Friday, April 15, 2011

Pay To Play Is Still The Ballard Way

The two leading candidates for Indianapolis mayor, incumbent Greg Ballard (R) and Melina Kennedy (D) are both raising millions of dollars for what should prove to be the most costly mayoral race in Indianapolis history. Ballard picked up another $715,000 during the first quarter of the year, leaving him with about $2 million on hand. Kennedy raised $510,000 and now has about $1.3 million on hand. Both candidates' campaigns are being financed by the pay-to-play crowd--the attorneys, contractors and others making money from doing business with the city or on the receiving end of corporate welfare handouts.

Ballard, in particular, continues to rely almost exclusively on engineering and construction firms with city contracts, attorneys under contract to do work for city agencies and billionaire welfare recipients. The billionaire White family, which received nearly $60 million in handouts from the city to build its luxury J.W. Marriott Hotel adjacent to the convention center, kicked in $50,000 with two separate checks of $25,000 each from Dean White and his son, Bruce. Bruce White boasted at an exclusive gala thrown for the downtown city elites in February, including Ballard and his wife Winnie, that included free drinks, food and entertainment by Diana Ross and a free night's stay in the hotel: "My dad gave me an unlimited budget (for the party) tonight, and I have managed to exceed that." Ballard also pocketed another $5,000 from billionaire Herb Simon after giving his Indiana Pacers $33.5 million in additional public subsidies.

DLZ Indiana, a minority contracting firm that lavishes contributions on politicians all over Indiana and throughout the Midwest, ponied up another $18,500 to continue its role as Ballard's largest business contributor. Ballard's administration has awarded tens of millions of dollars in city contracts to the firm. The contributions from the firm often take place within days of a decision to award another contract to the firm. DLZ's Illinois division has been investigated by federal agents in Chicago in connection with ongoing Pay To Play corruption investigations there. The message to Indianapolis taxpayers is that unless you can contribute thousands of dollars to Ballard's re-election, you don't matter.

1 comment:


You can devote countless hours to his election and then he abandons your interests.

I shall never forget how Ballard allowed Brizzi and Tom John to surround him immediately after the election and began shutting out the people who elected him.