Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Nuvo Classified Ad Drawing Attention In Indiana Political Circles

Lugar with Bulen in this Life magazine photo
It's extremely rare for a classified ad placed in an alternative newspaper to become a political story, but politicos in Indiana are abuzz over this one. Here's the text of the ad placed in Nuvo on January 28, 2011 offering for sale "antique papers" of political note that is getting so much attention:

FOR SALE ANTIQUE PAPERS Found hidden in bookcase once owned by H.D. Brown. Doc#1: Elanbee Fund (Switzerland) filing signed by LKB and RGL during time of Nixon admin. Doc#2: antique police record (over 50 yrs. old) of Dennison student (DOB April 4, 1932) for indecent exposure. Make offer. RGL441932@mail.com. PayPal Only.

• Location: Indianapolis
• Post ID: 4117322 indianapolis
The initials "LKB" and "RGL" referring to the signatures of the persons who are alleged to have signed the first document found in the bookcase claimed to have been owned by H.D. Brown is unmistakably in reference the late L. Keith Bulen, a former Marion Co. GOP Chairman and Indiana GOP national committeeman, and Sen. Richard G. Lugar. Bulen played a key role in the establishment of UniGov in Indianapolis, which consolidated the Republican suburban areas of Marion County into a unified city-county government. "It's my greatest coup of all time, moving out there and taking in 85,000 Republicans," Bulen was quoted as saying about what UniGov accomplished for Republicans in Marion County. He also was instrumental in launching the political career of Lugar as Indianapolis mayor in 1967. Former Star reporter Dick Cady's book, "Deadline Indianapolis," details how Bulen, an attorney by trade, effectively controlled the issuance of the many new liquor licenses that were made available in Marion Co. following the enactment of UniGov and often took an ownership interest in the new licenses that were issued. Bulen later served for a brief time as a state representative in the early 1990s until he was arrested for driving under the influence after a car he was driving struck a police car on Indianapolis' southside, effectively ending his political career.

[Update: Dick Cady's book makes an important observation about Bulen's close relationship with Lugar that hints of serious corruption. "Uni-Gov had consolidated much of the city and surrounding Marion County while virtually handcuffing most of the local ballot box to the closest Republican wrist. It also had earned for Mayor Lugar the attention of municipal leaders throughout the country. Lugar seemed flattered to be known as President Nixon's favorite mayor. However, the fortunes of the local GOP rested not in the hands of Lugar but rather with Keith Bulen, the county chairman, national chairman, and navigator for Lugar's barely concealed, if presently unrealistic designs on the White House." "Silk-smooth Bulen had the charm and ego to provoke intense loyalty in the trenches. He had a gift for organization. But he was also a lawyer with a penchant for manipulation. The Pulliams looked upon Lugar as an ideal prospect for a future U.S. Senate seat. Yet there was less enthusiasm for Bulen. The way he controlled the party machinery made some people uneasy, especially [Star managing editor] Bob Early. As the Lugar administration enjoyed the second year of its second term, Early believed Bulen was a master corrupter . . . In the early 1950s, Bulen had been fired as a deputy prosecutor. This fact was chronicled in our archives. What wasn't chronicled was the reason Prosecutor "Honest John" Tinder fired Bulen--for fixing a case for a gambler working for the Tuffy Mitchell numbers racket family. If Early had pursued this at any time, it might have changed local history rather dramatically."]

H.D. Brown is likely a reference to H. Dale Brown, a former BMV Commissioner and chairman of the Marion County Republican Party from 1956 to 1962. Brown was ousted by a group of young Republicans, which included Bulen and Lugar, at which time Bulen took the reins of the county party. Brown became one of the first prominent Indiana Republican supporters of Dwight Eisenhower's presidential bid in 1952, a move that angered many conservative Hoosier Republicans who were backing Ohio's Sen. Robert Taft for the nomination. Brown was also the owner of the H.D. Brown Casket Company and once served as the Marion Co. Clerk.

The second document purports to be "a police record (over 50 yrs. old) of a "Dennison student (DOB April 4, 1932)." Sen. Richard Lugar was born on April 4, 1932 and is a 1954 graduate of Denison University, which is located in Granville, Ohio and is spelled with one "n". This same ad shows up online as being posted at backpage.com for a Lafayette, Indiana listing. It's curious Nuvo would place this thinly-veiled, pointed political message in its classified ads without an accompanying news story, which leads one to wonder whether anyone even checks the content of ads placed with the weekly alternative. Note the g-mail account to which buyers are to respond to make an offer to purchase the documents uses Lugar's intials and his date of birth.

Lugar, first elected to the Senate in 1976, has announced his intention of seeking re-election to an unprecedented seventh term to the Senate and is facing a potential Republican primary challenge from a conservative candidate. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and State Sen. Mike Delph have been mentioned as potential Lugar opponents in the primary. Indiana Tea Party organizers recently met in Kokomo to begin organizing efforts to unit behind a single candidate to oppose Lugar's re-election.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Fascinating. It's interesting how this became public.

M Theory said...

It is intriguing.

Unknown said...

Ha..Funny and much false info but I love it when Dad is made famous or infamous from the grave.
L. Kassee Bulen

Ed Miller said...

And WHY are there not scans of the documents in the ad??