Sunday, June 27, 2010

Corrupt Zoning Official Gets Probation For Selling Abandoned Cars To OmniSource

I've often complained about how folks in the news media in this town have such a short attention span that it makes it impossible for them to connect the dots when it comes to public corruption. I found a little two paragraph snippet in the Star about a former city zoning official that reminded me of this. It reads:

A judge sentenced a former city zoning inspector to two years on probation and community service Wednesday for sending abandoned cars to a scrap yard rather than the auto pound and pocketing money the junkyards paid him.

Chad A. Frye, 38, Beech Grove, must pay $1,900 in restitution to the city of Indianapolis, which employed him, as part of his sentence. His overall sentence was four years, all suspended, court records said.
When Frye was arrested last December he was charged with theft, official misconduct and corrupt business practices. Police became suspicious after somebody complained about their car being towed by the city, the motor being removed from it and then the rest of the car being sent on to OmniSource to be crushed. The City's exclusive tow truck operator, Last Chance Wrecker, had claimed it never towed the car to the city impound. Instead, it had been towed to Two Little Bees auto parts, stripped and sent on to OmniSource. The police set up a sting and caught Frye not reporting a car that had been reported as abandoned to the city, Frye having the car towed to Two Little Bees and then police followed it to OmniSource. News reports at the time indicated that Frye admitted to police he got $20 to $50 for the scam and agreed to cooperate in the investigation.

According to this very brief story, Frye agreed to serve two years of probation and perform community service and repay the City $1,900 in restitution from money he had pocketed from sending the cars to the scrap metal yard. If he was only getting $20 to $50 per car, he had to have sent more than 40 cars to the scrap yard, and as I recall, he had been working as a zoning inspector for a short period of time before he was nabbed in the sting. The news of Frye's light sentence comes on a day when one of the Star's lead stories is about the reported number of stolen vehicles in the city falling due to better technology. It also comes just days after the Marion Co. Prosecutor's office confirmed a grand jury had been convened to hear evidence gathered in a police investigation of OmniSource, which formerly employed as many as 50 IMPD officers part-time as security workers before police raided several scrap yards operated by the giant scrap metal company more than two years ago as part of its investigation of stolen metal.

Frye's no jail time sentence in this case seems pretty light given the nature of the crime he committed. Perhaps he's helping police and prosecutors nail much bigger fish, and that explains why he received no jail time. Who knows? Again, the news reporting of his sentencing is too deficient to discern anything other than he got off really easy. I would just like to know why.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Yeah. Why, STAR?

Indy4U2C said...

I'm sure it's all in The Brizzi Brief!