Wednesday, June 06, 2012

State Fair Employees Not Prosecuted For Criminal Activity And Allowed To Keep Their Jobs

You have to read this story to believe it. The Daniels administration caught two Indiana State Fair employees red-handed running a private business on state time and using state resources for their private business. An ethics investigation conducted by the Inspector General's office found that the two employees had engaged in ghost employment and violated state ethics rules. Yet the employees were allowed to keep their jobs and were given only a very short suspension. The ethics reports on the two individuals concealed their names, and the matter was never referred to the Marion Co. Prosecutor for prosecution. WRTV's Kara Kenney has the story, including the names of the two employees who engaged in criminal activity:
The inspector general said Supervisor David Hummel and employee Chris Clyne used the Pepsi Coliseum's ice rink, weight- training equipment in the South Pavilion and the State Fair grandstands to train hockey players and various other athletes for a profit.
Hummel admitted to using his state computer for private business activities, according to the report, and used his position to purchase hockey equipment for the private business "at cost" through the Indiana State Fair Commission.
The Inspector General estimated Hummel and Clyne took financial advantage of $7,500 worth of ice rental time.
"These figures do not account for any other financial advantage or gain through the rent-free use of the weight-training room discovered in the South Pavilion or the Grandstands, both used for athletic conditioning purposes by the business," read the report.
Both workers are still employed, according to State Fair spokesperson Andy Klotz.
"The public has to be concerned when our state resources all of us citizens are providing are misused for private gain," said Julia Vaughn with Common Cause Indiana, a non-partisan government watchdog group. "That's just not something you can take any tolerance for."
Both employees reached settlement agreements with the Office of Inspector General, in which they admitted to Code of Ethics violations, including use of state property and ghost employment.
Hummel also admitted to a violation of outside employment, and agreed to pay a $1,500 fine and serve a two-week suspension without pay.
Clyne was sanctioned to a one-week suspension without pay.
I think it's an outrage that the Inspector General concealed the names of these employees in his report. It's quite apparent that the office was more interested in protecting these criminal wrongdoers than punishing them appropriately. Under no circumstances should they have been permitted to keep their jobs, and under no circumstances should this matter have not been referred to the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office for further action. This administration has frequently used trivial matters as a pretext for firing employees it wanted to get rid of for reasons unrelated to their work performance.

Kenney's report indicated that State Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye became aware of the two state employees' criminal activity and reported it to the OIG, which handled the investigation and the settlement with the two employees. Hoye has been under fire for her failure to cancel the Sugarland concert based on weather forecasts predicting the severe storm that resulted in the grandstand stage collapse that left several individuals dead and dozens more injured. State Fair officials refused to talk on camera with Kenney, referring to it as "a personnel matter." No, it's a criminal matter.

You can view the nameless reports issued by the Inspector General's office here and here against David Hummel and Chris Clyne.

UPDATE: The Inspector General statute requires the Inspector General to report a suspected crime to the appropriate federal or state law enforcement agencies if he "has reasonable cause to believe that a crime has occurred or is occurring" under I.C. 4-2-7-3(4). Apparently the IG is claiming a referral was made to the prosecutor's office, although it's not clear when the referral occurred or what, if anything, the prosecutor's office had done in response to that referral. It is unimaginable that the IG would conclude that a crime had occurred but the employees would not be terminated.

UPDATE (6-8-12): WRTV has a new story discussing a criminal probe that has been launched by the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office. It also mentions that Hummel will be retiring from his state job as a restructuring taking place at the State Fair.

6 comments:

Kaye page said...

This should be of any surprise. Since Gov Daniels has taken office, he & his administration has shown no respect for any form of law, dignity, or integrity. Indiana state workers & GOP officials can freely reign corruption, deception, & behind door deals, scandalous activities, & able to commit perjury to cover up what shady deals are done, even fraud & condoning child abuse of DCS James Payne of incompetence that results with 100s beaten bloody dead children. Who can stop Indiana' GOP officials lack of upholding any law within the walls of government. Governmental crime & mockery of justice has become inside dealings that is 'no significant' issue to Gov Daniels. He is not innocent playing a role.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary,

I had a client who David Thomas filed ethics charges against to support his firing from IDEM. The reason? Supposedly my client was driving from Brownsburg to Beech Grove to profit from filling up his gas tank at a station in which he had an ownership interest.

My client had a 3% interest in gasoline sales at the station. He was driving from Brownsburg to Beech Grove because he wasn't allowed to store chemicals he used as water inspector in his Brownsburg home, so he stored them at the gas station...which didn't charge the state $$$ for the storage. When he was there he would sometimes get gas.

The notion he was driving from Brownsburg to Beech Grove to make money off of gasoline sales was absurd. I did the math. He would have been making 1/2 a cent a mile for all his driving. By my math, he at best profited some $11 during the entire time he did this.

Thomas filed those charges not because my client had done something unethical but because the real reason my client got fired complaining to his boss about hiring and promotion practices at IDEM was protected by the First Amendment. What Thomas did in doing what he did was reprehensible and unethical as can be.

Unigov said...

Harmlessly leave your kids in a car = double felony.

Swipe thousands from the state = nothing to worry about.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I would add that David Thomas is a former Clay County Prosecutor.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Yes. Mitch has some explaining to do as to why he let these two employees off the hook, and so secretly. Just another slimy professional politician is Daniels!!

I know said...

I still am waiting for someone to tell me why state appointed officials and state commission members were allowed to set on legislative appointed commissions to choose contractors, decide they wanted the state contract, resign and six months later write a 40 year contract to themselves that the Ag and the IG approved as plausible.

The Governor than signed it as a witness and then the contractor/commission members (not one but two) were privy to the first bond posting missing the deadline and two more bonds in excess of $270 million dollars defaulted and THEY STILL HAVE THE CONTRACT!

It is all PUBLIC record. By the way the director of the State Agency allowing the mess to go on was a Clay County Judge.

The apple don't fall from the tree apparently.