Friday, May 21, 2010

Vaughn Once Registered As Venture Real Estate's Lobbyist

City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn makes a living as a full-time lobbyist for Barnes & Thornburg when he is not attending to his council duties. Advance Indiana has learned from a search of the Department of Administration's website for lobbying registration that Vaughn was registered in 2008 to lobby on behalf of John Bales' Venture Real Estate Services. This is the same firm that got a no-bid contract from the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis to broker real estate deals for the respective governmental entities. A quick check of the state's lobbyist registration database for executive branch agencies today shows that Vaughn's registration information for Venture Real Estate in 2008 has been scrubbed. When you attempt to access the registration information, the database returns a "No Results Found" reply. This comes in the wake of the FBI asking for documents related to the lease Venture Real Estate Services negotiated on behalf of the state for an office building owned by a company in Elkhart, Indiana for the Department of Children Services in which Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi is a partner and co-owner with Paul Page. The Elkhart lease occurred during the same year Vaughn was once shown as a registered lobbyist for Venture Real Estate Services. Vaughn formerly worked for Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. The state's lobbying database still lists current registrations for Barnes & Thornburg's Brian Burdick. In the past, both Joe Loftus and Robert Grand have been registered to lobby state government agencies on behalf of Bales' firm. Vaughn has insisted in the past that his lobbying activities in no way intersect with his City-County Council duties despite the fact that both Grand and Loftus, as well as other lawyers at the firm, do extensive legal work for the City and various county agencies. Is the missing lobbying registration information for Vaughn just a coincidence?

9 comments:

Melyssa said...

Oh Boy!

Gary, you pulled a snake out of the grass with that one.

Bob said...

I want to know HOW a government record gets "scrubbed?"

This is a record that MUST be kept to be able show conflicts like this one.

"Gee, Mr. Nixon. It isn't the burglary as much as the cover-up."

Isn't it some sort of crime to tamper with state government records, Gary?

interestedparty said...

Did not Bales - aka Venture -- have the no-bid contract with the mayor/city to inventory city park property and sell "surplus" parks? (In his case "sell" might have also meant "buy"). Wasn't it only after a public outcry that the "surplus" parks were not sold off? Was Vaughn lobbying at that time? He was on the Council then, I'm pretty sure.

Am I right about this or confused?

Diana Vice said...

And Brian Burdick was one of two Barnes & Thornburg lobbyists who did the bidding for the illegal, no-bid roofing scheme on behalf of the AEPA/Tremco crowd. After years of efforts by taxpayers, the AG finally put an end to the gouging of Indiana taxpayers. The Educational Service Center that once promoted the no-bid roofs to schools has cut ties with both Tremco and Barnes & Thornburg. I sure hope the feds are still looking at this and all the parties involved, because the same scenario is playing out in other states while taxpayers and competitors scream about it. The only difference is that it appears government officials do a better job of listening to the initial complaints than elected officials in our state.

Advance Indiana said...

Vaughn joined B&T right after the Republicans took control of the council. I believe the city contract got executed after he joined B&T. See this blog post for more on that: http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2008/08/ibj-examines-ballards-no-bid-real.html

Downtown Indy said...

This is very interesting, Gary. You might inquire directly to the IDOA for the data.

How bizarre that Vaughn's name appears under 2008, but the detail record is not there.

Advance Indiana said...

You're welcome to check into that. I'm just asking the question.

Cato said...

Looks like an open records request is inbound. I hope our crappy PAC won't be a shill when the State stonewalls the request.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Just a coincidence? I bet, not.