Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bales Made Large Contributions To Mitch Daniels

Not that this will surprise anyone since the only way you can do business with a governmental entity in Indiana is to stuff a bunch of campaign contributions into the pockets of the elected officials, but it turns out that indicted real estate developer John Bales made some very large contributions to the campaign committee of Gov. Mitch Daniels. According to the Indiana Election Division's campaign finance website, Daniels' political action committees received several contributions totaling $26,000 from Bales. Bales also kicked in $1,000 to the Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee and $250 to Todd Rokita's Secretary of State campaign committee. Daniels also collected more than $200,000 from indicted Ponzi scheme operator Tim Durham, more than any other candidate besides former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Daniels is the only candidate to receive large contributions from Durham who has so far refused to return the money to the Fair Finance bankruptcy trustee, who is struggling to recover the more than $200 million Durham defrauded out of the company's investors.

Speaking of Tim Durham, a Hamilton Co. Superior Court judge has ordered the wages Durham is paid to run National Lampoon garnished to pay a $67,824.00 judgment he had entered against him in September, 2010 that was brought by H.E.B. Brand Savings & Retireman Plan Trust. Durham has run National Lampoon since its former CEO, Dan Laikin, was convicted and jailed for engaging in a scheme to manipulate the share prices of the company's stock. Laikin was sentenced to 45 months in jail in September, 2010. Laikin's brother, Robert, is the CEO of Brightpoint. According to Durham's indictment in the Fair Finance case, the only other person who traded more heavily in Brightpoint shares was convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madhoff.

UPDATE: An Indianapolis Star story this morning pegs Bales' total contributions to Daniels at $31,000, or $5,000 more than I counted. Also, you won't be surprised to see who is representing Bales:

Bales' attorney, Larry Mackey, issued a statement Wednesday night, saying his client is a "good, ethical businessman."
He said Bales has cooperated with the two-year investigation and would be exonerated when all the facts come out.
"The state saved millions of dollars on the contract . . . and the bank has been paid every penny it was owed, while John Bales lost significant sums," Mackey said in the statement, which didn't elaborate on how Bales lost money. "I struggle mightily, as I imagine jurors will, to understand how those facts merit prosecution."
Mackey's claim that the state "saved millions of dollars on the contract" is a patent lie. An IBJ story noted the rent for the building was unusually high for Elkhart, which was facing double digit unemployment at the time. You could have rented a building in Indianapolis where rents are higher at the time for a comparable amount.

The Star article also discusses Bales government work he received from local Republican officeholders in Marion County:

His past work includes helping to arrange a $10 million lease for the prosecutor's office in 2002, when Scott Newman was in office and moved his staff out of the City-County Building. Bales renegotiated the lease in 2007 during Brizzi's tenure. In the early 2000s, Bales also arranged the sale of buildings that were then leased by a Southside probation office and the coroner's office.
In 2008, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's office signed a controversial contract with Venture to produce an inventory and analysis of all city property, with an eye toward selling off excess property. Venture would be paid only if it later marketed property for sale.
The city later canceled the contract, said Marc Lotter, Ballard's spokesman, because Bales failed to perform the work. "He was not paid anything," Lotter said.
The Star says Bales currently has no contracts with the county or the state. I guess the attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg could not ethically assist Bales in getting contracts locally as it has in the past while the firm was defending him in a federal criminal case involving the defrauding of one of his government clients. Of course, it didn't stop them from helping him get that no-bid contract with the city at the same time the firm was being paid to advise Mayor Ballard. Lest we forget the firm's dual role in helping ACS land a big chunk of the FSSA privitization agreement and its later role in defending the state in a lawsuit against ACS's partner in that deal, IBM. Don Lundberg needs to write a story for Res Gestae explaining to all of us in the legal community why the things his partners do are okay; it's just what the rest of us low-life attorneys do that's unethical.

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