Thursday, January 10, 2013

IMPD's $18 Million Operations Center Still Plagued By Code Violations

The Frank Straub legacy lives on. We told you last October about the discovery that the City was paying for around-the-clock fire protection at IMPD's new regional operations center on the City's eastside because it lacked working water sprinklers and smoke alarm system. WTHR's Sandra Chapman brings us up to date on the continuing serious code violations at the $18 million regional operations center that then-Public Safety Director Frank Straub proudly introduced to the public in time for last year's Super Bowl, which also serves as home to IMPD's East District.

Chapman says the City is spending $840 a day because the regional operations center housed in the former Eastgate Consumer Mall lacks operating life safety systems. "Based on our calculations, that's more than $75,000 for "fire watch" to date, and the public is asked to go elsewhere," Chapman reports. The City is paying the building's owner, Alex Carroll, $87,000 a month in rent. Chapman endeavored to find out who approved the opening of a building last year before the Super Bowl that was not safe for public occupation. What she got was a bunch of finger pointing.

The fire marshal says shutting down IMPD East District which is housed in the ROC is out of the question.
"There's nowhere we could just pick them up and move them somewhere else. Logistically that would be a nightmare. It's easier and cost effective to do things right now they way we're doing them," said Chief Pervine.
Sources tell 13 Investigates the building doesn't even have drinking fountains for the staff. Glass windows prevent easy communication between staff in different parts of the building.
According to the 39-page lease deal, the 25-year lease just began and requires the city to pay rent whether the construction is completed or not.
13 Investigates wanted to know who approved the opening for the Super Bowl and $18 million for a building that wasn't ready yet.
Jonathan Mayes was the former deputy director and special counsel for the Department of Public Safety. He left the city after the Super Bowl in July 2011 and declined comment on the deal for the ROC, saying, "I was in the office at that time, up to a certain point. I worked on that project and was removed by Director Straub. Straub completed the negotiation and closed that deal."
The City plans to bill the landlord for the cost of providing 24x7 fire protection for the building, but I wonder just what his liability could possibly be since the City insisted on moving into the building prior to the completion of work on it, knowing that it was not up to code and prior to its rent payment obligations commencing.


CircleCityScribe said...

Would it be appropriate for the Prosecutor or U. S. Attorney to convene a grand jury to investigate if the laws on contract bidding and authority to sign contracts were followed?

-Something stinks about Frank Straub's actions sticking taxpayers with an $18M bill......and who was he accountable to????

Downtown Indy said...

And on the outside is still looks like a dump, not any hints of the lush landscaping or water features they initially promised.