At a time when township government is under scrutiny in Indiana, the trustee and board members from a Hamilton County township used taxpayer money to buy a $10,000 table to the black-tie opening gala for Carmel's Palladium concert hall.
Clay Township Trustee Doug Callahan said the township considered the purchase a donation for Carmel's $126 million concert hall. He said he thinks taxpayers support government donations for the arts.
Clay Township, which includes the city of Carmel, gives about $200,000 in grants annually to nonprofits and community groups, Callahan said. "I know it's a big issue because everyone is going after township government right now" . . .
"People are throwing us to the dogs constantly, from the (Indiana) Chamber (of Commerce) to the media to the governor's office," Callahan said.Callahan and the trustee board members should each have to cough up the money to reimburse taxpayers for their expensive night of cocktails and dinner at the gala. There is absolutely no legitimate government purpose in them using government funds for their personal entertainment. Sikich's article mentions Mayor James Brainard purchased a $15,000 table at the gala for his family and friends for "personal reasons." Other city officials were given four tables to attend the lavish event. Carmel has already had to spend $2 million for the operating expenses of the Palladium this year because the funds weren't there to operate it. Hopefully, Indiana lawmakers will be wise enough to finally enact legislation to permanently do away with township governments so we can put a permanent end to the nonstop waste of our tax dollars by them.
Sitting at their table for 10 at Saturday's extravaganza, Callahan and board members Mary Eckard, Paul Bolin, Matthew Snyder and guests were among the 1,000 people who were entertained by performers such as trumpeter Chris Botti, singers Cheyenne Jackson and Dionne Warwick and Grammy-nominated pianist Michael Feinstein.
UPDATE: State auditors will likely ask the township officials to repay the funds used for the gala according to a report from WRTV's Joanna Massee:
Deputy State Examiner Paul Joyce told 6News auditors would likely ask township officials to pay back the money used for the tickets.
"If it was me, I would rather reimburse that fund back prior to me coming in and telling you that you will now be charged for it," Joyce said.
Township funds are usually relied on for assisting the poor and fire protection.