Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ballard Endorses Tom John For GOP Chairman

The Marion County Democrats and Ice Miller are celebrating today. Mayor Greg Ballard has foolishly endorsed the re-election of Ice Miller partner Tom John in his re-election bid for Marion Co. GOP chairman, even though John openly discouraged Republicans from supporting Ballard in his upset win over Bart Peterson in 2007. John also refused to support three of the at-large City-County Council candidates, lending support only to Kent Smith, who wasn't required to pay a slating fee like other candidates due to his personal financial woes. Ballard writes in a letter to precinct committeepersons endorsing John:

I hope you will join me in supporting Tom John's re-election as Chairman. Tom has a plan moving forward to continue our party's success. He will work to grow our party's ability to communicate by engaging the newest, most innovative ways to communicate with voters and volunteers, ranging from e-mail and social networking websites to internet video and text messaging. We must stay the course and work toward the goals we set during the 2007 campaign. Simply put, I need a partner to continue my fight for the taxpayers of Marion County. Tom has shown himself to be a worthy partner and stalwart supporter in these efforts.

The reality is that John has been an unmitigated disaster as county chairman. Republicans won the 2007 mayoral and council races because of a groundswell of grassroots supporters fed up with higher taxes and mounting ethical problems of the ruling Democrats, not because of anything Tom John did as county chairman. You have to understand that John as an Ice Miller partner would be working against his own self-interest to work towards keeping Republicans in charge of the City of Indianapolis. Ice Miller made off like bandits under the administration of Bart Peterson, particularly Lacy Johnson, who headed up the airport authority. Johnson is effectively John's superior in the firm's government relations practice. His influence over John was quite apparent in last year's special election race to fill the 7th District congressional seat. John worked behind the scenes to derail Jon Elrod's successful slating. After Elrod won slating, John made no effort to help Elrod raise money or otherwise assist his campaign. Andre Carson is Johnson's golden boy. Johnson is also kingpin of the Center Township Democratic machine and was very close to the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, who gave Johnson entree into the Congressional Black Caucus.

John also helped facilitate Andre Carson's election as a City-County Councilor, paving the way for his election to Congress. John knew that Patrice Abduallah did not live in his district and that I would expose this, forcing him from the ballot. John refused to name a Republican candidate to the ballot before the deadline as I had suggested, and then allowed Democrats to ignore state election laws by letting them caucus and name Carson as the Democrat's unopposed candidate for the seat after the legal deadline. If John had challenged Carson's placement on the ballot and the spot remained open as it should have, the new Republican-controlled council would have gotten to choose a council member to fill Abduallah's old seat. Ice Miller hired John to work for the firm following the 2007 municipal election.

John made a complete fool of himself in last year's May primary when he filed to run for precinct committeeman in the wrong precinct. John lost that race to a person who actually lived in the precinct. He then tried to blame Marion County Clerk Beth White for his stupid mistake and was forced to issue a public apology to her after the local news media confirmed he filed to run in the wrong precinct. John simply appointed himself as a committeeperson so he could continue serving as the county chairman. John then failed miserably in aiding the party's candidates last year for county coroner, surveyor and treasurer. Despite having one of the nation's top forensic pathologists as a candidate for coroner, John mustered no support for John Pless, who, along with the rest of the county ticket, got trounced at the polls. During last year's GOP convention, John twisted the arms of the county's delegates at the state convention to oppose a fellow Marion Co. Republican, Greg Zoeller, for Attorney General in favor of a good ole boy from northwestern Indiana, steeped in the region's political cronyism.

To give you some perspective on John's law firm, Ice Miller, it's instructive to understand where the firm's support has lied in recent mayoral elections. The firm went all out for the election of Democrat Louis Mahern when he ran for mayor against Stephen Goldsmith. Goldsmith, in turn, shut out the firm during most of his eight years as mayor. He softened towards the firm a little during his second term as he began running for governor and needed the help of the firm's fundraising prowess for his campaign. Ice Miller got behind Democrat Bart Peterson to replace Goldsmith, who defeated Republican Sue Anne Gilroy. That relationship paid off big for the firm during Peterson's eight years. The firm gave big backing to Peterson in his second and third election races. After Ballard's upset win over Peterson, Barnes & Thornburg displaced Ice Miller and Baker & Daniels as the City's two go-to firms. A critical strategy for the firm will be to oust Ballard in 2011 by backing the Democratic mayoral candidate, thereby displacing the total power Barnes & Thornburg exercises over Ballard. Some of you may recall that it was disclosed during John Keeler's tenure as Marion Co. GOP Chairman during the Peterson years that he signed an agreement with his firm, Baker & Daniels, and Peterson's administration agreeing to a gag rule that barred him from speaking out against Peterson as county chairman as a condition for the firm's legal work with the City.

In addition to supporting John, Ballard is also endorsing Jennifer Ping for Vice Chairman, Lisa Dietrick for Treasurer and Avachino Reeves for Secretary. After Ballard's election, Ping engineered the appointment of herself to the Alcoholic Beverage Board and got her husband appointed to the Metropolitan Development Commission. She then went to work for Tabbert Hahn as a lobbyist. This is the same firm which won significant legal work from the Democrats for the library board, including millions in legal fees as a result of the construction debacle at the new central library. Dietrick also works for Ice Miller as a lobbyist. Note also that the 7th District state central committeeperson is another Ice Miller lobbyist, John Hammond. Hammond is a very nice man with whom I had the pleasure of once working, but he has shown very little interest in electing a Republican to Congress from this district. And why should he? Again, Lacy Johnson greatly benefits from Carsons being elected to Congress.

As an elected Marion Co. GOP committeeperson, I have absolutely no confidence in the future of the Marion County Republican Party. It is completely devoid of any principled leadership. It's everyone for themselves. People like myself who are involved in the party because of the principles for which we believe the party should stand are not welcome. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, the out-of-town radio talk show host and drinking buddy of John's, announced on his radio program to his listeners after I was elected as a committeeperson that I was persona non grata at the Republican headquarters. And why shouldn't I be? Unlike John, I actually worked for the election of Greg Ballard. I suppose this is the team that Mayor Ballard deserves. He ditched the people who elected him and completely betrayed the principles upon which he ran in 2007 so it is probably only fitting that he have a team of betrayers running the party to ensure its total defeat in 2011. Again, hats off to Ed Treacy and the Marion County Democrats. The Republicans have just sealed your party's fate as the dominant party in this county for many years to come.

11 comments:

artfuggins said...

Andre Carson had 3 opponents in the caucus to replace Abdullah. He was not unopposed.

P.S. When is someone going to force Abdul to pay his license and excise taxes on his car? He is legally obligated once he is here 30 days....even if he maintains his legal residence elsewhere.

u said...

Advance - Thank you for the reporting...it reads like fiction...if I read these machinations in a novel I would not believe it.

No longer can anyone harbor illusions of Ballard as mayor - he's either a willing puppet - or worse, a full-fledged participant in the conspiracy.

Q. What's the difference between Mayor Ballard and the Mayan calendar ?

A. The Mayan calendar doesn't end until 2012.

Advance Indiana said...

Andre Carson had opponents at the caucus to fill the vacancy on the council, true. He ran unopposed in the general election.

Abdul says he's still a resident of Springfield, Illinois, but his Illinois law admissions record says he is based in Indiana at WXNT and his bio lists him of-counsel with a downtown Indianapolis firm. He'll have to explain the discrepancy. I'm sure it has nothing to do with avoiding paying Indiana's vehicle excise tax.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Does Abdul actually LIVE in Illinois? Residency is not real hard. It's basically where you regularly sleep at night. Courts will cut you some slack if your a college student or a politician or a political appointee, but I don't think that applies to radio hosts.

Advance Indiana said...

On second thought, I'm sure it's plain and simple vanity. Abdul likes seeing "ABDUL" on his Illinois license plate. Maybe it's not available in Indiana.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm starting to figure this out, Olgen Williams supported Peterson and Ballard appointed him Deputy Mayor.

Tom John didn't support the Mayor (or three at large members of thecouncil) and he gets endorsed.'

Apparently the way to get Ballard's support is to not support him.

Michael Hegg said...

Chesty Puller must be rolling over in his grave, at this obscene rendition of "Semper Fidelis".

Mr. Ogden, you just hit a home run with your last post.

scratchman said...

I'll second that one mike-semper fi indeed

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Ballard used to read our blogs everyday when he was on the campaign trail. He looked forward to it because we were in there everyday fighting for his victory, exposing the corruption, and giving him a platform to win. We did this because he gave us his word he was for us.

He swore he was a mayor of the People. Everyday I wake up with a sick feeling in my gut. I worked so hard, gave money, dedicated nearly all my free time, put myself out there...for HIM! It was for nothing.

I'm so angry right now, I can't see straight through the tears.

7th CD guy said...

At least with Peterson, the corruption was out in the open. Ballard does it behind closed doors.
Sorry I voted for him!!

Andrew said...

I think you're description of Costas is a little unfair. Other than that, you report on the state of the county party is sadly true. The efforts in the fall were embarrasing.