stupid idea to have it at this location. Are you surprised?

Anonymous said...

They couldn't meet at the Rep county HQ ?

Anonymous said...

This is becoming a very irritating broken record...

This is so NOT a big deal. When Wilson makes more sense than you, Gary, you need to reconsider.

If you make mountains out of molehills, no one's going to pay attention when you disclose the mountain (ie, Patrice's residency). Don't waste your space!!

Advance Indiana said...

Well, maybe this whole blog has been a waste of my time. See ya.

Anonymous said...

Wilson and Jen Wagner were all over Carl Brizzi and the GOP's case when they hosted a fundraiser at Durham's office a few weeks back for their judge candidates. Why the change of heart, Wilson?