Early has been a member of the CIB for 16 years. He is president of the Somerset CPA firm. He knew damn good and well when the CIB signed off on the new stadium in 2005 that it did not have the resources to pay for its operating/maintenance expenses. This was well-documented in the local news media. Then-CIB President Fred Glass and Mayor Bart Peterson attempted unsuccessfully to get the legislature to allow tax revenues earmarked to pay for the debt service on the stadium's construction costs for the stadium's operating/maintenance expenses. Early, like Glass and Peterson, decided to go ahead and force the issue later, believing the CIB would get what it wanted in the end because the legislature would not allow it to fail. This same cocky attitude allowed Early's CPA firm to entrust a young guy in his firm with a gambling and drinking problem with the Penrod Society's funds, resulting in the embezzlement of the nonprofit's funds. When questioned by an IBJ reporter about the employee's past, Early said half the young people who went to college got arrested for drunk driving and he missed the guy's personality. Not surprisingly, instead of giving this guy the boot, Mayor Ballard handed out one of the City's most prestigious civic awards to him just recently. In accepting the award, Early joked about how much his daughters enjoy the great tickets to sporting events.
City-County Councilor Jackie Nytes comes in with her typical partisan jab on the subject, blaming Gov. Daniels and the legislature for the mess. She tells Tully, "[F]ormer Mayor Bart Peterson's initial proposal to build the stadium with proceeds from a casino included additional money for operating costs." "The problem is we had a plan and didn't stick with it," she said. No, Jackie, you didn't get the plan you wanted so it was the responsibility of the City to find another way to pay for those expenses before it went forward with the new stadium. Nytes' husband's printing firm, incidentally, won a multi-million dollar printing contract with the City of Indianapolis when she chaired the committee overseeing the City's budget.
Let's look at the other CIB board members as described in Brendan O'Shaughnessy's story in today's Star (Note: Someone forgot to clue Brendan in on the additional $7 million shortfall the CIB is claiming, putting the number at $50 million instead of $43 million):
- President, Robert Grand. He is the managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg and personally represents the Simons, the owners of the Pacers. In addition, his law firm represents a plethora of other clients with potential conflicts of interest. Grand also serves on the Indiana Sports Corporation, which has been doled out millions by the CIB.
- Treasurer, Ann Lathrop. She is a partner at Crowe Horwath. Her CPA/consulting firm represents many clients which pose potential conflicts of interest for her. She formerly worked for ACS, the IT firm which landed the contract to privatize FSSA. She served as city controller during the Goldsmith administration, which helps explain how she landed those other jobs.
- Doug Brown. He is a lobbyist and attorney for Stewart and Irwin. Like Grand, a number of his clients pose potential conflicts of interest. Among his biggest lobbying clients are those from the gaming industry. Note the interest of some in building a downtown casino to bail out the CIB.
- Jay Potesta. He is a union official with the local Sheet Metal Workers union. Members of his union benefitted greatly from the construction of Lucas Oil and the expansion of the convention center.
- John Short. He is a vice chancellor at IUPUI. He makes a good living from being on a public payroll. Need I say more?
- Craig Huse. He is an owner of St. Elmo's Steakhouse and Harry & Izzy's. Unlike average Indianapolis residents, his restaurants rake in huge profits from the crowds which come downtown to attend sporting events and out-of-town conventioneers. Of course, he will support expanding public support for the CIB because he personally benefits from the spending.
- Robert Cockrum. He is a member by virtue of being President of the City-County Council. His son is involved in the construction of the new Marriott Hotel to be connected to the convention center. The project has received approximately $65 million in public support.
- Dorothy Henry. She is Vice President and CEO of the Indiana Health Care Association, which lobbies the Indiana legislature on behalf of the nursing home industry. Her husband is employed by the Ballard administration as HR supervisor for IMPD.
One glance at the background of the CIB members makes it so apparent how we wound up in this mess. These are all insiders who personally benefit from what the CIB does. They will always go along with what the establishment wants because it's their bread and butter. The taxpayers never figure into the equation for these folks.