Friday, May 31, 2013

Bombing Victims Or Crisis Actors?

I don't know who this Australian guy is, but he's taken upon himself to analyze the video and photo images taken at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings. He's made up his mind that the entire event was staged using crisis actors. Take a look and judge for yourself. Things do seem a bit too contrived, even if his sense of humor might be over the top for some. Click here to see his collection of videos.

What You Aren't Being Told About Government Snooping Into Reporters' Communications

James Corbett's "The Eye Opener" points out something about government spying that the American people are clueless about. In a discussion of the recent controversy over the Obama administration's efforts to search e-mail and phone records of members of the media in an effort to learn the source of government leaks, a former government official makes an admission that should have every American alarmed. Former FBI counter terrorism chief Tim Clemente acknowledges that the Justice Department really didn't need to obtain a search warrant to go snooping into the e-mails and phone records of reporters. Under a little-noticed law passed in 1994, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), the National Security Agency began capturing and storing all digitized communications, including all e-mail and telephone communications of every single American. These records are meticulously stored in a massive archived database in Utah where authorized federal law enforcement officials can snoop through any phone calls and e-mails you've made in the past. Now this information would not be admissible in a court of law to prove your guilt of committing a crime, but it allows Big Brother government to view the most intimate details of your life. Fishing expeditions can lead to targeting of Americans for further criminal investigation. Corbett's take on the surveillance of  AP reporters and Fox News' James Rosen is that the mainstream media outrage is contrived and is designed to hard wire the wholesale surveillance of the public into law.

Andrew Luck Supports Gay NFL Players

Indianapolis Colts Player tells CNN that he's okay with NFL players coming out of the closet.

White House Checking Up On Mayor Brainard

Someone at the White House is interested in what this blog had to say about what Matt Tully had to say about Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

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And how much Carmel's City attorney is billing taxpayers.

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Does someone at the White House know something that's about to happen before the rest of us?

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Warns Against "Politicians In Robes"

The Chicago Tribune shares some quotes of the first female member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, during a speech she gave to an audience attending a lecture series held at Elmhurst College on history, ethics and law. O'Connor doesn't believe electing judges is a good idea because they become nothing more than "politicians in robes" too often.
O’Connor said she opposes the election of judges, and she believes the practice may create a misunderstanding of the role of a judge.
“I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are,” she said.
People should expect a judge to rule on legal issues in a fair and unbiased way, but she said many people seem to think that judges are supposed to be a reflection of popular opinion, O’Connor said. 
“They seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will,” she said. 
Judges “need to turn a high-power lens on themselves” to avoid bias or the perception of bias as they consider legal issues and make decisions, she said. There are cases in which a judge should recuse himself or herself, O’Connor added. 
“You don’t want to hear a case if your husband is arguing it,” she said with a laugh. 
But cases in which judges must be on guard against bias are not always that clear-cut, O’Connor said. “These are easy cases. But almost all real cases are hard,” she said. 
O’Connor advised judges to be extra vigilant against bias or the perception of it. “They need to avoid sitting on cases if even a whiff of bias can be detected,” she said.
One way to maintain fairness is to be open to hearing diverse opinions and not keep their chambers “as echo chambers” of their own opinions, O’Connor said. They also need to keep open minds to all sides of a legal argument, she said.
As a federal judge O’Connor said she made sure to hire law clerks from diverse backgrounds.
“It allowed me to be sure I was getting a broad mix of advice,” she said.
O'Connor is free to say what she wants about judges now that she's retired and no longer practices law. Unfortunately, in Indiana those who are often in the best position to offer an opinion of judges are silenced by our state's Supreme Court, which takes the view that attorneys give up their First Amendment rights when it comes to expressing opinions of judges. Fellow blogger and Indiana lawyer Paul Ogden is confronted with this harsh reality as the Indiana Attorney Discipline Commission seeks to suspend him from the practice of law for merely expressing an opinion in a private e-mail to another attorney about a judge's handling of a case. After someone passed the e-mail to the judge, he demanded an apology from Ogden. When he refused to apologize, the judge filed a complaint against him and the Indiana Attorney Disciplinary Commission obliged him by bringing a complaint against Ogden.

In an understatement, the Commission's executive director tells the Indiana Lawyer that free speech of attorneys in Indiana is "more regulated." “We’re in a position where our speech is held to a higher standard because of the impact of that speech,” Witte said. “Even outside of lawyer discipline, free speech is not absolute.” IU Law Professor Margaret Tarkington has the better, more constitutional view.
Tarkington describes Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.2 as “a trap for lawyers” in an article by that title published in the Association of American Law Schools Professional Responsibility Newsletter. She said the rule incorporates the Supreme Court of the United States standard of New York Times v. Sullivan 376 U.S. 254 (1964), that speech regarding a public official is protected unless it is made with actual malice – knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false. Indiana’s Rule 8.2 also follows the Sullivan line of cases, forbidding attorneys from statements about judicial officials “the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.”
“The vast majority of states interpret that rule as applied to the judiciary to mean something very different,” Tarkington said. The standard for attorneys commenting on the judiciary she said is closer to, “If you say it, you’d better be able to prove it, which is not what the rule says, and it’s probably unconstitutional.
“It’s almost as far away from a Sullivan standard as you can get,” she said, noting it’s not unusual for attorneys to be disciplined for judicial criticism. Tarkington’s article, “The Truth Be Damned,” published in the 2009 Georgetown Law Journal, reviews numerous instances of such discipline.
Provided details of the complaint against Ogden stemming from the email, Tarkington said it’s important that the context wasn’t in a judicial proceeding where the truth-seeking function of the justice system requires a higher level of accuracy in attorney statements.
“He didn’t even put it on his blog,” Tarkington said. “An attorney should be able to talk about the judiciary in an email.”
Tarkington argues that disciplining attorneys for speech presents dangers. “We have an elected judiciary and lawyers are the ones who know the most about how a judge acts, and (lawyers) best know the law that judges are supposed to follow,” she said. “The problem is you’ve silenced all the people with knowledge.
“You’re basically shielding the judiciary from effective criticism by the people who know,” Tarkington said, “and I think that’s a really big problem.”
If Ogden is disciplined for criticizing a judge in an e-mail, every attorney in the state of Indiana better fear for dear life. This is worse than the old Soviet Union. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz several years ago harshly criticized the "Stalinist" speech code imposed against lawyers after the state's Supreme Court suspended a well-respected lawyer for expressing an opinion in an appellate brief about the application of the facts and law in his case by a lower court. 
In the Indiana case, a lawyer was suspended from practice for criticizing the opinion of the lower appellate court for being result-oriented. The criticism took the form of the following footnote in the appellate brief: "Indeed, the Opinion is so factually and legally inaccurate that one is left to wonder whether the Court of Appeals was determined to find for appellee . . . and then said whatever was necessary to reach that conclusion (regardless of whether the facts or the law supported its decision)."
The decision of the Supreme Court to suspend the lawyer was based on a 3–2 vote, with the deciding vote having been cast by one of the justices who was himself criticized in the footnote. That justice had been promoted from the Court of Appeals to the Indiana Supreme Court and did not recuse himself from the disciplinary case even though he was one of the victims of the "offending" footnote.(The justice has since recused himself from the rehearing petition, but that does not withdraw his vote from the disciplinary action.)
Two justices of the Indiana Supreme Court dissented from the disciplinary decision, arguing that the footnote in question contained "rhetorical hyperbole" that was protected by the First Amendment. One of the dissenting justices pointed out that judges commonly attack their colleagues on the bench with similar hyperbole, citing particularly opinions by Justice Antonin Scalia, who is well known for his personal attacks on the integrity and rationality of his fellow justices. The majority decided to impose the relatively harsh sanction of suspension because the lawyer in question "chose to contest this matter," presumably instead of simply rolling over and admitting he was wrong.
It is not surprising to me that this Stalinist decision—punishing a lawyer for expressing a critical opinion and then justifying the punishment because he didn't seem duly remorseful—was rendered by the Supreme Court of Indiana. I have argued cases all over the world, and I have never encountered a legal system as result-oriented as that of Indiana or a chief justice as self-protective as Chief Justice Randall Shepard (who joined the majority in disciplining the lawyer). When I agreed to argue the rape-conviction appeal in Indiana for former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson several years ago, I was warned by several members of the bar about the Indiana court system. Then I experienced it firsthand.   
While attending a multiclass Yale Law School reunion, a woman approached me and told me that New York lawyers' arguments don't go over well in Indiana. I asked her who she was, and she told me she was the wife of the chief justice, who had graduated from Yale several years after I had. I immediately ended the conversation and walked away telling her that any further discussion would be inappropriate. (This encounter was attested to by an affidavit from a witness.) Shortly thereafter, Justice Shepard recused himself (he gave no reason at the time), and the eventual decision in the case was a 2–2 tie, which resulted in Tyson's conviction being affirmed. In an opinion offered roughly a year later regarding his recusal, Justice Shepard stated that he opted to recuse himself before the Court of Appeals ruled on Tyson's appeal in order to demonstrate that his "recusal was not outcome-driven."
Our research disclosed that Justice Shepard had written several opinions that, if followed, would probably have led him to rule in our favor. But in the opinion of several Indiana lawyers familiar with Judge Shepard's rulings who were consulted at the time, he might not have wanted to cast the deciding vote in favor of an accused rapist because of controversial accusations made about him by a fellow judge who was running against him several years earlier. According to the National Law Journal, "Fellow Justice Alfred J. Pivarnik . . . accused [Shepard] of having abused alcohol, smoked marijuana, and made sexual advances toward men."
Justice Shepard denied the accusations, and although he won the election and no formal charges were brought against him, it was the opinion of the Indiana lawyers our team consulted that Shepard may have been concerned about these issues resurfacing if his vote was decisive in the Tyson appeal. There is no evidence that Justice Shepard deliberately sent his wife over to me to provoke a recusal. I do not know. But I do know that Shepard's recusal protected him from a potentially damaging public controversy.
It is always systems most deserving of criticism that impose limitations on the freedom to criticize. There is an old joke about a dissident who called Stalin corrupt. He was accused not of slander but of revealing a state secret. That is essentially what the Indiana lawyer has been convicted of—namely exposing the flaws of the Indiana judicial system.
Were I a member of the Indiana bar, I could not offer my opinion about Justice Shepard without fear of judicial reprisal. Fortunately, I am a member of the bar of Massachusetts, where the First Amendment still means something. Because I am not subject to the censorship of the Indiana courts, I feel a special obligation to speak about what I experienced when I argued a case in that jurisdiction—despite what some may characterize as sour grapes. But the question remains: Will freedom of speech for lawyers, inside and outside Indiana, remain vibrant after the current Supreme Court majority—which was shell-shocked by the vituperativeness of the criticism directed at it following Bush v. Gore—has its crack at this important issue?
Incidentally, Justice Alfred Pivarnik was never disciplined after he publicly accused Chief Justice Shepard of essentially being a pot-smoking, drunken homosexual in the incident described by Dershowitz. He later retired from the bench due to failing health.

Citizens Energy Officials Grossly Overpaid

The Indianapolis Star has provided an up-to-date online database of salaries paid to various public officials in Indiana. Fortunately, the database has included officials of Citizens Energy, the nonprofit public utility that operates gas, sewer and water utilities for Indianapolis consumers. The pay of top officials of the utility is outrageous. Citizen's CEO, Carey Lykins, is the highest earning public official in the state of Indiana, receiving a salary of $2.9 million. There are 16 top officials earning more than $250,000 a year. This is an outrage and the IURC should start scrutinizing their double-digit rate increases and asking why the top officials of the company are feasting at the expense of Indianapolis' utility consumers. Obviously, there is no body on the board of directors overseeing Citizens Energy who is the least bit concerned how inefficiently this utility is being operated or you wouldn't see so many employees earning outrageous salaries. Some of these positions are simply made up positions to provide a high-paying job to appease someone, which may or may not require any actual work or knowledge. Seriously, does Citizen really need to be paying someone nearly a half million dollars a year to be in charge of community relations or customer relations? What a joke.

Carey Lykins, CEO-$2.9 million
Margaret Richgreek, CAO-$1.4 million
John Brehm, CFF-$766,000
John Whitaker-Chief Legal Counsel-$706,000
Robert Hummel, VP, Human Resources-$642,000
Lindsay Lindgren, VP, Water Operations-$542,000
Jeffrey Harrison, VP, Engineering-$532,000
Yvonne Perkins, VP, Community Relations-$484,000
Michael Strohl, VP, Customer Relations-$460,000
John Lucas, VP, IT-$452,000
Aaron Johnson, VP, Strategy & Corporate Dev.-$369,000
Latona Prentice, VP, Regulatory Affairs-$355,000
Christopher Braun, VP, Energy Operations-$354,000
Kristine Kuhn, Director, Internal Audit-$268,000
Matthew Klein, Director, Resource Planning-$260,000
Blair Dougherty, Controller-$259,000

Curiosity got me to wonder who sits on the board of directors for Citizens Energy. Of course, it has not one but two governing boards, a 5-member board of trustees and a 9-member board of directors, both of which are described as "non-partisan." No surprises, here. Not a single person who could care less about how high your utility bills are.

Board of Trustees:
Dan Evans, IU Health Partners
Dennis Bland, President, Center for Leadership Development
Kathryn Betley, Civic Leader
Jackie Nytes, CEO, Indianapolis Public Library
John Krauss, Director, IU Public Policy Institute

Board of Directors:
James McClelland, President, Goodwill Industries
Daniel Appel, Gregory & Appel Insurance
Moira Carlstedt, President, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership
Anita Harden, Retired President of Community East Hospital
Jeffrey Good, Director, Milestone Advisors
Anne Nobles, Retired VP of Eli Lilly
Phillip Terry, CEO, Monarch Beverage
Christina Hicks, VP, Human Resources, Wishard
J.A. Lacy, CEO, LDI

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Former Illinois Senate Candidate Claims Lois Lerner Asked Him Not To Run For Office Again As Condition To Dropping FEC Complaint Against Him

Lois Lerner is the former head of the nonprofit division of the IRS at the center of the controversy over the targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups during the lead up to the 2012 presidential election. Before Lerner worked for the IRS, she was a top compliance officer at the FEC where Indiana's Jim Bopp claims she unfairly targeted a Christian Coalition group he represented over three election cycles. Now a former Illinois Republican Senate candidate, Al Salvi, is claiming that Lerner told him she would drop an FEC complaint against him if he agreed never to run for office again. Salvi's campaign in 1996 was against Sen. Dick Durbin, a close friend of Barack Obama. Illinois Review reports on Salvi's wrangling with Lerner:
The IRS scandal may have its roots in Illinois politics. Specifically, the 1996 U.S. Senate race between then-Democrat Congressman Dick Durbin and conservative Republican State Rep. Al Salvi.
More than a decade before his 2010 letter to IRS officials urging the agency to target conservative organizations, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin's political career crossed paths with Ms. Lerner when she was head of the Enforcement Division of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and directly involved in the 1996 Illinois U.S. Senate race.
Soon after the IRS story broke, Al Salvi told Illinois Review that it was IRS official Lois Lerner who represented the FEC in a Democrat complaint against him. According to Salvi, Lerner was, without question, politically motivated, and went so far as to make him an offer: "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case."
Salvi declined her offer, and ran for Illinois Secretary of State in 1998.
But when he saw Lerner plead the Fifth Amendment before Congress last week, he recognized her. "That's the woman," Salvi said. "And I didn't plead the Fifth like she did."
In 2000, a federal judge dismissed the FEC case against him, clearing Salvi's name and reputation.
Now with the revelations about Lerner, the IRS, and the intriguing connection to Durbin, Salvi shared with Illinois Review his experience with Lois Lerner.
The FEC's complaint against Salvi centered around $1.1 million in loans he made to the campaign, which the FEC claimed failed to identify the source. It was quite a sordid tale, which the Illinois Review details.

On a personal note, I made the mistake of agreeing to serve as campaign manager for Salvi when he first ran for Congress way back in 1986, an attempt to win back the seat the scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. Dan Crane lost to Democrat Terry Bruce in 1984. His brother, a prominent Lake County trial lawyer, drafted an employment contract under which I was to be paid a fixed amount each month. Salvi, who was fresh out of law school at the time, assured me that his multi-millionaire trial lawyer brother Pat was going to help raise big bucks for the campaign. About a week after I quit my job and started work for Salvi's campaign I learned that he had no funds on hand and I would not be paid a dime until I raised money for the campaign to pay my salary. Fed up with his misrepresentations, I quit as his campaign manager and returned to my job with the Illinois legislature within a month. Needless to say, I repaid him the favor with plenty of negative reviews of him to Republican leaders in the district. His campaign never got off the ground that year and he was trounced in the general election by Bruce.

I later learned that campaign workers in his subsequent campaigns constantly encountered problems getting paid by Salvi. It was always rather remarkable how much money Salvi supposedly earned as a trial lawyer while campaigning for different elected offices. His detractors claimed his brother's law firm was crediting Al for work done by other attorneys handling personal injury claims while he was out campaigning. Salvi served two terms as an Illinois state representative from a Lake County district. He lost every other office he sought, including the Illinois Secretary of State's race in 1998 after losing the Senate race in 1996.

Nevada Powerbroker Accused Of Making Illegal Campaign Contributions To Harry Reid Found Guilty

The head of a billion dollar real estate development firm and a prominent lobbyist in Nevada who was accused of making illegal campaign contributions to the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been found guilty of three felony charges. The 59-year old Harvey Whittemore faces up to 15 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after a jury concluded he had illegally funneled about $150,000 to Reid's campaign by paying bonuses to employees and family members, who in turn wrote out checks to Reid's campaign to skirt campaign finance laws capping the amount an individual can contribute to a federal candidate's campaign. Reid told reporters he had no knowledge of the scheme. "I received $25 million. He raised $150,000," Reid told the Las Vegas Sun earlier this week. "I had money coming in from other places."

Ballard Administration Now Claims Awarding Towing Contract To One California Firm Will Cut Red Tape

The Ballard administration needed a cover story after facing criticism for awarding an exclusive contract to a California firm represented by the former law firm of the city's de facto mayor, Ryan Vaughn, and the Star's Jon Murray dutifully put it to print. Murray's story explains that giving an exclusive contract to an out-of-state firm with no current presence in the city for all city-ordered towing is needed to cut red tape. Nonetheless, the Board of Code Enforcement has delayed approval of a contract for which the Ballard administration refuses to publicly release key details. Here's the explanation the administration provided to Murray:
The proposed vendor, Auto Return, would provide one-stop service. Customers could skip the stop at city hall, paying online, by phone or directly at the tow lot.
That makes sense to Shane. And it would have saved her some time this week.
Because the Bloomington resident had not yet registered her newly purchased truck, she had to iron out that issue first to prove to the city that she owned it. That meant two stops Saturday to get access to the title, which was inside the truck.
Then, after a delayed visit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which was closed last weekend, she made the same two stops again Wednesday.
“This has really been a big mess,” Shane said after writing a check for $165, including $75 for five days of storage fees.
To her, the proposed streamlined process makes sense.
It’s also supported by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. San Francisco-based Auto Return promises that officers will wait less time for tow trucks to respond to accident scenes and to pick up impounded vehicles.
That’s because instead of paging tow trucks based on which company has the contract for that part of the city, the new manager would send the nearest GPS-tracked wrecker.
But concerns about Auto Return’s out-of-state headquarters and the complexity of the contract have delayed approval by the Board of Code Enforcement . . .
That example is not exactly the circumstances a typical vehicle owner whose car has been towed would face and is not really helpful in explaining the need for an exclusive contract. Someone was really reaching with that example.

Murray's story reports the fact that the contractual role is currently shared by three local towing companies, which provide towing service for geographic areas within the city. Those contracts provide revenues of $1.2 to $1.4 million a year according to the Department of Code Enforcement, which includes a $45 cut to the city for a flat rate towing fee of $90 per automobile. The administration claims the new contract will guarantee at least $1.5 million a year to the city according to Murray's story, but the terms of the deal remain secret. What we know is that towing fees are paid by the automobile owner, who could be faced with even higher fees than are already being paid.

Four companies bid on the contract according to Murray's story, none of whom would speak on the record about the bidding process for fear of reprisal. Murray's original story was updated after it first went online last night to remove the names of other bidders, including one represented by former Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John. The City-County Council last year gave approval to a new towing law that allowed the current bidding process to go forward.

Former NASA Official Found Dead In Thailand Home With Rope Around Neck And Genitals

A former NASA official was found dead in a Thailand home with a rope tied to a door knob wrapped around his neck and genitals and sex toys strewn around him. The 76-year old Paul Muller spent 10 years working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab where he served as a senior member of the Apollo navigation team before working as an IT consultant in the UK. Muller had authored several books including a "romantic and erotic thriller" titled Suicide, Inc.
Pol Col Ekarat Intasueb, chief of Mae Sot police station, said Muller was found with a rope tied around his genitals and waist and another rope tied around his neck, hanging from a knob of his bedroom door.
He said there was no sign that the American had been assaulted.
Equipment for injecting crystal methamphetamine, five methamphetamine pills and several sex toys were also found in the room.
Muller appeared to have died from asphyxiation or from a heart attack after a drug overdose, police said. His body had started decomposing and giving off a bad odour. Police suspect he had been dead about three days when his body was found. It was sent to Mae Sot hospital for a post-mortem examination.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FBI Lied: Boston Bomber's Friend Unarmed When Agent Shot And Killed Him

It is now abundantly clear that rogue federal agents are engaged in a massive cover up of their false flag attack at the Boston Marathon last month when two Chechen immigrants were framed for an event planned and staged by rogue agents within our own government as a further excuse for perpetuating the endless war on terror that has bankrupted the country and stripped Americans of basic civil liberties. It now turns out that the friend of the dead Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not armed as originally claimed by federal law enforcements when an FBI agent fatally shot him.

Law enforcement officials originally claimed that Ibragim Todashev was being interrogated by the FBI agent in the presence of several other law enforcement officials in his Orlando apartment and was starting to write out a confession to his alleged role in an unsolved triple homicide in Boston that law enforcement officials are now trying to claim he carried out with Tamerlan Tsarnaev on September 11, 2011. According to the initial reports, Todashev allegedly lunged at the agent with a knife as he was writing out his confession following hours of questioning. Law enforcement officials now admit there was no knife. The story now being told to the media by law enforcement sources is that Todashev became angry and overturned a table. The agent, feeling threatened, responded by firing seven shots at him from his handgun, including one bullet to the back of his head. From the Washington Post:
An air of mystery has surrounded the FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev, 27, since it occurred in Todashev’s apartment early on the morning of May 22. The FBI said in a news release that day that Todashev, a former Boston resident who knew bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during an interview with several law enforcement officers.
The FBI has provided few other details, saying that the matter is being investigated by an FBI review team that may not finish its probe for several months.
“The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement Wednesday. “The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.” . . .
At the time of the shooting, Todashev was being interviewed about his possible connection to a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Law enforcement officials said he had acknowledged involvement in the murders and had implicated Tsarnaev. Officials said Todashev was not suspected of involvement in the April 15 Boston bombing . . .
Initial reports citing anonymous law-enforcement individuals provided conflicting accounts of what happened. Some law enforcement officials said Todashev wielded a knife and others suggested that he attempted to grab the FBI agent’s gun.
One law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Wednesday that Todashev lunged at the agent and overturned a table. But the official said Todashev did not have a gun or a knife. A second official also said Todashev was unarmed.
An official said that according to one account of the shooting, the other law enforcement officials had just stepped out of the room, leaving the FBI agent alone with Todashev, when the confrontation occurred.
The shooting followed hours of questioning by the law enforcement officials that had begun the night before.
Todashev’s father said after the shooting that he didn’t believe the FBI’s account of why they killed his son.
“My son could never commit a crime, I know my son too well,” Abdul-Baki Todashev, who lives in Chechnya, told the Daily Beast Web site. “He worked helping disabled people in America and did sports, coached other sportsmen. The FBI made up their accusations.”
Separately, the Orlando-Sentinel is reporting that Todashev's widow, Reniya Manukyan, told reporters that FBI agents had been badgering her husband and her since the Boston bombings last month about their relationship to Tamerlan. Todashev met Tamerlan when he lived in Boston several years earlier through the tight knit Chechen community and both shared an interest in martial arts. Manukyan insists her husband would have never confessed to the 2011 triple homicide in Boston because of records she says that prove he was in Atlanta with her at that time. Todashev had undergone surgery on his knee to repair damage to a tendon a few days before the Boston bombings and was still recovering from that surgery when he was shot and killed by the FBI agent on May 22. At a press conference today, an attorney for Todashev's widow offered photo evidence of the extent of the injuries sustained by Todashev, which were taken of his body at a local funeral home following the shooting death. A family friend who took the photos claimed they showed at least a dozen wounds, although some may have been exit wounds from the multiple gunshots. A civil rights group is calling for a Justice Department investigation into the shooting.

Recall the shootout in Watertown with the two Boston suspects. Law enforcement reports of the events of that 24-hour period have been riddled with contradictory statements. Eyewitness accounts and video footage showed Tamerlan being taken into police custody alive the night of the shootout during which one police officer was shot. Yet police later claimed he was shot by police and then run over and killed by his brother while fleeing the scene in a stolen Mercedes SUV. Initial accounts claimed both brothers were firing at police and throwing bombs at them, but witnesses claimed they only heard gunshots and only one gun was recovered near Tamerlan's body. Later, we learned that the police officer who was shot had been hit by friendly fire, not by a gun fired by either of the suspects. The Tsarnaev brothers can be clearly heard on audio of an amateur video taken during the shootout yelling "we didn't do it" and "we give up."

After a massive manhunt for the next 24 hours during which the entire Boston area was placed under martial law and homes within a several block area were stormed and searched by heavily armed law enforcement officials without warrants failed to turn up the missing younger brother, Dzhokhar, police lifted the martial law order and a homeowner quickly discovered Dzhokhar hiding in a boat in his backyard. A massive team of police converged on the scene. Police claimed the suspect had fired upon them, causing them to fire dozens of shots into the boat and using flash bangs to coax a severely injured Dzhokhar from the boat. Later we learned that the suspect was unarmed, leading to questions about why so many shots were fired into the boat at him if he never fired a shot at police as earlier claimed.

Alternative news sources revealed after the suspects were identified by federal law enforcement officials their family's ties to the CIA despite initial claims by federal law enforcement agents that they knew nothing about the suspects prior to the bombings. The Tsarnaev's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, turns out to be a former son-in-law of a former high-ranking CIA official, Graham Fuller, who is credited with writing the original action plan for Iran-Contra. Tsarni actually lived in Fuller's home in Rockville, Maryland for more than a year and had been instrumental in setting up an NGO to help fund radical Islamist rebels in Chechnya. Tsarni had also been employed by USAID, a CIA cut out agency, as well as working for a string of energy companies tied to Haliburton. It also turns out that Russian authorities had warned both the FBI and the CIA of its concerns of Tamerlan's activities long before the Boston bombings occurred. The Tsarnaev brothers' parents and aunt insist they were framed by the U.S. government. After their mother called out the FBI for its role in handling her sons over a several year period, the agency admitted it had interviewed the older brother on several occasions prior to the bombings but determined he posed no threat and closed the file on him. Supporters who believe in the Tsarnaev brothers' innocence have made this video as a tribute to them. Here's a couple more videos you weren't suppose to see. The first one shows when police first took Tamerlan into custody. A neighbor tells the police he doesn't recognize him so he presumably doesn't live in the neighborhood. Police begin searching the area for bombs. Near the end of the video, you will hear Tamerlan yell out his younger brother's name. The second video has extended footage taken by the same area resident with commentary added. You will see when police first approach Tamerlan and when they walk away with him while he is still fully clothed.

Exhibitionist Ex-Reality Star Says He Had No Idea Where Mother Got Money To Pay His Credit Card Bills

Karen Armacost of Franklin has admitted to stealing more than $680,000 from her former employer, Greenwood Orthopaedics, after the Marion County Prosecutor's Office charged her with theft, forgery and attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud. That last charge was what led her employer to uncover her crime spree that began in 2007. Armacost was caught forging a doctor's name to a prescription for Vicodin. According to the probable cause affidavit, Armacost used more than $400,000 of the money she stole from her former employer to pay credit card bills issued in the name of her sons, including Austin Armacost, the exhibitionist former ex-reality TV star from the A-List. Austin told investigators he had know idea how his mother was paying his credit card bills.

Austin had his 15 seconds of fame when he briefly starred in the reality show, A-List, a Real Housewives-styled show that followed the lives of gay and bisexual couples that aired on the Logo channel. Armacost briefly dated American fashion designer Marc Jacobs. Austin, who almost stripped down for a Playgirl photo spread as a big tease for the A-List and who posed naked to support the animal rights group, PETA, candidly refers to himself and other family members as exhibitionists. This is how he described his family's exhibitionist ways in an interview last November with NewNowNext:

Every time my mom walks in on me naked in the shower. This might sound crazy, but I like when my family sees me naked. Now, it’s not incestuous, but we’re very free. We’re all very free. At any one time in my living room, my dad might be in the jacuzzi naked out back, my mom might be powdering her tits, and I might be shitting with the door open. So we’re all very free, open people. Very exhibitionist in my home. Now, I don’t know what constitutes a “nudist,” but we probably fit that to a T. Though we’re not a cult or anything.”
Nice. Thanks for sharing, Austin.

Austin seemed to take his mother's guilty plea in stride. A short time after she entered her guilty plea, he took to his Twitter page to post, "Whose [sic] going to indypride next weekend?" He later commented, "A Louboutin is not an ashtray!"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Democratic Poll Worker In Hamilton County, Ohio Pleads Guilty To Casting Multiple Illegal Absentee Ballots

A Madisonville, Ohio Democratic poll worker gained national attention after prosecutors charged her with casting multiple absentee ballots for family members and she candidly and proudly admitted she had done so when questioned by reporters in order to help Obama win re-election. Melowese Richardson pleaded no contest to four felony counts of vote fraud today, including voting for a relative three times who had been in a coma since 2003. She could face up to six years in prison.

Richardson becomes the third person convicted of vote fraud this year in Hamilton County, Ohio, all Democrats. Hamilton County was a key county targeted by the Obama campaign during the 2012 presidential election, which the President carried by a significant margin. Sister Marguerite Kloos and Russell Glossup earlier pleaded guilty to casting votes for dead persons. Three others have charges pending against them.

Laughable: Former CIA Director Says Boston Bombings Couldn't Happen In New York Because NYPD Does Better Job Spying On Muslims

The incredulous statements coming from current and former officials of our government concerning terrorism keeps reaching new lows. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden claims the Boston Marathon bombings could never have happened in New York because the police do a much better job there of spying on Muslims. From the Daily Mail:
Former CIA chief Michael Hayden says a terror attack similar to the Boston Marathon bombing could not have been executed in New York City because of the NYPD's extensive spying on Muslim communities. 
'If these two mopes were living in New York this attack would not have happened,' Hayden said of the two Boston bombing suspects, reports The Hill newspaper's Jordy Yager. 
'The New York Police Department is far more aggressive, far more invasive, going what’s been termed ‘mosque crawling’ and a whole bunch of other things to permeate the Islamic-American community. Boston doesn’t do that,' he said.
What Hayden fails to reveal is that the only planned terror attacks in New York that were foiled before they could be carried out that weren't initiated by the FBI's counter terrorism unit was due to the actions of private citizens, not NYPD. Hayden conveniently omits the CIA's role in handling the Tsarnaev brothers, whose family was only in the United States thanks to the actions of his former colleague, Graham Fuller, father-in-law and former housemate of Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers. Not even a warning from the Russians to both the CIA or the FBI warranted any action against the Tsarnaev brothers. Gee, I wonder why?

Speaking of government officials behaving badly, what's up with the two U.S. embassy employees getting shot at a strip club in Venezuela?
Two officials from the U.S. Embassy suffered gunshot wounds early Tuesday in an altercation at a strip club in Venezuela’s crime-ridden capital, police and U.S. State Department officials said. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
The circumstances of the shooting were unclear, with conflicting reports over whether it happened inside or outside the Antonella 2012 nightclub.
Read more on the AP report of the incident here.

TV Ratings For The Indianapolis 500 The Lowest Ever

Well this is disappointing. Despite putting on one of its greatest racing shows in many years, TV ratings for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 were lower than ever. ABC's live coverage of the race drew a 3.8 rating. From the Star:
The Indianapolis 500 drew a 3.8 overnight rating on ABC Sunday afternoon, it’s lowest since the race began airing live in 1986, according to a story on
The number represents a seven percent drop from 2012 (4.1) and is down 12 percent from 2011 (4.3). The previous low was a 4.0 in 2010 and this is the fifth consecutive year the event has earned less than a 4.5 rating.
Pre-race coverage earned a 2.0 overnight on ABC, up from 1.9 last year.
The website used ratings numbers from ESPN.
The race is not broadcast live in the Indianapolis market; however, a rebroadcast that aired during prime time on WRTV last night drew a 9.3 rating. That compares to the 17.3 rating the NBA playoff game between the Pacers and the Heat drew on TNT and the 7.7 rating NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 pulled on WXIN-TV in the Indianapolis market last night.

UPDATE: Ticket prices for nearly 2/3 of the seats at next year's race will increase 15%. This is the first increase in nearly a decade. On top of the ticket price increase, a new admissions tax will be collected for the first time ranging from 2% to 6% depending on the price of the ticket.

Disgusting: John McCain Spends Memorial Day Meeting With Syrian Terrorists

mccain syria
One thing is clear at this point. American foreign policy would have been carried out as poorly if Sen. John McCain had been elected instead of Barack Obama. Despite spending several years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi during the undeclared war in Vietnam, McCain never shies away from U.S. military intrusions into places where it has no business being. McCain has been a vocal critic of President Obama for not aggressively pursuing a military action in Syria to overthrow the Assad regime. McCain has supported covert funding of the terrorists linked to Al Qaeda, which the CIA has been providing them for over a year now. Thousands of innocent civilians have been slaughtered thanks in large part to U.S. backed civil war. Sen. McCain spent his Memorial Day sneaking into Syria to meet with his terrorist friends. From the Daily Beast
Sen. John McCain Monday became the highest-ranking U.S. official to enter Syria since the bloody civil war there began more than two years ago, The Daily Beast has learned.
McCain, one of the fiercest critics of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, made the unannounced visit across the Turkey-Syria border with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. He stayed in the country for several hours before returning to Turkey. Both in Syria and Turkey, McCain and Idris met with assembled leaders of Free Syrian Army units that traveled from around the country to see the U.S. senator. Inside those meetings, rebel leaders called on the United States to step up its support to the Syrian armed opposition and provide them with heavy weapons, a no-fly zone, and airstrikes on the Syrian regime and the forces of Hezbollah, which is increasingly active in Syria.
Idris praised the McCain visit and criticized the Obama administration’s Syria policy in an exclusive interview Monday with The Daily Beast.
“The visit of Senator McCain to Syria is very important and very useful especially at this time,” he said. “We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation.” . . .  
Prior to his visit inside Syria, McCain and Idris had separate meetings with two groups of FSA commanders and their Civil Revolutionary Council counterparts in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Rebel military and civilian leaders from all over Syria came to see McCain, including from Homs, Qusayr, Idlib, Damascus, and Aleppo. Idris led all the meetings. 
The entire trip was coordinated with the help of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an American nonprofit organization that works in support of the Syrian opposition. Two leaders of the group attended all of the McCain-Idris meetings and discussed them with The Daily Beast.
Sen. McCain had absolutely no business entering the war-torn country to voice support for a group of bandits who promise only to bring a less civilized nation and more instability to the Middle East if they should succeed in ousting the legitimate Syrian government. I recall when Ronald Reagan was President how infuriated many Republican members of Congress became when then-House Speaker Jim Wright met with the Sandinista leader of Nicaragua at a time the Reagan administration was supporting rebel efforts to overthrow his government after the Congress cut off funding to the Contras. Similar outrage should be expressed by members of both parties over McCain's improper meddling in the country's foreign policy, which should be expressed through our elected President and his appointed diplomatic representatives, not errant members of Congress like McCain.

UPDATE: WND's Aaron Klein adds this about McCain's rebel hosts:
The rebel commander who hosted Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Syria yesterday has openly integrated an al-Qaida-allied organization into the ranks of his fighting group, WND has learned.
The commander further runs a council that includes rebel leaders fighting for the establishment of Islamic law . . .  
Last month, the New York Times reported virtually every fighting force in Syria includes Islamic extremists. 
The Times further reported rebels aligned with al-Qaida are imposing Islamic law in areas controlled by the opposition. 
“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” reported the Times. 
The Times article, by reporter Ben Hubbard, said Irgis had integrated into his Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army forces many overtly Islamist battalions. 
The council “is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government,” reported the Times.

Legislative Leaders Schedule One-Day Special Session To Attempt Override Of Pence's Veto Of Tax Bill

Gov. Mike Pence only vetoed three bills sent to him this year by the legislature. One of those dealt with a local income tax collected by Jackson and Pulaski Counties. Both counties had imposed a local income tax to fund jail construction bonds, but the authorization for those local income taxes had expired. The legislation vetoed by Gov. Pence would have legalized taxes already collected by the affected counties by making the extension of the tax authorizations retroactive. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma are so concerned by the potential negative impact caused by that veto that they have scheduled a special session for June 12 to consider an override of the veto. The Northwest Indiana Times' Dan Carden has more:
"The problems associated with the veto, if it stands, will be immense," Long said.
Long noted it would be almost impossible for the counties to refund the extra income tax collections in any timely way. Long also said the state's bond rating could suffer if the counties default on loan payments.
Approval by a simple majority in both chambers is needed to override the governor's veto and enact the measure into law. The legislation was initially passed 98-0 in the House and 48-1 by the Senate.
It was one of three measures vetoed by the first-year governor. He also rejected proposals to require state licensing of anesthesiologist assistants and diabetes educators along with state certification of dietitians and music therapists.
Despite the Republican-dominated majorities that approved Senate Enrolled Act 273 and House Enrolled Act 1242, Pence said he believes the state ought to have fewer professional licenses, not more.
"Less regulation will mean more jobs for Hoosiers," Pence said.
Bosma and Long said those vetoes will not be on the June 12 legislative agenda but will be considered in the normal course of business next year.
House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said he thinks Pence used his vetoes to show legislative Republicans, who often say one thing but do another on taxes and regulations, that he will not go along with proposals if they conflict with his own anti-tax, anti-regulation positions.
"That's one of the governor's few opportunities to render judgments on some things that happened in the session. It's a chance to talk about things," Pelath said.
As this blog has previously complained, Gov. Pence signed the two worst bills of the legislative session, both of which flew in the face of everything he has preached as a conservative for the past several decades. He signed the $100 million taxpayer bailout bill for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which includes a new ticket tax.  He also signed a power grab bill that strips the Indianapolis City-County Council of authority and gives it to Mayor Greg Ballard, who is perhaps the most corrupt mayor in the history of Uni-Gov, as evidenced by the sweeping indictments of top staff officials he appointed at the Department of Metropolitan Development last week on charges they accepted bribes and kickbacks in administering the city's land bank program for abandoned homes.

Kanaan Earns More Than $2.3 Million For Indy Victory

IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan collected a check for $2,353,355 at the IMS' annual Victory Awards Celebration. The overall purse for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 topped $12 million. Second-place finisher Carlos Munoz, a rookie, collected $964,205 for his first appearance in the race. Ryan Hunter-Reay earned $583,005 for finishing third. Marco Andretti collected $469,755 for fourth place, while Justin Wilson earned $337,805 for his fifth place finish. The lowest amount paid to any driver who participated in the race exceeded $200,000.

Observant viewers couldn't help but notice who was spotted sitting behind Kanaan's table at last night's awards celebration during its live airing on WTHR-TV hosted by Dave Calabro. Yes, that was State Rep. Eric Turner, who sponsored the legislation that provided a $100 million taxpayer bailout for the IMS. One observer noted that the IMS ended the practice of inviting the teams' crew members to the annual awards celebration a few years back unless they worked for the winning team. Yet they invite this guy to attend? Hey, they were passing out checks. What do you expect? The Indianapolis Star previously reported how generous the IMS became in making campaign contributions to lawmakers prior to the start of this year's legislative session.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tony Kanaan Gets His First Win At Indy

Indianapolis 500 fans were treated to one of the more exciting races in many years, with a record number of 68 lead changes and 14 different drivers taking turns leading today's race. A fan favorite, Tony Kanaan, comes out on top after capturing the lead with just three laps left before a caution light came out and aloud him to coast to victory, his first win at Indy after many years of racing. Rookie Carlos Munoz finished second, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Justin Wilson. Pole sitter Ed Carpenter finished tenth after leading more laps than any other driver at 37. It also turned out to be the fastest in the 97-year history of the race, averaging 187.433 mph. There were also a record number of cars still running at the finish, 27, beating a record 26 that had stood since 1911.
Added security for this year's running of the Indianapolis 500 made for much longer lines and waiting time to enter the track. Knowledge that coolers, backpacks and other carrying items would be subject to security checks didn't seem to deter people from toting what they normally take to the track with them on race day. According to the Star, fans were taking to social media to vent their frustration, some complaining of waits of 45 minutes or more. The 16th Street entrance we took today had only a 10-minute wait. I took the photo above about an hour prior to the start of the race along Georgetown Road to show just how long the lines were.
Check out the number of rows of seating that have been eliminated along the straightaway. Also notice all the handicapped seating area that went largely unused.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Never Let A Government-Created Terrorist Attack Go To Waste: Indianapolis 500 Will Rub Boston In Our Faces

The manufactured war on terrorism will take front and center at tomorrow's running of the Indianapolis 500. Shamefully, the Hulman-George family, fresh from celebrating their legislative victory of scoring one hundred million dollars in government subsidies to improve their race track, will allow 35 runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon this year when two explosions were staged near the finish line by those promoting the endless war on terror to make that final one-mile run before the start of this year's race. From WRTV:
Approximately 35 runners from the 2013 Boston Marathon unable to finish the race because of the bombings will complete the distance Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Boston Marathon participants from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan will run a half mile from Turn 4 to the Yard of Bricks on the IMS oval moments before the start of the 97th Indianapolis 500, an IMS spokesman said.
The run will take place between 11:55 a.m. and noon.
All of the participants in the ceremonial run at the IMS were stopped short of the finish line April 15 in Boston after two bombs exploded.
“The tragedy last month in Boston still resonates with everyone, so we wanted to give runners the chance to finish the race in front of thousands of fans who will appreciate their persistence and determination,” said Doug Boles, IMS chief operating officer. “Everyone will remember the victims while also celebrating the strength and indomitable spirit of these special competitors as they cross the hallowed Yard of Bricks.”
IMS officials extended the invitation for runners to the Boston Athletic Association, which contacted those who didn’t finish the race in Indiana and surrounding states.
In Boston today, they held a re-running of the last mile of the race for the nearly 5,000 runners who were unable to compete the marathon this year due to the unforeseen events of the date.

As part of the keeping "see something, say something" high alert awareness campaign, bomb squads were called to the Coca-Cola lot at the Speedway today to examine a suspicious device that was emanating smoke. It turned out to be commercial grade firecrackers.

Speaking of staged events, listen to one of the announcers at the Indy Light series Freedom 100 race at the IMS yesterday say the spectacularly close finish between four of the cars competing was staged. Listen at the 1:30 mark where he says, "That looks staged, Mike. Look how staged that picture looks." Maybe it was.

FDIC Sues Four Former Officers Of Irwin Union Bank And Trust For $42 Million

The FDIC is suing four former officers of Irwin Union Bank and Trust for negligence, gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for their roles in approving 19 loans during a four-year period, all outside of Indiana, that helped contribute to the failure of Indiana's oldest bank. The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of Indiana. The officers being sued include Bradley Kime, Duncan Burdette, Kim Roerig and Michael Waters. According to the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Indiana, FDIC is seeking to recover at least $42 million lost as a result of the poorly underwritten loan.

A scathing complaint, alleges the four officers approved loan transactions that "suffered from multiple and egregious deficiencies that made the risk of loss clear." 'Not a single loan contained an analysis of credit information that was sufficient to ascertain the adequacy of cash flows to service the loans or to identify a clear repayment source." The loans violated the banks appraisal standards, contained loan-to-value ratio violations, failed to properly value collateral and lacked current financial statements from the borrowers and guarantors according to the complaint.

The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions closed the bank on September 18, 2009 with $2.8 billion in assets and FDIC-insured losses of $934.3 million. The thrift alter ego of the bank that made the loans outside of Indiana was closed by OTS with $518 million in losses and $161.3 million in FDIC-insured losses. The 19 loans that are the focus of the lawsuit were made in six markets--Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Indianapolis.

The IBJ has a feature story here (subscriber-only) that opens by saying the lawsuit alleges the four former officers "closed their eyes to known risks in approving loans that contributed to the banks’ 2009 takeover by regulators."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Former Hancock County Coroner Sues Brizzi For Malpractice

When Hancock Co. Coroner Tamara Vangundy accepted a guilty plea for official misconduct, a Class D felony and a misdemeanor drunk driving charge, she believed she could seek re-election as county coroner because her plea agreement provided for alternative sentencing as a misdemeanor. Advance Indiana was the first to point out the obvious misreading of the statute. By the end of the day, her attorney, former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, agreed that he had misread the statute and Vangundy's guilty plea to a felony would bar her from seeking re-election to office. Now she's suing Brizzi for malpractice according to the Indiana Lawyer:
The suit filed May 16 in Marion Superior Court claims Vangundy paid Brizzi a flat fee of $10,000 for advice regarding election law and the implications for a public official pleading guilty to a felony.
“Carl Brizzi’s advice that Ms. Vangundy should plead guilty to official misconduct, a Class D felony, but receive misdemeanor sentencing, because she would be able to continue to serve as Hancock County coroner was flat wrong and caused Ms. Vangundy to forever lose her position as Hancock County coroner,” according to the complaint.
“After the plea agreement was accepted by the court, the Hancock County prosecutor emailed Carl Brizzi and threatened to prosecute Ms. Vangundy for impersonation of a public servant if she took a single coroner call from that day forward,” according to the complaint. Vangundy is represented by Cohen & Malad LLP.
Vangundy was advised to plead guilty to the charges, which she did Aug. 22. “When the judge read the plea of guilty to the felony charge, Ms. Vangundy specifically looked at Carl Brizzi and asked again, ‘Am I supposed to say yes to that?’” the complaint alleges.
“Brizzi advised Ms. Vangundy to say yes and to plea and again assured her that her position as Hancock County coroner was fine,” according to the complaint. Brizzi later told reporters that Vangundy wasn’t a convicted felon, but reversed himself that evening, telling the Greenfield Daily Reporter that Vangundy’s banishment from office was something attorneys on both sides hadn’t realized. “So shame on us for not considering it. There’s no excuse for it. It was a mistake, for sure,” Brizzi told the Daily Reporter.
The complaint alleges that when Vangundy asked for a refund over the bad advice, “Brizzi laughed and refused.” Vangundy claims her damages include the $10,000 fee, interest on a loan taken to pay the fee, lost salary and benefits, emotional pain and suffering, attorney fees and other relief.
“It is hard to believe that Mr. Brizzi would admit not even reading the statute he was hired to read and then (refuse) to give back the $10,000 he charged his client,” Cohen & Malad managing partner Irwin Levin said in a statement. “Ms. Vangundy was entitled to competent legal advice and Mr. Brizzi didn't give it. Ms. Vangundy's world has been turned upside down.”
Vangundy's lawsuit could bolster former Secretary of State Charlie White's petition for post-conviction relief. White blames his conviction on six felony charges related to allegations that he improperly served on the Fisher's Town Council and voted from an address at which he wasn't residing, in part, on Brizzi's decision not to put on a defense in his case. White's petition lays out that fact, among others, for contending that he received ineffective counsel during his trial.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pence Ceremonial Signing Of $100 Million Bailout For Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Star photo
Gov. Mike Pence held a ceremonial signing of HB 1544 in his office today flanked by the bill's authors, State Rep. Eric Turner and State Sen. Brandt Hershman, and representatives of those counting the dollars the governor just took from your pockets and put in their pockets. IMS CEO Mark Miles has quite the smirk on his face thinking about how easy it is to tap public dollars to enrich one's self in Indiana. I even see Roger Harvey, former WTHR-TV investigative reporter turned influence peddler, standing in the back row behind the governor. Things are so bad in Indiana that even good journalists are corrupted by the system. This is not a moment that Gov. Pence should treasure. It flies in the face of the fiscal conservatism and personal responsibility he's spent the past few decades preaching to the rest of us, but it's good for campaign contributions and that seems to be all that matters to our elected officials anymore.

Ballard Awards City Towing Contract To California Firm

As if we needed another example of how unethically Mayor Greg Ballard is administering the affairs of the City of Indianapolis, the IBJ is reporting that his administration just awarded a lucrative towing contract to a California firm, AutoReturn, to oversee all city-ordered towing. A Department of Code Enforcement spokesman, Adam Baker, couldn't tell the IBJ how much AutoReturn will earn under its contract that begins on July 1. The city is dropping it current contracts with three locally-owned towing firms. This part of Kathleen McLaughlin's story tells you all that you need to know:
City records show Brian Burdick of the law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP lobbied on behalf of AutoReturn in 2012 and 2013. Mayor Greg Ballard's chief of staff, Ryan Vaughn, is a former Barnes & Thornburg attorney.

Stratfor Leaked E-Mail Fingered Brennan For Witch Hunt Against Reporters

Breitbart's Kerry Picket has identified an e-mail included in a dump of global intelligence e-mails from the private intelligence service Stratfor that were released by Wikileaks a week after President Obama's re-election last year that identified Obama's then-counter terrorism adviser John Brennan as the person in the administration behind the witch hunt against journalist who reported unflattering information about the administration from leaked sources. The e-mail in question was first mentioned in a Twitter post by the Massachusetts ACLU on November 15, 2012 titled "war on whistle blowers."

Obama nominated Brennan as his choice to become CIA Director shortly after Gen. David Petraeus was forced out following disclosures the day after the election that he had an extramarital relationship with his biographer. Before joining the Obama administration, Brennan headed up the same private firm under contract with the State Department whose employees had been found to have illegally breached Obama's passport file to scrub it of damaging information. Brennan, a long-time CIA employee, also headed up the CIA post in Saudi Arabia that was responsible for issuing U.S. visas to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.

Only recently have we learned that the Justice Department had searched phone and e-mail records of the Associated Press and Fox News' Jim Rosen to learn the source of leaks. In a search warrant request, the Justice Department identified Rosen as “an aider, and abettor, and / or co-conspirator” in violating the Espionage Act, noting that the crime can be punished by ten years in prison. Although Rosen was never criminally charged, the implication of the government's statement in its search warrant filing was that a reporter could be charged with a federal crime for routine reporting.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mayor Ballard's $400 Super Bowl Ring

I was just taking a gander at the statement of economic interest Mayor Greg Ballard filed earlier this month for the 2012 calendar year. He discloses receiving just two specific gifts: a watch with a Marine logo given to him by Steve and Kathy Brown on August 9, 2012 worth an undisclosed value; and a Super Bowl ring given to him by the Indianapolis Colts on October 18, 2012 with a listed of value of only $400.00. According to Wikipedia, the NFL purchases the gold and diamond rings for the winning team each year for about $5,000 a piece.  Assuming it's a genuine Super Bowl ring, its resale value would be considerably higher than the original purchase price. I'm assuming Jimmy "The Pill Popper" Irsay gave Ballard a genuine Super Bowl ring.

In addition to the free tickets he gets to all the home games of the Pacers and the Colts, Ballard disclosed receiving two Pacers tickets from IPL valued at $1,824.00. Ballard also accepts free country club memberships conservatively worth tens of thousands of dollars. He and his wife have taken at least eight overseas junkets paid by Develop Indy with money raised from pay-to-play contractors who have won public contracts or received tax and cash economic development incentives from the city worth tens of millions of dollars. I would value the cost of those trips for him and Winnie well in excess of $50,000. In other words, the kickbacks Greg Ballard gets from the pay-to-play pals and the billionaire sports team owners he helps with our tax dollars are far in excess of what Reginald Walton or John Hawkins allegedly received in the kickback scheme they were running in the city's Land Bank office. Just keeping it all in perspective. Perhaps Walton and Hawkins were only emulating the man in charge on the 25th floor.

UPDATE: Here's Pawn Star's Rick Harrison showing off his favorite Super Bowl ring.