Court filings contend that Paul Bateman, a Northeastside Democrat, was among at least eight people connected with The Russell Foundation who used its money on personal expenses, leading the economic development group into bankruptcy by May 2008.So what did Bateman and his alleged co-conspirators do with the money? The bankruptcy trustee offers us a hint:
Bateman, who has denied any financial abuse, is accused of misspending the largest amount. The others, including the foundation's founder, the Rev. Michael Russell, allegedly misspent a combined $600,000, according to complaints filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis in recent months.
Bateman, Russell and Manuel Gonzalez, a Carmel business consultant, were named in search warrants served in July 2008 by Marion County grand jury investigators.
Russell sparked the investigation by reporting the missing money to the prosecutor's investigation unit after the bankruptcy was filed, according to his lawyer.
No criminal charges have been filed, but the recent bankruptcy filings mark the first public attempt to assign financial responsibility for the foundation's decline.
Court filings show Russell's group spent money on dress clothes and other perks for its volunteers. It purchased more than a dozen vehicles, including a stable of 2007 Dodge Caliber compacts, a 2007 Cadillac Escalade and several pickup trucks.
Another expense: $29,634.45 in dental costs for Russell, which he addressed in a response to the court last week, denying any misuse.
You can find earlier posts on the Russell Foundation here, here and here.