Saturday, August 14, 2010

Center Township Scammed Taxpayers Again

Those of you who have read this blog for a long time may recall how I told you about the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson scamming Center Township taxpayers out of money both before and while she served as Center Township Trustee through a voucher program the township administered to provide clothing to the poor. Well it looks like that same sort of scamming is still going on after all of these years. WRTV earlier reported on Center Township Trustee William Douglas' announcement that he was ending a program that offered vouchers to poor township residents to buy school uniforms for their children due to budget cuts. Kenney discovered, like it was many years ago, that the size of the vouchers were much higher than what should have been needed, $350 per child, and purchases were limited to the same outlet store.

New questions are being raised about the timing of the Center Township trustee's decision to cut off school uniform assistance for needy families.

Last year, the township spent $600,000 to help 1,312 children afford school clothes, but Center Township Trustee William Douglas told 6News' Kara Kenney on Thursday that budget cuts forced him to halt the program ahead of the school year.

Records show the township previously dictated families only spend uniform vouchers at Doris Outlet Apparel at 866 Davidson Street, located around the corner from the trustee's office.
But the store is now closed because the township, which owns the building, is negotiating a lease with a developer, leaving some to wonder whether the closing played a role in the trustee's decision to halt assistance.

By comparison, other townships give parents a variety of store choices.

6News also found most townships give $150 vouchers, while Center Township's vouchers to Doris Outlet Apparel were $350 per child, which Douglas said was intended to pay for three outfits, two pairs of shoes, a coat, belt, gloves, socks, underwear and a hat.

"Either the taxpayers are being cheated, or the poor people were being cheated by not getting more clothes for their children," Louis Mahern, a Center Township resident and government reform activist.
Kenney said records indicated Doris Outlet Apparel received more than $700,000 worth of clothing vouchers in one recent year. The business is supposedly owned by Gloria and Jerry Davis, but Kenney couldn't track them down for comment at their very upscale home. Douglas also couldn't be tracked down for comment.

Again, this is something that would have been stopped years ago if we had legitimate prosecutors who actually prosecuted public corruption cases. For some reason beyond my comprehension, both federal and county prosecutors have decided they won't touch the Center Township Trustee's office, which has been fleecing taxpayers for decades. Any one with any common sense knows it makes no sense to force the poor to use those vouchers to purchase their clothing at only one store. Any one with any common sense knows that you can purchase those clothing items for school uniforms at a much cheaper price at any number of clothing discount stores. It's obvious there has been a corrupt relationship between the trustee's office and the business in question but nobody will investigate them. Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has been given evidence on multiple occasions in the past of corruption going on within the trustee's office but refused to investigate and prosecute. Of course we know now just how corrupt he is too.


Christine Scales said...

Years ago, when Julia Carson was alive and serving in Congress, some African American Center Township residents who worked for me complained of the scams Julia had been running during her tenure as Center Township Trustee. I was told then that the vouchers Julia had handed out as a trustee could only be redeemed at one business-and it was one that was actually (and secretly)owned by members of the Carson family.

Downtown Indy said...

In the story the Trustee says they are supposed to 'meet basic needs.'

That is an intriguing bit of phrasing. I think their objective should be to meet extraodinary needs, i.e. above the 'basic,' that people should be expected to pay for themselves unless a sudden hardship occurs. They are not supposed to be providing long-term 'adoptions' of residents.

Melyssa said...

Those school uniforms must get in the way of their money for pandering and cronyism.

Our in house charity at my office donated two truck loads of school supplies to School #14 down the street from our office, including a lot of school uniforms from the Gap. Our office charity is not an official not-for-profit and 100% of the funds we raise throughout the year go directly to the people in need.

I'd gladly give up the tax that I pay to Center Township and give it directly to the poor without the Center Township middlemen who skim off plenty for themselves and their friends.