Sunday, February 10, 2008

Vaughn Jumps Firms And Creates More Conflicts

Councilor Ryan Vaughn (R) has left the firm of Tabbert Hahn to join Barnes & Thornburg, the state's largest law firm, according to the Star's "Behind Closed Doors" column. "Joe Loftus, a partner at Barnes, said Vaughn will focus his practice on state government issues and will recuse himself from any city issues that present conflicts with the firm's interests," the column reads. You may recall that Vaughn already faced a number of conflicts because of the clients his old law firm represented, including the library board. The number of conflicts he will face as an attorney for Barnes & Thornburg will explode. The firm represents several agencies whose budgets come before the council, including the Marion County Prosecutor, the Marion County Auditor, the Superior Courts and Corrections Corporation of America, which manages Jail II. Further creating problems for Vaughn is the fact that the firm represents Simon interests, which means he will have conflicts on any matters pertaining to the CIB's Conseeco Fieldhouse. That conflict already has raised a firestorm over Mayor Ballard's appointment of the firm's managing partner, Robert Grand, to run the CIB. The firm also represents a number of businesses which do business with the city. Under the circumstances, one might argue that Vaughn would better serve his constituents by simply resigning his seat on the council. This is an ethical dilemma of his own making, and one that shortchanges the people of his district who just re-elected him to a full, four-year term.

People who've been around this town long enough know that the big firms in town only hire people like Vaughn to increase their influence-peddling business. That is demonstrated by the recent hiring of Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John by Ice Miller. Last year, Ice Miller hired State Rep. Bob Kuzman shortly after the legislature adjourned last year. Kuzman helped steer through the legislature legislation to legalize slot machines at the state's two horse race tracks. Ice Miller represented interests lobbying for the passage of that legislation. "Ice Miller, where former Mayor Bart Peterson worked, was generally seen as losing pull with city government and access to lucrative city business and bond contracts," the Star's "Behind Closed Doors" column observes. "Lacy Johnson, an Ice Miller attorney, was just replaced as president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority board," the column adds. "John said his experience made him a good fit for the position 'regardless of who's in the mayor's office.'" That assertion by John is worth more than a few good laughs.

23 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

Greg Ballard's "Clean Government" pledge: To the victors, the spoils ?

Anonymous said...

Tell me this, all you smart lawyers: why does the prosecutor need outside counsel? Except, of course, those special criminal cases.

But a lawyer to represent the prosecutor at the legislature? Please.

Ryan Vaughn may need to check his ethics at the door, but he's a damn sight better than his predecessor, Jim Bradford, whose foibles included abandoning neighbors on zoning cases, etc.

Advance Indiana said...

I agree that Ryan is a much better councilor than Jim Bradford, but he can't get away from the inevitable conflicts of interest. Say what you want about the other big law firms in town, but they generally will not permit attorneys at their firms to run for political office to avoid the conflict issues. This is the second time Barnes & Thornburg has hired someone on the City-Council.

Anonymous said...

He is a republican what do you expect????

Anonymous said...

It is so clear that Greg Ballard is a prostitute of the highest calling. Everything that he has done has be political and all about making money for him and his corrupt political friends. Now I understand why so many good and honest people have been betrayed by Greg Ballard! Enjoy your illegal and unethical profits Greg Ballard! Perhaps one day an honest Attorney General will indict you for what you have done to this city!

Anonymous said...

Greg Ballard is just another liar who happened to be elected after doing what he does best! Misleading the public! What a joke!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Barnes & Thornburg was the firm which hired two of Jack Abramoff's cronies to enhance their D.C. lobbying practice and both of them wound up in jail for bribery-related offenses.

Anonymous said...

So is the assertion that Tom John actually did anything to get Greg Ballard elected mayor.

Luckily he'll be gone as Chairman in 2009.

Advance Indiana said...

Think about this. Ryan Vaughn chairs the Public Safety Committee. How can he vote on any matter involving any number of matters which come before the committee given that his new law firm represents the county prosecutor's office, the Superior Courts and the private company which manages Jail II. He also serves on the Criminal Justice Planning Council. Scott Newman serves on the Council. He's a former Barnes & Thornburg partner who founded the DNA testing firm with which the county contracts. Carl Brizzi serves on the Council. He has contracted the services of Barnes & Thornburg. Brizzi and Mayor Ballard are co-chairing the Council. Mayor Ballard relied on Bob Grand, the firm's managing partner, to run his transition team. He helped Newman get his job, along with David Reynolds, city controller and another member of the Council. Does anyone honestly believe there won't be collusion between these various people in conducting the important affairs of city government? What a joke. If I ever hear the GOP bring up Monroe Gray's name and the issue of ethics again, I will scream. A month on the job and the GOP proves it takes ethics even less seriously than Monroe Gray did, and that' not saying much.

Anonymous said...

Im a Democrat, and I'm going to give Ryan Vaughn the benefit of the doubt--for now. He has been responsive to neighborhood groups, citizens and constituents in multiple zoning and ABC cases. He has had the opportunity to b ack away from supporting them more than once, because it might be a little more politicall yexpedient. He did not. Yet anyway.

As someone who was represented by Jim Bradford for, well, too long, I can't tell you what a refreshing change that is.

The method by which he earns his income deserves extra scrutniy when his employer gets, directs or advocates for city dollars.

Perhaps the method to alleviate all this sturn und dramm, is to beef up the Conflict of Interest Statements, and have Mr. Vaughn, and any other councillors, fully disclose every single dime.

(Are you paying attention, Monroe?)

The current disclosure form is a complete joke.

I'm willing to cut Ryan some slack until he abuses the priveledge. We all have to earn a living. But the hawk eyes are on you, Vaughn...tred carefully.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that Vaughn is a former employee of Carl Brizzi's. I understand Carl gets Ryan invited to some of Timmy Durham's wild parties.

Anonymous said...

Gary, have you seen Abdul's latest blog ballardrules.com ?

Advance Indiana said...

I seriously doubt Abdul would be stupid enough to do another anonymous blog. He's still trying to shake the damage to his credibility and reputation from the IndyUndercover fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wilson, why did you take down the Andre YouTube you were so proud of???? You revealed Andre to be a TRUE sexist pig! I bet THAT is the future he wants for his daughter.

Jon Gerard said...

Alright, what politician doesn't have a conflict of interest. That is the nature of the "game," isn't it? I think of any person who ran/is in office Greg Ballard is the least "connected" person that I have ever seen get elected. The true test for this administration will be if the citizens of this city are better off in 4 years. But for now I think we must cut Ballard and some others some slack and see what happens, all the while keeping a watchful out.

REMEMBER NOVEMBER

Anonymous said...

I think Ryan has to give up his chairmanship of the Public Safety Committee. I don't see how it gets around that, but then again, Mary Moriarty Adams chaired it and her husband is a police officer.

Advance Indiana said...

It would appear to me that the Ballard Rules blog is authored by the same person who does Frugal Hoosiers.

Anonymous said...

Welsh,

Sorry to disappoint you but my credibility is just fine. The only people who complain are the people who couldn't stand me before.

If anything, I have even more credibility and influence now than before. In fact I would say I have a lot more influence than you.

And let's be honest, you quoted IndyUndercover on a number of occasions. And they were more effective at making change in this town than anybody.

Most blogs wish they had that much power, especially you.

Abdul

Advance Indiana said...

I quoted IndyUndercover, Abdul, when you personally gave me assurances that it was a group of Indianapolis police officers who were doing the blog on their own, and that you personally had nothing to do with its content, although you said you encouraged them in the beginning to put their thoughts into a blog. That turned out to be a complete lie. You were the person behind the blog we now know because of a probable cause affidavit which was made public and which fellow blogger Ruth Holladay reported on. You have never disputed that affidavit. And you have never answered to the public why you allowed the outing of a confidential police informant, a pregnant woman, and effectively placed her life in danger. Absolutely shameful.

Anonymous said...

Shame is like doubt, guilt and fear; those are qualities for lesser men!

Abdul

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that Abdul didn't deny he is the person behind Ballard Rules blog? Maybe he didn't learn his lesson after all, Gary.

Wilson46201 said...

Abdul would be wise to recall Proverbs 16:18 :
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Abdul-Hakim said...

Wilson,

I'm Islamic, but thanks for the suggestion.