Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Carmel City Attorney Spent Over $22,000 On Junkets Masked As Continuing Legal Education

Last month I told you about how Carmel city attorney Doug Haney had billed taxpayers for more than $17,000 for out-of-state travel supposedly for the purpose of attending continuing legal education seminars. I misled you. The pig actually spent over $22,000 on said purposes--in a single year! WRTV's Kara Kenney explains what she learned in her Call 6 Investigation:
Carmel City Attorney Doug Haney is facing criticism over his travel and training expenses.
The Call 6 Investigators have been digging through the receipts for the past few weeks and found more than $22,402 in expenses, including stays at high-end hotels.
The training and travel expenses were incurred as part of Haney’s continuing legal education, in which he receives guidance on laws and regulations.
Records show in 2012, the city spent $15,434.23 on travel expenses for Haney, such as hotel stays, air fare, ground transportation and meals.
Documents also show Carmel spent $6,968 on registration fees for the seminars.
In 2012, Haney attended 13 seminars, most of them out of state in places like San Diego, New York, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Chicago and Atlanta.
Haney spent $1,550 to stay four days at the luxury hotel Arizona Biltmore, where a conference called “2012 National Workplace Strategies” was being held.
Haney also spent $958.29 on two nights at the Hilton Times Square in New York during a seminar titled “Electronic Discovery Guidance for 2012.”
Carmel City Councilman Eric Seidensticker has some concerns about the expenses.
“I don’t think you have to go to the most expensive hotel in the area,” said Seidensticker. “It’s not his money, it’s taxpayer money.”
Seidensticker said perhaps the city should allow Haney to stay at a Holiday Inn-priced hotel, and Haney can pay for additional upgrades.
All of us practicing attorneys aren't fooled one bit by the game Haney is playing. We all know that an Indiana municipal lawyer should primarily be attending continuing legal education courses in-state that actually discuss laws that apply to municipal government. Here's the load of crap he fed Kenney for spending so much money attending out-of-state CLE seminars:
“Although I do attend legal seminars that are available locally, the vast majority of those that address the issues I face are national in scope, and are held out-of-state,” wrote Haney in his statement. “I am frequently able to reduce the cost of these seminars by agreeing to speak at several of them each year and by 'bundling' multiple seminars from the same sponsor at a reduced rate."
Haney went on to say the seminars help develop organizational relationships and have resulted in his recent election to the Board of Directors of the International Municipal Lawyers Association.
“Although legal education can be expensive, it is far cheaper than the cost of erroneous legal decisions,” wrote Haney.
Legal education is "far cheaper than the cost of erroneous decisions?" Yeah, right. Since when have you made a legal decision? Why does your legal department farm out so much of its legal work to the most expensive law firms in the state if you're putting all that education to good use?  We know what you're doing, Doug. Former Councilor John Acceturo has your number. “He wasn’t around a lot, he was gone a lot,” said Accetturo. “It gives the impression that he is enjoying himself on the taxpayer’s tab.” Spot on, John.


IndyMarv said...

Gary, a correction to some of your comments concerning CLE. "Distant Learning" CLE does not mean out of state CLE but internet type classes where you do not have to be present at a class site. Since I practice in areas of the law where they seldom offer relevant CLE in Indianapolis, I usually have to go out of state. I have never had trouble having my CLE over 6 hours per year counted toward my 3 year total. Plus, when I have attended ABA conventions out of state it has been well in the 20+ hour category.

Otherwise totally agree this guy is scamming the system/taxpayer.

Gary R. Welsh said...

My bad. Thanks for the correction, IndyMarv.

Kiel R. Kinnaman said...

We're talking about this story as well as other Carmel stories at I'd like to extend an invitation for you to join us.


Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks, Kiel. I have seen your coverage over at Carmel Chatter. I've not posted on it because I'm not a Carmel resident and I suspect your readers care more about what Carmel residents think. I would encourage you to look at how much money the City of Carmel spends on outside law firms, including the law firm where Haney's wife works. It makes one wonder why the city even need a city attorney as much money as the city spend on outside law firms. What exactly does Haney do?

Kiel R. Kinnaman said...

Sorry Gary, I'm just now seeing your comment. You are always more than welcome to post at Carmel Chatter. If the city can spend all this money on experts from around the country and outside law firms, surely someone from outside Carmel can post on our forums.

You're welcome to join the discussion any time, no pressure. All the best!