Monday, September 30, 2013

Amateur Video Captured Meteor In Night Sky Over Greenwood

There have been numerous meteor sightings across the United States in recent days. This amateur video captured one in the night sky over Greenwood this past Friday. NASA scientists are mum over whether the uptick in meteor activity has anything to do with the approaching Comet Ison. What has been described as the comet of the century by the Russian scientists who discovered it last year is impacting Mars over the next few days as it makes its closest pass by the red planet. It is expected to impact Earth in early January as it passes on its way through our solar system on a path headed in the direction of our sun.

35% Increase In Local Income Tax Hits Allen County Taxpayers Tomorrow

Allen County taxpayers will see a cut in their pay starting tomorrow thanks to a 35% increase in the local option income tax hoisted on them by the city of Fort Wayne, which controls the Allen Co. Income Tax Council, after it approved increasing the local tax rate from 1% to 1.35% to close a budget gap in Fort Wayne's budget. Like Indianapolis, Fort Wayne diverts a substantial amount of property tax revenues to TIF slush funds that are used by the city's mayor to reward campaign contributors, which are described to taxpayers as investments in economic development. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette explains the less-than-transparent mechanism Fort Wayne used to raise taxes on all county taxpayers under state law.
So how did the Fort Wayne City Council manage to raise taxes on everyone in the county, even those outside the city limits? Technically, it didn’t – the Allen County Income Tax Council did.
The Allen County Income Tax Council is in some ways a myth, as it never meets. Instead, it is made up of the governments of the county and incorporated towns, and each year, Allen County Auditor Tera Klutz calculates, based on population, the number of votes that each body gets.
The city of Fort Wayne gets 71 votes out of the 100 available. Allen County government gets 21, New Haven gets 4 votes, Huntertown gets 1.35 and Leo-Cedarville gets 1 vote. Woodburn, Monroeville, Grabill and Zanesville each get less than 1 vote.
That’s not the case in all of Indiana’s 92 counties: In 27 counties – including Adams, Kosciusko and Steuben – the county government holds the majority on the tax council. In 16 counties – including DeKalb and Huntington – no single entity holds a majority, meaning coalitions must form to pass anything.
But in Allen County, when the Fort Wayne City Council voted to raise the LOIT, the measure automatically passed with at least 71 of 100 votes. Klutz then sent letters to each of the other bodies asking them to cast their own votes.
These laws are written by the big law firms that have full-time lobbyists at the State House taking advantage of lawmakers who aren't smart enough to know better, or who enjoy too much the free tickets to sporting events and the meals at St. Elmo's purchased for them by their lobbyists to ask any questions. The big law firms, of course, love slush funds that can be used for bonding purposes to fund these economic development opportunities for which they provide the professional services and the proceeds of which quite often conveniently benefit clients they represent. Dishonest mayors and city council members will tell their constituents that they have no choice but to raise their income taxes because they're losing too much money because of the state's property tax cap law.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Is The IMS Giving The Old Heave Ho To Central Indiana's Nonprofit Organizations?

The IBJ's Anthony Schoettle has a story discussing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's plan to put its concessions and merchandise vending operations up for bid for the first time in the Speedway's 104-year history. According to the story, Speedway officials are asking bidders "to commit to making unspecified infrastructure upgrades to help increase the customer experience and increase sales." Schoettle says the move is seen as a way "to cut costs and increase revenue." Centerplate and Levy Restaurants are considered leading bidder for food and beverages, while MainGate is viewed as having an inside track on the merchandising contract. Centerplate currently has the contract for Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, while the Simon-owned Pacers currently has a contract with Levy to operate the concessions at Banker's Life Fieldhouse.

Completely missing from Schoettle's story is what impact the outsourcing will have on nonprofit organizations in Central Indiana, which have long been awarded commissions on concession sales at the IMS events in exchange for providing thousands of volunteers to staff the concession and merchandise stands and to serve as ushers and parking attendants. The Ice Skating Club of Indianapolis, for example, provided volunteers to staff one of the concession stands at this year's Indy 500, Brickyard 400 and MotoGP races for the opportunity to receive 13% from the concession stand's sales.

Schoettle's story notes that Speedway fans have become accustomed to much lower food and beverage costs at the track than other venues, particularly Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse, where prices are atrocious. Speedway President Doug Boles says that he is confident that price controls in the vendor's contract will keep prices from increasing. Fans will still be allowed to bring their own food and drink to the track. The outsourcing, however, will mean the loss of about 15 full-time jobs at the Speedway, in addition to the loss of some part-time, seasonal staff.

Thanks to legislation approved by the General Assembly this year and signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana taxpayers will fork over $100 million to the Hulman-George family to make improvements to their privately-owned race track because in Indiana it is apparently the duty of every taxpayer to provide public subsidies to the state's wealthiest families who operate professional sporting events. They're not concerned about whether you can afford to buy health insurance to take care of yourself and your family or whether your kids learn anything at our public schools, but it is absolutely vital that there be permanent public subsidies available to the Irsay, Simon and Hulman-George families to operate their for-profit sporting businesses because they are so critical to the future well-being of the state.

UPDATE: Centerplate apparently has a program for volunteer organizations to furnish volunteers to staff concessions in exchange for a share of the sales at Lucas Oil Stadium. I found an old article from 2010 discussing contracts it had with nonprofit groups and area schools. The article indicated that about 70% of the concession stands at LOS is operated by volunteers. The participating groups and schools seemed to be happy with the arrangement. Presumably, Centerplate would have a similar arrangement at the Speedway if it won the contract. I don't know how it would compare to the current arrangement with the Speedway. It's hard to see how you squeeze out larger profits with an outside contractor if you're not going to raise prices to levels more comparable with food and concession costs at Lucas Oil Stadium or Banker's Life Fieldhouse.

UPDATE II: I missed this end-of-week report. IndyCar's title sponsor, Izod, is ending its sponsorship at the conclusion of the 2013 season. Its 6-year, $60 million sponsorship deal was supposed to extend through the 2014 season according to the IBJ's Anthony Schoettle.

Why Does Star Reporter Jon Murray Keep Derogatorily Referring To Christine Scales As "Rogue"?

In case you haven't noticed it, the Indianapolis Star's city hall beat reporter, Jon Murray, does nothing more than write press releases for the 25th floor. The idea of viewing himself as an "outsider" when reporting on matters happening in city government seems foreign to him. Being a city hall beat reporter to him means writing whatever curries favor with the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard. Whistle blowers complain that he ignores news tips involving anything negative about Ballard's administration.

In his coverage of Councilor Christine Scales' ongoing differences with Ballard and some of our her Republican colleagues, Murray has repeatedly referred to Scales as a "rogue" councilor, a derogatory term the national media used incessantly to describe former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in an effort to discredit her. Murray's contribution to this week's "Behind Closed Doors" column, which was once worth the read before the newspaper became a Gannett-owned piece of trash, used the word "rogue" to describe Scales again because she refused to go along with Ballard's plan to resurrect the elimination of the homestead property tax credit, a property tax increase on homeowners the Gannett newspaper supports. For the record, the Star has supported every tax increase that has been considered by the City-County Council since it has been owned by Gannett.
At Monday’s council meeting, Republicans launched a last-bid attempt to revive the mayor’s credit elimination proposal by moving to add it to the agenda.
Council member Will Gooden’s motion failed 15-12, with all Democrats present voting no, along with Republican Christine Scales, a sometimes-rogue member whom her caucus expelled earlier this month.
That meeting was the council’s final chance to revive Ballard’s Plan A because of state-imposed deadlines for changes to county income tax spending each year, the mayor’s office says. A slice of income taxes pay for the property tax credit.
So even if Ballard were to use his line-item veto power to try to reverse or hinder the Democrats’ budget changes, he likely would need a new fall-back plan.
Let's be clear. If Murray had any objectivity in his reporting, he would use a more respectable adjective to describe her, such as "independent" or "fiscally conservative."  After all, isn't calling a Republican councilor "rogue" because she opposes a property tax increase on homeowners a bridge too far? Is the reporter unaware that Scales is only holding true to the same positions held by Mayor Ballard and other Republican councilors when they sought to oust Ballard's predecessor, Bart Peterson and his Democratic-controlled council, in the 2007 municipal elections? Murray never reported the facts concerning the vote to expel Scales from the caucus. If he had, he would have known that the vote to expel her from the caucus was far from being a unanimous vote.

As an aside, Murray has also reported very negatively on Brian Mahern, an independent voice on the council within the Democratic Party. Oddly, Murray and the Star appear not to share Mahern's views of public transparency. Because Mahern has persistently sought public records concerning the dollar value of Colts and Pacers tickets being handed out by the Mayor's Office and the Capital Improvement Board and the amount of money being spent by Develop Indy on Mayor Ballard's numerous overseas junkets and the source of those expenditures, he seems to have fallen out of favor with the downtown mafia. The Star implicitly supports the suppression of this information from public scrutiny and doesn't mind using its newspaper to discredit Mahern. It's hard to believe that the Star once upon a time used to go to court to force the disclosure of this type of information as it did when it sued the ICVA to force disclosure of its records back in the early 1990s. Suffice it to say that the Star and its reporters have become enemies of the taxpaying public.

UPDATE: It looks like someone at the Star is reading this blog. The online version of the column has been revised from its original version to describe Scales as "a Republican with an independent streak" rather than as a "rogue member" and referring to her expulsion from her caucus as "punishment":
Council member Will Gooden’s motion failed 15-12, with all Democrats present voting no, along with Christine Scales, a Republican with an independent streak who was expelled by her caucus earlier this month as punishment.

Seymour Hersh: Obama Administration's Bin Laden Story A Total Fabrication

It's refreshing to see that there is at least one reputable mainstream reporter left in America. Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Seymour Hersh brandishes his colleagues in the media for "carrying water for Obama" in an interview with The Guardian. On the death of Osama bin Laden, Hersh chastises the media for failing to do any independent investigative work. Hersh says "it's one big lie, not one word of it is true." I guess you'll have to put the respected Hersh in the same category as the rest of us who have been marginalized as wacko conspiracy theorists for challenging the Obama narrative, which anyone with a brain should have been able to figure out was totally contrived.

Hersh condemns the Obama administration for lying systematically. "[N]one of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him," Hersh laments. "It's pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]." "It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn't happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president."

Hersh credits NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden, who has been vilified by much of the mainstream news media as a criminal and traitor, with changing the debate on the American surveillance state. He thinks the news bureaus of NBC and ABC should be shut down and 90% of the editors in the publishing business should be fired to return to the fundamental job of journalists to act like outsiders.

Super Bowl Legacy At Work: Brawl Halts Arsenal Tech Football Game

The Super Bowl legacy investment at Arsenal Tech has had a real positive impact. Officials had to abruptly end the football game last night with the opposing team, Fort Wayne South, after angry Arsenal Tech players, coaches and some fans fled onto the field to brawl after they didn't like a tackle made by one of the opposing team's players. IMPD was called to the scene but made no arrests. Gee, I wonder why?

UPDATE: Here's a longer version of the video shown by WISH-TV. It looks like one of the coaches from Arsenal Tech fueled the brawl by sucker punching one of Fort Wayne South's coaches.

Arsenal Tech's football coach, Emil Ekiyor, spoke to the Star about one of his coach's involvement in last night's brawl who has been suspended:
Ekiyor said the Tech coach involved in the fight is a volunteer coach who has been suspended for the remainder of the season. Ekiyor declined to name him but said the coach is considering filing charges against the Fort Wayne South coach who punched him.
“The fact of the matter is that he did throw a punch,” Ekiyor said of the Tech volunteer. “That’s not excusable at all, which is why we felt like we needed to suspend him the rest of the year. We have to set an example that kids need to understand their actions have consequences.”
Tech was leading Fort Wayne South 24-6 with 1:41 left in the third quarter when the fight occurred and the game was stopped. Administators from Tech have been in contact with the Indiana High School Athletic Association regarding the brawl and Ekiyor said he expects there to be an investigation.
“The thing that really scared me the most was people coming down from the stands and coming on to the field,” Ekiyor said. “That really took the cake. When you see all of that unfolding in front of you, as a coach you never want to see that happen. It was just a nightmare. It makes you sick.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ROC Building Owner Makes Shocking Claim: City Paid Him Up Front Under Secret Deal

WTHR's Sandra Chapman sat down and interviewed the owner of the former Eastgate Consumer Mall, which the City of Indianapolis leased under an $18 million deal in 2011 before the Super Bowl in a rush to establish a regional operations center ("ROC") for the city's Department of Homeland Security, as well as the headquarters for IMPD's east district command. Alex Carroll makes a shocking claim that he got all of his money for the lease up front for a long-term lease agreement under which the city assumed virtually all liabilities and expenses under a secret deal he worked out with Mayor Greg Ballard, former Public Safety Director Frank Straub and the City-County Council. Earlier this month, Straub's successor, Troy Riggs, announced that the city was pulling up stakes and moving the ROC and east district command elsewhere due to unsafe conditions in the building which he blamed on Carroll despite lease terms that clearly imposed those obligations on the city to remedy. Here's an excerpt from Chapman's story tonight where Carroll made shocking allegations that should have people at the highest levels in the City-County Building shaking in their boots:
Metro police officers were forced to evacuate the east side facility because of ongoing fire concerns. But that hasn't stopped the flow of city taxpayer dollars.
Now, the landowner claims he was given a secret deal that put a chunk of money into his hands up front . . .
It's no secret former Public Safety Director Frank Straub signed the public contract.
"This was not built in the shadow of a box," said land owner, Alex Carroll. "If it was unsafe, why are they waiting a year and a half to say it's unsafe?" 
Carroll insists there were plenty of eyes on the deal.
"It was Frank Straub, it was the mayor, it was the City-County Council, it was everybody," Carroll said.
"They all said yes?," asked 13 Investigates.
"They all said yes," Carroll said, emphatically.
Mayor Greg Ballard and his staff don't want to talk about the ROC. The city overlooked the unfinished business there in 2011 and used the site as security headquarters for Super Bowl XLVI.
But Carroll says this lease deal is different. He says the city got a bond and is paying the bank nearly $60,000 a month for rent . . .
Carroll already got a good amount of his money. Now for the first time, he reveals he was paid a secret amount up front by the city to lease the Eastgate Mall property, as part of a confidential agreement.
"We've been paid," Carroll told 13 Investigates.
"Are you saying then that you guys have already received the $18 million?" questioned 13 Investigates.
"It's not $18 million," Carroll said of his share.
That $18 million price tag is what the city will pay for the loan, including principal and interest over 25 years. Not even Carroll thinks that's a good deal.
"It doesn't seem like a very prudent way to spend taxpayer money. We had nothing to do with drafting the lease," he explained.
It's a bit confusing, but Carroll seems to be claiming that the City secretly agreed to pay him an unspecified sum of money up front under a secret deal, and the $18 million referenced as the cost for the city's investment in the ROC and east district command is what the city is actually paying over a 25-year term in the form of monthly payments in the amount of $60,000 to repay the bank for the money it borrowed to invest into improvements to the building. The mayor's office has claimed that those payments have been paid into an escrow account with a bank, which completely contradicts Carroll's claims. What Carroll is now threatening to sue the city over are nearly $1 million in improvements to the building he says that he made at the city's request which he paid out of his own pocket. Those obligations rested with the city under the terms of the lease Carroll maintains.
Carroll's disclosures are a real bombshell and raise serious concerns of impropriety that occurred at the highest levels of city government. Clearly, the Mayor and the City-County Council misrepresented to the public the deal it entered into with Carroll. The lease agreement that has been released to the public gives the impression that those monthly payments are being made to Carroll and not to a bank, and it makes no mention of the up front payment Carroll says he received. Campaign finance records also show that Carroll made large campaign contributions to Mayor Ballard and two key city council members who pushed the deal to benefit their districts, Councilors Ben Hunter (R) and Mary Moriarty Adams. It is incumbent upon Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry to immediately convene a grand jury to investigate and get to the bottom of what transpired with this shady transaction. The people of this city are being told they must have their taxes raised to shore up the city's budget to properly fund public safety and then we learn that tens of millions of dollars were simply squandered in this poorly-executed, if not illegal transaction. 

Why Can't The Fair Finance Trustee Get These Kind Of Results?

The small Illinois city of Dixon was shaken to the foundation when it learned that its long-time comptroller had embezzled $54 million from the city over a two-decade period. The 60-year old Rita Crundwell was sentenced in February to 19 years in federal prison after she entered a guilty plea to a single count of wire fraud and admitting to money laundering. A lawsuit the city filed against its accounting firms and Fifth Third Bank has resulted in a whopping settlement of $40 million.

According to the Chicago Tribune, CliftonLarsonAllen has agreed to repay $35.15 million to the city for its failure to uncover the theft of funds during its audits of the city's books over the years. A local accounting firm, Janis Card Associates, has agreed to pay the city $1 million, while Fifth Third Bank, which handled the wire transfers made by Crundwell, will repay the city $3.85 million. An earlier auction of Crundwell's property netted $4.78 million. That's far more than city officials expected to recover when they began this process. “The only thing I asked of our attorney is don’t leave any money on the table and I don’t think he left any money on the table,” Mayor Jim Burke said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

In sharp contrast, the bankruptcy trustee charged with recovering more than $200 million investors in Ohio lost in convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham's Fair Finance Company has only managed to recover a little over $6 million after three years on the job, most of which will be pocketed by the trustee for expenses and fees from administering the bankruptcy estate. The Fair Finance Trustee settled a claim against Fair Finance's former accounting firm, Somerset CPAs, for only $500,000. The trustee settled a claim against another accounting firm, BGBC Partners, for only $100,000. Default judgments the trustee has obtained against Durham and his business partner, James Cochran, totaling about $145 million are unlikely to net any recovery for the defrauded investors. The trustee settled up with other business partners of Durham who were bought out prior to the collapse of Fair Finance for only $400,000. The largest recovery to date came from Donald Fair, the innocent seller who took no part in the fraud. He agreed to repay $3.55 million to the trustee to settle a claim filed against him from the nearly $20 million he received from Durham for the sale of the company to him back in 2002.

Local Media All Giddy About Pacers' $90 Million Deal With Paul George

Sports reporters in Indianapolis can't contain their excitement about the announcement that the Pacers are signing All-Star forward Paul George for a five-year deal estimated to be worth $90 million. Never mind that the people paying for these multi-year gazillion dollar contracts are Indianapolis taxpayers who provide the Pacers a free arena in which to play and are now apparently on the hook for providing permanent subsidies in the tens of millions of dollars annually just to keep their billionaire owner Herb Simon content and permit us the privilege of allowing our community to continue hosting his team. While the CIB is sitting on a cash surplus of over $70 million just waiting to be tapped by the greedy billionaire and his players, Indianapolis taxpayers are being told that they've been bad because they're not paying enough in taxes and that's why crime is increasing and cops are getting shot. Who cares if you can't afford to pay for health care or other essentials for daily living, let alone take on even higher taxes? As long as Herb Simon and his overpaid basketball players are happy, then all is well.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Porter County Ruling Allows Homeowners To Claim Homestead Deduction In Two States

I always thought the law was pretty clear on this point, but the Porter County Tax Appeal Board sees it differently. Indiana homeowners are permitted to take a deduction on just one home they own--the one in which they primarily reside. That annual deduction reduces an individual's property tax liability considerably. Ogden Dunes resident Dorothy Kurtz claimed the deduction on her Indiana home, while her husband is claiming a similar deduction for a home he owns in Florida. The Porter Co. Auditor said she couldn't do that. The tax appeal board sided with Kurtz and ruled that she and her husband can claim a homestead deduction on their Indiana home even if they are claiming one on their Florida home.

The key words in the statute defining a "homestead" is "an individual's principal place of residence." State Sen. Karen Talian (D-Ogden Dunes) argued to the board that the state's homestead deduction law only limits homeowners to a single homestead deduction within the state; it does not mean they can't claim homestead deductions if they own homes in other states where they also claim a homestead deduction. The Northwest Indiana Times has more on a dispute with statewide implications:
Attorney and State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, who represented Kurtz, argued that state law speaks about Indiana alone when it limits these tax breaks to one primary residence.
This was made explicitly clear in 2011, though was intended in years prior, Tallian said, who has served as a state lawmaker since 2005. The Kurtz appeal focused on the period of 2008-2010.
Attorney Jon Schmaltz, who represented the county auditor's office during Tuesday's hearing, disagreed and argued the state law limits homestead deductions to one primary residence, no matter how many states are involved.
"I don't think it's ambiguous," he said.
Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski, who has led a crackdown on homestead deduction violators, said he regrets that unlike the petitioner in these cases, he does not have the option of appealing the local decision to the state.
"It is not their job to interpret the law," he said of the three-member Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals. "This is a serious misinterpretation of what their responsibility is."
I suppose that Sen. Talian would argue that Kurtz and her husband can also legally register and vote in both Indiana and Florida since they are only claiming one principal residence in each state. Or perhaps the Kurtz's claim principal residents in two different states because they don't live together. I would be curious to see which state they each claim as their principal residence for purposes of filing their tax returns since Florida has no state income tax. And if they are filing joint tax returns, which house are they claiming for purposes of deducting mortgage interest payments.

City-County Council Approves Property Tax Increase

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We're not going to get any answers about how Mayor Greg Ballard and the Indianapolis City-County Council pilfered the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the 65% increase in the county option income tax increase that was supposed to have been dedicated to public safety in 2007. Instead, the City-County Council is taking the first step in passing another round of massive tax hikes like they did last night when they approved the expansion of the special police taxing district for IMPD. This allows new tax levies to be imposed on all of the Republican areas of the county who foolishly believed that by electing a Republican mayor and Republican council members during the 2007 tax-uprising election year that they were electing fiscally conservative leadership. We now know that when it comes to tax, spend and borrowing matters, Republicans in this city think no differently than Democrats, and that their number one priority is making sure that there are plenty of tax dollars available to pass out as subsidies to the pay-to-play club members who finance their campaigns and the billionaire sports team owners who give them free tickets to Colts and Pacers games.

The council members who voted for this property tax increase will tell you that it means more money for police, but it's a lie. Council members who voted for this tax increase will tell you that it's a matter of fairness. That's another lie. They argue that when they merged IMPD and the Sheriff's Department in 2006 they didn't extend this tax levy to the new service areas because of the nearly half-billion dollar public pension debt that needed to be paid off--one of the reasons they gave for passing that 65% increase in the county option income tax in 2007. The police merger was supposed to achieve tens of millions of dollars in savings, but that was a total lie. That half billion dollar debt vanished with the passage of the 2008 property tax reform package passed by the state legislature. But why didn't our taxes go down if we know longer had to repay that debt? The short answer is that the people you elect to run your local government are very dishonest people who play shell games with our money. For one thing, the current special police taxing district's tax base has been gutted by the ever-expanding TIF districts that accumulate hundreds of millions of property tax revenues in slush funds that are used to reward the corrupt politicians' campaign contributors. The special police taxing district has to be expanded to find more suckers to pay taxes that are used to fund the corrupt endeavors of our elected officials. Dedicated revenue is a loosely-used term by dishonest elected officials who tell you one thing as they are voting to raise your taxes and then use the money for something else. You ain't seen nothing yet. The even larger tax increase is coming up next. This is what happens when you elect dishonest, corrupt people to run your local government.

Here's how your council members voted last night (15-12) on this latest shell game move. I've included their party affiliation, but as you can tell by the way the vote was taken in the video above, it's just a game for these people. It took more time to take the vote than to debate the tax increase when they finally arrived at that magical 15th vote needed to pass the measure. To be more precise, there was no debate over this tax increase. Most of them are playing for the same team, and that team doesn't include the average taxpayers who foot the bill:


Adamson (D)
Cain (R)
Freeman (R)
Gooden (R)
Mansfield (D)
McQuillen (R)
Miller (R)
Moriarty-Adams (D)
Oliver (D)
Osili (D)
Pfisterer (R)
Sandlin (R)
Scales (R)
Shreve (R)
Simpson (D)


Barth (D)
Brown (D)
Evans (R)
Gray (D)
Hickman (D)
Holliday (R)
Lewis (D)
Lutz (R)
Mascari (D)
McHenry (R)
Robinson (D)
Talley (D)


Hunter (R)
Mahern (D)

UPDATE: I went back and checked on what the actual figure for the savings from the merger was supposed to be. At the time, proponents claimed the police merger would save $9 million annually. It became apparent the very first year that cost savings were wildly inflated. They had anticipated that former sheriff's department employees would stop participating in social security once they become IMPD employees but that never happened. They continued to participate in both social security and their government-funded pension, which meant the city had to continue paying their matching contribution to social security. Of course, the biggest hint that no real savings were achieved came when they told us we had to raise the county option income tax the following year by 65% for public safety.

The independent-thinking Councilor Christine Scales (R), who got booted out of her own caucus for daring to think like a Republican, shared these comments on Facebook today in response to the criticism by Acting Mayor Ryan Vaughn concerning the City-County Council's decision to only go along with extending the boundaries police special taxing district and not approving the elimination of the homestead property tax credit that Ballard is demanding the council eliminate.
Did Vaughn really have the audacity to claim that the Democrat's budget plan consists of "spending like there's no tomorrow?" The reason we're in this mess is because that is exactly what the Mayor has been doing since the day he came into office. The Mayor campaigned as a fiscal conservative, one who vowed to put 300 officers on the street without raising taxes. That was his number one stated priority. He has handed out tax dollars to already wealthy developers as incentives to build more of what the city already has. He failed to negotiate a better deal with the already wealthy Pacers owners to save the city a few million dollars. If only he had negotiated with our sports teams in as hardball a fashion as he has negotiated with police officers. They aren't coming around after a deal has already been agreed upon, asking for more. They only ask for the salaries they were promised in a contract, but he is forcing them to accept less. The slap in the face that stings the hardest, I'm sure for our first responders is that in the toughest of budget times, the Mayor can choose to spend scarce budget dollars on cricket over cops. Just curious, when Vaughn made his comment, did he say it with a straight face?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is ADM Headquarters In Indy's Future?

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland announced today that it is planning on relocating its global corporate headquarters from its current location in Decatur, Illinois to a new location with better access to its customers around the world. ADM acknowledges that it is already in discussions with unidentified officials and advisers about potential new locations but won't disclose at this time where it may be headed. The company plans to maintain most of its 4,400-employee workforce in Decatur. About 100 corporate officials will be relocated to the new headquarters. The company has 30,000 employees worldwide and ranks 27th on the Fortune 500 list. State and city officials have been devoting considerable resources to attracting companies in other states to move their corporate headquarters to Indiana so far with little success. ADM would be a great catch and a good fit for the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Landing a global company like ADM could also help our struggling airport land more regular flights to key cities currently missing from daily flight schedule. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is in talks with the company and city officials in Chicago to entice the company to relocate to Chicago rather than a location outside the state. Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims the company has agreed to consider offers from the city.

Now We Know Why Obama Administration Targeted Retired FBI Agent Who Worked On Biggest Terrorist Cases On Child Porn Charges

Leaked National Security Details About Underwear Bomber Case
It seemed rather odd when news broke last year that a highly-regarded FBI agent from Carmel who worked on some of the biggest terrorist cases before his retirement got busted by the feds for possessing and distributing child pornography. It turns out that Donald Sachtleban was also under investigation for leaking national security information to an AP reporter on the so-called underwear bomber attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight. Sachtleban has agreed to plead guilty to unlawfully disclosing national security information, in addition to the child pornography charges according to the Indianapolis Star.
Nine days before those charges were filed, on about May 1, 2012, prosecutors allege Sachtleben gave up national defense information to the Associated Press regarding the thwarting of an al-Qaida underwear bomb plot in April 2012, when a Yemen-based group planned to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner in the Arabian Peninsula.
The AP published the story about the failed plot on May 7, 2012. The White House confirmed the story after it was published, though according to media reports, the Obama administration requested that AP withhold the story until a press conference on May 8, 2012.
Charging documents allege Sachtleben knew that information would compromise national security.
“At the time of his unauthorized disclosure,” court documents say, “Sachtleben had reason to believe that his unauthorized disclosure of such national defense information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.”
Many First Amendment advocates were outraged when it was revealed earlier this year that the Obama Justice Department had ordered the seizure of phone records exchanged by reporters working for the AP. It turns out that Sachtleban's leak of that information is what triggered the extraordinary seizure of reporters' phone records by the Justice Department where they discovered Sachtleben's phone call exchange with a reporter.
In May of this year, it was revealed that the Justice Department seized phone records from AP reporters and editors — a surprising move that led to outcry from AP officials and First Amendment advocates.
The seized records were from AP offices across the Eastern seaboard during April and May 2012, the AP said. US Attorney General Eric Holder defended the seizures once they were publicized, saying the leak "put the American people at risk." Holder also recused himself from the investigation, saying he had talked to the FBI about a potential leak and didn’t want to represent a conflict of interest.
The charging documents reveal few details about some of the classified CIA intelligence reports Sachtleben was keeping, though the documents allege the report was dated Nov. 2, 2006. The information on that CD remains classified.
Sachtleban has agreed to a 12-year prison sentence deal. Only 46 months of the 12-year term is attributable to the national security charge; the balance of the time is for the child pornography charges.

UPDATE: The New York Times provides a great deal more information than the Star article. There really was no harm caused by Sachtleben's leak because, like virtually all other terrorist attacks, our own double agent was the one who was supposed to carry out the attack.
On May 7, 2012, The A.P. broke the news that the bomb plot had been disrupted, setting off further disclosures.
That evening, Richard A. Clarke, a former Clinton administration national security official who had been briefed on the case by John O. Brennan, then the top White House counterterrorism official and now the C.I.A. director, said the plot never came close to being carried out because it was under “insider control” by intelligence officials.
Soon, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other news organizations reported that the would-be suicide bomber in the operation had been a double agent . . .
The Justice Department said the phone records had proved crucial in identifying Mr. Sachtleben as a suspect. And, in a bizarre coincidence, investigators then discovered that other law enforcement officials had already seized his computer and other electronic materials as part of an unrelated child pornography investigation.
In other words, the only breach of national security was the FBI being outed for plotting and planning yet another terrorist attack. As to the child porn charges, there have been numerous government dissidents complaining about persons perhaps working for federal law enforcement sending them child porn via e-mail in an effort to entrap them in a crime.

Fort Wayne Plans To Provide Nearly $20 Million Subsidy To New Downtown Development

The message should go out across these United States of America. We have elected officials here in Indiana who have bags full of money to throw at you if you make your investments in their community. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced today that the city will provide nearly a $20 million subsidy to entice an existing local business, Ash Brokerage Corporation, to relocate its headquarters from West Jefferson Boulevard into a new $71 million mixed use development planned for the city's downtown. Ash Brokerage will invest $19.6 million into the project and relocate its existing 200 employees to the new downtown location, with plans to hire add another 115 jobs by 2017. Separately, Hanning & Bean Enterprises plans to invest $32 million into an adjacent development with a mix of apartments, townhouses and condominiums, along with a parking garage. The $51.6 million in private investment will be matched with a $19.5 million public investment by the city, which represents 27% of the investment.

Like Indianapolis, this area of downtown Fort Wayne at the corner of Harrison and Barry is located within a TIF district, which means that property taxes levied on this new development will be paid into the TIF district for the next 30 years in all likelihood, providing little in the way of new tax revenues to other taxing districts that are dependent on property taxes for their funding. The early reports indicate no ownership interest or return on investment the taxpayers of Fort Wayne can expect from their investment in this private development project. Earlier this year, the Fort Wayne city council approved a 35% increase in the local option income tax from l% to l.35%, part of which went to reduce the impact of the tax increase through the form of property tax relief and the balance of which is being used to pay for more spending on public safety, streets and parks. The city's budget is expected to grow 8% next year thanks to the tax increase from $136 million to $147 million.

More On Ballard's European Junket

Following the tragic news of Officer Rod Bradway's shooting death early Friday morning, Mayor Greg Ballard's office released a statement saying that he would be cutting short his trip to Germany and returning to Indianapolis. What the news media didn't report was that 100-person strong delegation accompanying the Mayor on that trip had not even left town to begin the leadership exchange in Germany until Saturday. "Our delegation has left Indy & arrived in Cologne, Germany," the Indy Chamber tweeted on Saturday at 11:14 a.m.

Mayor Ballard began tweeting about his European trip four days earlier on Tuesday, September 17. "Off to Europe to expand Indy business in big ways as part of the Indy Chamber delegation," Ballard tweeted on September 17. He was tweeting and posting pictures of his trip from Paris on Wednesday, September 18. Ballard tacked on a few days extra to the leadership exchange sponsored by the Indy Chamber in Germany by stopping off in Paris for a few days. Ballard's office indicated on Friday following the shooting death of Officer Bradway that he would be making arrangements to return to Indianapolis with further updates to come later. Has anyone seen our globe-trotting mayor back in town yet?

UPDATE: Fox59 News' Russ McQuaid reports on Ballard's first public appearance since returning from Europe, even if it took a few days to get home after he said he was cutting his trip short. He visited the memorial set up for fallen IMPD Officer Rod Bradway. McQuaid treats our globe-trotting mayor with kid gloves. Not sure what happened to the pit bull investigative reporter we used to know.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shocker: CBS News Report Says Navy Yard Shooter May Have Been Victim Of Mind Control

It's astonishing that a mainstream media outlet like CBS News would actually give credence to claims touted by Alex Jones' InfoWars that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis may have been the victim of mind control. It is no secret that military and intelligence agencies have worked on the development of mind control weapons for years that can be used to monitor a person's activities, manipulate their minds and harass them in a way described by Alexis in the days, weeks and months prior to his shooting rampage. The Navy knew Alexis had been complaining of being followed by several men and hearing voices in his head but still allowed him a secured clearance to work on computers at military installations.

Proponents Of Taxpayer-Funded Hotel In Evansville Claim Council Officials Are Making The City The Laughing Stock Of The Midwest By Demanding Due Diligence

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke has asked the city council to approve a plan whereby taxpayers will be asked to fund half of the $74 million cost of constructing a new hotel in downtown Evansville that Winnecke claims is essential for the future viability of the city's downtown. A number of council members have pushed back and demanded more information about the deal. In other words, they think the deal should be vetted before taxpayers are asked to finance half the costs because, God forbid, they do what former Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard foolishly did in standing before cameras to announce a deal with Litebox that we now know was too light on details. Ken Newcombe, Jr., the head of the local F.C. Tucker office, complains to the Evansville Courier & Press that council questioning is making the city the laughing stock of the Midwest.  “This is making Evansville the laughing stock of the Midwest,” he said. “Owensboro (Ky.) is laughing and saying, ‘God, I hope they don’t build it.’”

What's interesting is that the council asked Indianapolis' Crowe Horwath to perform a financial analysis of the business plan of HCW, the private developer of the proposed hotel, on behalf of the council but the firm turned their request down. Crowe Horwath, of course, is the firm that employs our CIB President, Ann Lathrop, who doesn't think it's appropriate to ask the Pacers to reveal their financial statements to establish that the NBA franchise is actually losing money as a precondition to the CIB continuing to hand out tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to the Pacers annually. HCW had already refused to produce tax returns or personal financial statements that council members requested. The gist of the story in the Courier & Press is that the council members demanding public accountability through a due diligence process are making the city look unattractive to potential business investors--at least those seeking huge public subsidies. Here are some excerpts from the lengthy story:
The main questions: How much scrutiny is enough? Would the perception that city officials make unreasonable demands turn off business leaders who may consider Evansville in the future? How about those who may be considering the city now, without city leaders even knowing?
“I know the general public says,’Ah, well, we need to know everything about everybody.’ Well, why? Why do you need to know about somebody’s personal tax returns? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t,” said Greg Wathen, president of the Southwestern Indiana Economic Development Coalition.
It was a reference to City Councilman John Friend's previous request, since dropped, to have executives of Missouri company HCW produce their income tax returns and personal financial statements. The proposed $74 million hotel project, of which $31.5 million would be public funding, is a public-private endeavor with HCW.
Friend also has said he wants to know more financial details of other HCW endeavors, such as the company’s signature Branson Landing project and a Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, Kan.
Friend has asked to see the debt structure and performance of those hotels, along with comparisons of their preconstruction and actual construction budgets.
Friend could not be reached for comment for this story, but he has called these requests critical to the vetting process.
Councilman Dan Adams, an ardent opponent of the Downtown convention hotel project, said Friday that HCW has refused to provide requested information or placed unreasonable restrictions on it, making meaningful vetting impossible.
But it is perception, not the back-and-forth over any particular deal, that can have long-term implications for economic development in the region . . .  
Adams recalled that City Council leaders earlier called for Indianapolis-based public accounting and consulting firm Crowe Horwath to evaluate HCW. When Crowe Horwath recently denied the council’s request to do that review, council leaders spoke of trying to find another firm. But Winnecke has said that issue did not come up during a meeting with council leaders on Wednesday. 
To hear Adams tell it, HCW’s intransigence has made it impossible for City Council to properly vet the company. 
“HCW wanted to see (any report produced by Crowe Horwath) first, that we’re paying for, and they wanted to be able to redact the report,” Adams said. “They wanted to change what was in the report. Sorry, we’re paying for the report.” 
HCW also “never gave us a business plan,” Adams charged.
Hey, if taxpayers are fronting 50% of the costs for a business from which they will have no ownership interest or share in any of the profits, is it too much to ask for the basic business plan and other financial information about the company before you invest that much of the public's money?

Another Reality TV Show Planned To Show What Being A Hoosier Hick Is All About

If the reality TV show "Porter Ridge" on the Discovery Channel centered around Spencer, Indiana junkyard owner Terry Porter wasn't enough to confirm every negative stereotype people have about Hoosiers being a bunch of backwoods hicks, it looks like another one may be in the works. The Anderson Herald-Bulletin reports that the producer of reality TV shows, including "The Biggest Loser" and "Master Chefs" is in discussions with a local casket maker about a new show.
Chris Boots, founder and president of C.J. Boots Casket Co., 516 Meridian St., said his business was approached to participate on a reality show and producers seem eager to start casting immediately. The casket company specializes in unique woodwork and custom, detailed coffins.
Boots said he was surprised by the solicitation and they have also already spoken to production members in a video conference call.
“Hopefully this is something positive for the community,” Boots said. “If it is along the flavor of ‘Duck Dynasty’ that’s not so bad.” . . .
An email from the casting company sent to Boots says the show will feature a casket maker whose only goal is to please the sensitive wishes of the customer and create a coffin “so broadly variant that the only limitation is the customer’s imagination.” It says that Americans are starting to “borrow” from British and African cultures and have fun in honoring the deceased with specialized caskets . . .
Anderson has been fairly popular recently with reality programs including Spike TV’s “Repo Games,” MTV’s “Teen Mom,” HBO’s documentary “Dirty Driving” and a local Gothic family on ABC’s “Wife Swap.”

Representing The Star Has Its Advantages

If you're the law firm that represents the Indianapolis Star, it apparently comes with the privilege of getting the newspaper to write glowing news stories and columns about your attorneys. After I recently posted a blog post about the firm's power broker, Bob Grand, celebrating over drinks with several Republican council members the ouster of Republican City-County Councilor Christine Scales from the Republican caucus, the Star's Russ Pulliam responded by penning a column titled, "The private, generous side of Bob Grand." Those who follow this blog regularly know that Grand has played a central role in the corrupting of state and local government the past decade. The Star never published a story on the highly unusual ouster of Scales from the caucus, only mentioning it in passing in an unrelated story about the council meeting that took place following the highly-divisive vote inside the Republican caucus. It certainly didn't mention that Grand celebrated Scales' ouster over drinks at a local bar with three male council members behind her ouster following the meeting.

Whether it's been the privatization of FSSA that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for the benefit of his client, ACS, for which he also engineered the corrupt parking meter lease deal in Indianapolis, the awarding of the corrupt exclusive real estate leasing agreement by the state to his client, John Bales, or the scheme he devised as Mayor Greg Ballard's CIB President to make it appear that the CIB was insolvent in order to gain passage of several tax increases and new subsidies by the state that have left the organization flush with cash (a surplus in excess of $70 million ) to hand out to his firm's billionaire sports team owner client, Herb Simon, Bob Grand has played a central role.

Today the Star has a story press release glorifying another Barnes & Thornburg attorney, Jason Barclay, who Grand placed as a high-level adviser in the administration of Mitch Daniels to aid the firm's clients. The story is titled, "Rising Star: Government experience helped Jason Barclay become a high-stakes litigator."

As a special counsel and policy director for Daniels, Barclay got to help the firm from the inside land the corrupt privatization deal that has made hundreds of millions of dollars for its client, ACS, and millions of dollars for his law firm defending the corrupt deal. Barclay got the task of defending with lead defense attorney Larry Mackey, the infamous Oklahoma City bombing prosecutor, John Bales in his public corruption trial in South Bend while working across the table from another former Barnes & Thornburg attorney who led the government's badly-failed prosecution of the case. Bales had the good fortune of not only having the law firm which had helped set up the corrupt exclusive state leasing agreement for him defending him, he had one of the senior advisers in Daniels' administration at the time the deal was hatched on his defense team. Several observers said the federal prosecutors could not have done a worse job in prosecuting Bales. The prosecutors didn't even call Paul Page, who pleaded guilty in the conspiracy at the heart of the prosecution, as a witness or the government whistle blowers who talked to the IBJ's Cory Schouten, the investigative reporter who blew the scandal wide open. Gee, I wonder why?

In the Star story, Barclay's boasts include working for David Gergen, a sleazy disinformation agent for the New World Order who worked for several former presidents to deal with scandals, including Nixon's Watergate, Ford's pardon of Nixon, Reagan and Bush's Iran-Contra and Bill Clinton's multiple scandals. Barclay says he was hired to work for Gergen directly out of college to help  him write his self-serving book, "Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership from Nixon to Clinton." He also boasts of working for former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who had just taken the reins of the FBI when 9/11 happened and Eric Holder in his earlier stint at the Justice Department, perhaps the most corrupt Attorney General in the history of the United States.

A story you will never read about in the Star, which is represented by Barnes & Thornburg, is the fact that Barclay's law firm employed as one of its top partners the man behind the infamous Huston Plan in the Nixon administration. The Huston Plan was authored by Tom Huston, a senior Nixon adviser and former CIA agent assigned to work at the White House by the Interagency Committee on Intelligence headed by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The Huston Plan advocated domestic burglaries, illegal electronic surveillance and U.S. mail tampering to target persons viewed as domestic enemies of the administration. Huston was a man ahead of his times, if you will. What was vilified by the media in Nixon's times is now deemed a necessity by today's useless government propagandists who now control the Operation Mockingbird media. You also won't read anything about the firm's initial, behind-the-scenes efforts at helping convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham when the acting U.S. Attorney inexplicably withdrew a civil forfeiture action the government had filed against his assets, forcing the defrauded investors of Fair Finance to seek the appointment of a bankruptcy trustee through an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding to attempt to recover their stolen assets.

Like Gergen, it always helps when you have reporters like Jill Phillips at the Star writing press releases for you under the cover of being a legitimate reporter. Since Barclay learned the corrupt Washington ways from Gergen, who I think epitomizes everything wrong with government in Washington today and the way our news media has become nothing more than a propaganda arm of the ruling elites, I'm sharing with you two contrasting videos. In the first, Vanderbilt trust fund baby and fake CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper as he gives a hand job to Gergen while he's supposed to be conducting a serious discussion. In the second, you see a real investigative reporter, Alex Jones, confront Gergen about his participation in annual events hosted by the exclusive Bohemian Grove, where the corrupt New World Order leaders gather to wander the forest buck naked, hire gay porn actors to serve as their personal valets and worship at the altar of a large, sculpted owl during bizarre sacrificial rituals. It pretty much summarizes the reality of American journalism today where you get nothing but propaganda from the mainstream media and must turn to alternative media to learn the truth about anything happening in this country.

Friday, September 20, 2013

IMPD Officer Shot And Killed While Responding To Domestic Disturbance On City's Northwest Side

Officer Rod BradwayA 41-year old IMPD officer tragically lost his life early this morning while responding to a domestic disturbance on the city's northwest side. Police tell WRTV that Officer Rod Bradway, a five-year veteran of the police department, died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest after he forcefully entered an apartment at the Eaglepointe Pointe Apartments to assist a woman he heard screaming for help inside the apartment. According to police, the suspected shooter was also shot and killed during the confrontation. "He did what we were taught to do," IMPD Chief Rick Hite said. Public Safety Director Rick Hite called Bradway's killing "an attack against what is right in our city." Mayor Greg Ballard, who is out of the country on his ninth overseas junket to Cologne, Germany, was not immediately available for comment.
While Mayor Ballard may be out of the country during this tragedy, it hasn't stopped him from using his hacks to exploit the tragic shooting to make the case for Mayor Ballard's call for higher taxes to boost IMPD's budget. Ballard's paid media hack, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, who is substituting this week for WIBC's morning radio show host Steve Simpson, immediately pounced on the shooting to push the Mayor's call for hiring more police officers, blaming Officer Bradway's shooting on a police understaffing problem despite there not being once scintilla of evidence that IMPD's staffing had anything to do with this senseless killing. Taking a swipe at those who oppose Ballard's budget priorities, Shabazz suggested the shooting might motivate Ballard's detractors to sit down and start "a grown-up conversation." Shabazz continued the meme during a call-in interview with Councilor Ben Hunter, who said he was called by the city and notified of the officer's shooting death early this morning. Hunter echoed Shabazz' comments about IMPD being understaffed.

This is the last thing we should be discussing during this tragic moment, but since the mayor's hacks have opened up that discussion, let's have an honest discussion about the real reason IMPD is understaffed if that's where we want to lay the blame for Officer Bradway's shooting death. In 2007, former Mayor Bart Peterson and the Indianapolis City-County Council enacted a 65% increase in the county option income tax, a so-called public safety tax to fund IMPD at the appropriate levels, which then-mayoral candidate Greg Ballard opposed. Despite being promised at least 100 more police officers with the more than $90 million annually raised from that tax increase, there are fewer police officers today than there were when Mayor Ballard took office in 2008. Why? Because Mayor Ballard's priority one has not been public safety as he promised. Ballard has chosen his true priorities by diverting hundreds of millions of your tax dollars to finance crony capitalism for pay-to-play club members who bankroll his campaign committee like those who are now partying with him at the Rhineland Oktoberfest in Cologne. Somebody has to pay for all the private development projects he has been funding through generous tax abatements and the continuation and expansion of the TIF slush funds, which now consume 15% of the city's property tax base, not to mention the additional subsidies for the billionaire sports team owners. It is insulting and beyond reproach for these cold and calculating individuals to exploit this tragedy by blaming Indianapolis taxpayers for paying too little in taxes as the cause of Officer Bradway's death.

UPDATE: Apparently Mayor Ballard figured out that he had a real political problem on his hand being out-of-the country on yet another junket during this tragic event. His office just put out a statement saying that he has canceled the remainder of his overseas junket to Germany and is returning to the city:
“The City of Indianapolis lost a decorated hero, husband and father today.  Officer Rod Bradway gave his life protecting the people of our community by charging ahead to confront the unknown.  I ask the citizens of Indianapolis to join me in keeping Officer Bradway’s family, friends and brothers and sisters in IMPD in their thoughts a prayers.”
Due to the tragic events of this morning, Mayor Ballard will not participate in the Indy Chamber Leadership Exchange in Cologne, Germany.  He is currently making arrangements to return to Indianapolis. Details will be provided at a later time.
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz also sent his regards in an e-mail: "Nice to know you listen!" Well, it's nice to know you're still my most avid reader after all these years, Abdul.

WTHR has identified the suspect who was shot and killed during the shooting as well as 24-year old Steven Byrdo, who is believed to have been the boyfriend of the woman who lived in the apartment. Twitter comments from various reporters claim Byrdo had prior arrests for dealing marijuana.

UPDATE II: More details are emerging. The Star reports that Byrdo had held the woman at gunpoint inside the apartment for nearly three hours before Officer Bradway stormed into the apartment and shots were exchanged. An officer who accompanied Bradway shot and killed Byrdo.
. . . The man who shot and killed Bradway was hiding behind a door the officer kicked in when responding to the woman’s screams for help, police said.
Bradway had been talking to the suspect for several minutes, homicide Detective Thomas Lehn said. When Bradway charged in, the woman, who had been held at gunpoint for three hours, screamed to warn the officer that the suspect was behind the door.
"When the officer ran through the door, (the suspect) reached out, pointed the gun and shot him in the side," Lehn said.
In the chaos Bradway had little time to react, Lehn said.
Lehn said a second officer rushed in and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, fatally shooting him.
"There are bullet holes everywhere,” Lehn said.
Lehn said at least 15 shots were fired, six by the suspect.
Earlier in the morning the woman had run out onto the balcony before the suspect fired a shot and yanked her back in, Lehn said . . .
The Star is also reporting that Byrdo had been released from prison in June after being sentenced for convicted dealing cocaine in January. He was also sentenced for similar crimes in July, 2011.   Byrdo had other previous arrests, including public intoxication, disorderly conduct, dealing and possession of marijuana, and carrying a handgun without a license.

The infamous Star columnist from Cleveland wants you to know that Officer Bradway's death was caused because you're not paying enough in taxes to properly staff IMPD. The hell with the facts which prove unequivocally that having 300, 400 or 500 more police officers would not have prevented this senseless shooting. She wasn't around when your income taxes were hiked 65% a few years ago to fund public safety, and she isn't about to perform any due diligence to understand what happened with all of those new tax dollars that finds us with fewer police officers than before that gigantic tax increase. These commenter in response to her column on the Star's website hit the nail on the head:
The loss of this hero has nothing to do with politics, budgets, etc. Ask any officer and they will tell you that a domestic is the worst call to go on because you never know what you will encounter. You can't go in guns drawn like a robbery in progress or shots fired and events with a domestic can escalate quickly. Also, please don't turn this into a gun possession either. Criminals will get guns as shown by this individual regardless of the laws. This is about a hero, a father, a husband that gave his life doing his job and they deserve our respect every day and has nothing to do with anything other than good people and bad people.  
Leonard Strickland
If the columnist had read the story and knew exactly what happened, she'd know that politics and budgets had absolutely nothing to do with this. Instead of retreating or waiting around for additional resources to show up, this brave officer knew time was of the essence and did what he did, knowing what was on the other side of the door. The City-County Council could have approved the request to hire 80 officers or 8,000 officers, nothing would have changed the outcome of this horrific situation. There's nothing wrong with debating or writing about the police budget or politics, but to parlay this tragedy while the body is still warm is truly sickening in every sense of the word.
Axl E. David 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Renn Has More On Daniels' Ohio River Bridge Boondoggle: $1.3 Billion Flushed Down The Drain

The Urbanophile's Aaron Renn has done all of the heavy lifting in providing a critical analysis of the construction of two new bridges over the Ohio River at Louisville at the cost of $2.6 billion that the paid media in this state is either too lazy or too incompetent to perform. In previous discussions, Renn has discussed at length the one-sided agreements former Gov. Mitch Daniels forged with Kentucky's governor to construct the bridges that overwhelmingly favor Kentucky residents at the cost of Indiana residents, in addition to the fact that tolls that will be paid to use the bridges will fall primarily on regional Indiana residents commuting daily to Louisville since few Kentuckians travel the other direction daily. In his latest analysis, Renn comes to the conclusion that the replacement of the I-65 Kennedy Bridge was totally unnecessary because traffic will never be as high for the new bridge as it is for the widened, six-lane bridge that is being constructed, although he agrees with the necessity of building the new east end bridge.
Traffic on the downtown bridge will never again reach what is currently being carried on the existing Kennedy Bridge.
Not only will this massive new twin bridge never carry what just the old bridge does today, it doesn’t even exceed the design capacity until 2040 and never exceeds it by more than a modest amount, which is actually common on roads that function well and need no improvement.
In short, no new downtown bridge needed to be built at all. So Indiana and Kentucky are flushing $1.3 billion down the drain.
As Renn notes, it gets worse. Despite the tolls that will be collected when the bridges open, bi-state agreement calls for an investment of $1.5 billion from existing tax dollars, about half of which is being paid by the state of Indiana. Renn observes that last year state officials claimed that Indiana's share would be $432 million from traditional funds. That figure has now grown to $723 million, an increase of almost $300 million. Gov. Daniels boasted that a new design plan saved Indiana taxpayers $225 million, all of which has been wiped out by these revised cost estimates.

Here's the problem. Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves program was sound in principle, but the political cronyism that overtook the program once it was launched substantially eroded its value to Hoosiers. Decisions were time and time again made on what was best for the pay-to-play contractors who dumped millions of dollars into Daniels' campaign coffers rather than what was in the best interest of the state. Two new bridges had to be built at Louisville because that's what the contractors were demanding. At the end of the day, Daniels conducted the state's business the way Keith Bulen taught him. Rhetoric aside, Daniels practiced crony capitalism to a fault, a price several generations of future Hoosiers will be paying.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ducey Brothers And Others Use Subsidized Biofuel Industry As A Scheme To Defraud Taxpayers and Investors

How many times does this have to repeat itself before the government gets out of the business of picking winners and losers by funneling billions of our tax dollars into energy-related businesses for the sake of promoting green energy? U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced charges today against three brothers and a handful of other charlatans who allegedly used the cover of operating a biodiesel plant that was supposed to be making diesel fuel from animal fat and vegetable oils to defraud the government and investors. Three brothers, Chad, Chris and Craig Ducey, along with Brian Carmichael used E-Biofuels in Middletown, Indiana as a front company to defraud taxpayers and investors out of more than $100 million through a series of criminal acts, including wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, securities fraud and making false statement under the federal Clean Air Act. Hogsett claims the case against those charged represents the largest tax and securities fraud claim in Indiana history.

What enticed the accused into committing their crimes, 88 charges in total, is a federally-funded program under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which provides valuable tax credits to persons who manufacture pure biodiesel to blend with petroleum diesel. The Ducey brothers and Carmichael are accused of conspiring with a New Jersey couple, Joseph Furando and Evelyn Katirina Pattison, who would purchase biodiesel fuel from third parties and then fraudulently resell it as pure biodiesel with the available tax credit. Although E-Biofuels had a refinery in Henry County where it could produce its own biodiesel fuel, it produced no fuel. Instead, it operated as a pass-through facility for fuel purchased elsewhere.

The government claims E-Biofuels delivered mislabeled fuel to customers in one of three ways. In some cases, it transported the fuel from fuel terminals to its facility in Middletown where it was unloaded into a holding tank. It would then be reloaded into tanker trucks and delivered to unsuspecting customers with paperwork that fraudulently identified it as pure biodiesel fuel. In other cases, it simply flipped a load by picking up the paperwork at the facility without unloading it and delivering it as pure biodiesel fuel. In the most egregious circumstance, it delivered so-called phantom loads directly to customers from fuel terminals to customers. The customers were paying an inflated price for fuel they believed was pure biodiesel fuel.

According to the government, the principals of E-Biofuels sold their company to Evansville-based Imperial Petroleum in 2010, which knowingly perpetuated the fraud. Imperial Petroleum's president, Jeffrey Wilson, was included in today's indictments. The principals are accused of hiding from investors, outside auditors and shareholders the fact that they were purchasing biodiesel fuel from third parties rather than producing their own from animal fat and other feedstocks as they were representing. The principals pocketed $35 million in tax credits before the company filed for bankruptcy in April, 2012. The six face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of the charges. Carmichael has agreed to plead guilty to one charge in exchange for his cooperation in order to receive a sentence of up to five years in prison. Prosecutors claim the charged individuals paid themselves large salaries, took lavish gambling trips to Las Vegas, and purchased expensive artwork, jewelry and automobiles.

According to campaign finance records, Craig Ducey, a Fishers resident, contributed over $25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee when he first prepared to launch E-Biofuels in 2007. His brother Chad, also a Fishers resident, contributed over $700 to the campaign committee of former Gov. Mitch Daniels. Chad and Craig also co-founded 8CD, LLC, a business that breeds bulls for use in rodeo bull riding competitions. The photo below from the company's website shows Chad and Craig with their families and business partner, Jim Carrigan. Chad Ducey also is part of the leadership team of a local beer brewery, Scarlett Lane Brewing Company, in Fishers with several others, including his wife, Monica.
Group Photo

Ballard Administration Lying About State Transportation Funding Windfall To Tout $135 Million In New Borrowing

Mayor Greg Ballard has been pressuring the Indianapolis City-County Council to give the city authority to borrow $135 million by floating a new bond issue to help fund $350 million in new spending for streets, sidewalks, trails and bridges--new projects being pushed by the pay-to-play contractors who contribute heavily to his campaign committee and lavish gifts on him and family. Ballard has been touting a supposed "windfall" from new transportation dollars that will be coming from the state to help pay debt service on the $135 million bond issue. He claims a new funding formula will send at least $7 million more a year to the city from gas tax revenues, which seemed a bit incredulous given recent reports about how the state was running out of funding for new transportation projects for its own budget given the depletion of Major Moves funds. More importantly, it seemed dubious to expect any additional state funding to remain permanently in place to pay off a 30-year bond issue.

The Indianapolis media, in particular the Indianapolis Star Scar, immediately jumped on the bandwagon and began editorializing in favor of Ballard's borrow and spend approach without conducting any due diligence concerning his plan. Fellow blogger Pat Andrews has obtained data from the state Auditor's Office which calls into question Ballard's claims of a windfall, which indicate that projected revenue sharing with Indianapolis next year is a much smaller figure than Ballard claims it will be, meaning added debt service will cut into the current operating budget of the Department of Public Works:
I received the real gas tax revenue numbers from the State Auditor's office.  The estimated 2013 distribution of the "Motor Vehicle Highway" revenue to the City of Indianapolis and the County of Marion is $20.25 million.  The estimated 2014 distribution is $23.75 million.  That is a difference of $3.5 million.  Less than half of the $7.8 million the Mayor, Bond Bank Director/Deputy Mayor Deron Kintner, and DPW Director Lori Miser have been touting as the windfall that will pay for the bond.
As I noted earlier, the Proposal actually called for annual payments of $9 million on the bond.  So, given that the real gas tax revenue increase is a paltry (by comparison) $3.5 million - they had plans to tap $5.5 million every year for 30 years of money that is usually needed for other things in DPW.  That's not only taking the next generation's increased gas tax, its also trading existing services that by rights should remain in place for the next 3 decades.
There still remains the $240 million of revenue that is already earmarked for road and sidewalk repair over the next 3 years - and that is no small amount of money.
So we have a mayor who is deliberately inflating the state windfall as an excuse for borrowing $135 million when there is already $240 million in new spending planned over the next three years on transportation-related funding without going further into debt. As Andrews notes, Ballard is simply robbing money from future administrations and generations of taxpayers to enrich his fat cat political contributors. By resorting to long-term borrowing instead of paying as you go, city taxpayers will spend an additional $75 $120 million to pay the professional fees and interest associated with issuing bonds.

Former Durham Business Partners Agree To Repay Fair Finance Trustee $400,000

Several prominent businessmen who were once partners with convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham have agreed to repay $400,000 to the Fair Finance Trustee from funds they were paid by Durham's Obsidian Enterprises shortly before the colossal failure of the parent company's subsidiary, Fair Finance, that resulted in the loss of more than $200 million invested by small investors in rural Ohio. According to court filings made by the company's bankruptcy trustee, Brian Williams, Fred Klipsch, Robert Kaspar, Michael Miles and their business partnerships, 77th Street Partners, G&S Venture Partners and Oberoi Partners, LP have collectively agreed to the payment of the $400,000 from the $580,000 in payouts Durham made to them in the 2008-09 period shortly before the collapse of Fair Finance to settle legal disputes with them.

According to the court filing, Obsidian Capital Partners, LP ("OCP") was the majority owner of Obsidian Enterprises. Brian Williams owned an ownership interest in OCP as the general partner.  G&S Venture Partners, 77th Street Partners, Fred Klipsch, Robert Kaspar, Michael Miles and Oberoi Partners owned limited partnerships in OCP. Durham bought out their respective interests in the parent company to resolve ongoing litigation initiated against him by his business partners. The parties each agreed to repay the following sums to the trustee:
  • 77th Street Partners ($62,169.53);
  • Brian Williams ($41,589.38);
  • Fred Klipsch ($42,681.05);
  • G&S Venture Partners ($83,137.93);
  • Oberoi Partners LP ($60,324.24);
  • Robert Kaspar ($56,611.73); and
  • Michael Miles ($53,486.13).
The trustee contended that their interests in the company, which we now know was nothing more than your garden variety Ponzi scheme, had no value at the time of the transfer of money, and that they did not act in good faith with regard to the transfers. It would have been nice if they had become whistle blowers in the interest of protecting those who were defrauded of their life savings rather than using the leverage of litigation as a means of extracting money from Durham. The bankruptcy trustee has still managed to collect only pennies on the dollar of the amount lost by investors, most of which will be paid out to cover the trustee's fees and expenses.

Navy Warned By Rhode Island Police About Navy Yard Shooters' Mental Problems

I suppose if it was all part of a plan to have Navy veteran Aaron Alexis go on a shooting rampage in a gun-free zone like Navy Yard where he was issued a secured clearance to be employed as a Navy contractor working on computers you wouldn't care about warnings you received that he was suffering from serious mental health problems. Reuters reports on the concerns raised to Navy officials by Rhode Island police while he was working there for his government contractor employer:
Police in Newport, Rhode Island, were so concerned about Alexis' behavior on a business trip there in August that they alerted Navy police.
Alexis told police he believed people were following him and "sending vibrations into his body," according to a Newport police report.
He told police that he had twice moved hotels to avoid the noise he heard coming through the floor and the ceiling of his rooms, and that the people following him were using "some sort of microwave machine" to prevent him from sleeping.
"Based on the naval base implications and the claim that the involved subject, one (Aaron Alexis) was 'hearing voices,' I made contact with the on-duty Naval Station police," a Newport police officer wrote, adding that he faxed his report of the incident to Navy police.
The Newport police report said Navy police had promised to check if Alexis was in fact a naval base contractor.
Asked for comment, a spokesman said the Navy was looking into the matter, without confirming any details.
In addition, CNN reported that Alexis had contacted two Veterans Administration hospitals recently and was believed to be seeking psychological help.
"Initial reports indicate that this is an individual who may have had some mental health problems," U.S. President Barack Obama told Spanish-language network Telemundo.
"The fact that we do not have a firm enough background check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings."
The symptoms complained of by Alexis are consistent with someone subject to mind control. The CIA for decades victimized innocent people by conducting mind control experiments on them under its controversial MK-Ultra program, a controversial program it conceived using psychotic drugs in order to get unwitting persons to carry out assassinations and other dastardly acts without their voluntary assent. The VA treats those suffering from mental illness with psychiatric drugs. If you haven't noticed, virtually every mass shooter in recent years in the United States was carried out by someone being prescribed psychiatric drugs. Wake up, America.

Council Committee Passes Property Tax Increase That Will Cut Township School Collections By $4.1 Million

Without the support he received in the townships outside of Center Township, Mayor Greg Ballard would have lost his narrow electoral victories in the 2007 and 2011 municipal elections. Nonetheless, he continues to push for higher property taxes despite using that very issue to topple the incumbent mayor in 2007 and promising to keep taxes low. The Administration & Finance Committee advanced his proposal to extend the IMPD tax levy to areas outside the old city limits, a move that will both increase property taxes paid by residents and reduce property taxes collected by the township school districts by $4.1 million due to the impact the new tax levy will have on property owners who bump up against the property tax cap law. Two Democrats voted with the three Republican council members on the committee (Ben Hunter, Marilyn Pfisterer and Jack Sandlin), including Councilors Angela Mansfield and Mary Moriarty Adams. At the same time, Ballard's Capital Improvement Board is planning to spend 40% more next year on its budget, has a more than $70 million budget surplus and plans to give billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers another $21 million on top of the $43.5 million it has already given this greedy and selfish man. It's just another example of how your elected officials in this city are only interested in taking care of the people stuffing campaign money and free tickets to sporting events in their pockets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Media Lied: Navy Yard Shooter Had No AR-15 Rifle

Virtually every mainstream news report following yesterday's report of the deadly shooting at Washington's Navy Yard claimed the 34-year old ex-Naval reserve petty officer, Aaron Alexis, was armed with an AR-15 assault rife. Even witnesses who were interviewed by cable news networks described the pop . . . pop . . . pop . . . . pop sound of the assault rifle he was firing. It now turns out that Alexis had no such rife. He had a shotgun and perhaps a couple of handguns. He had attempted to purchase an AR-15 at a northern Virginia gun shop but was turned down according to CNN. Law enforcement officials supposedly confused what the gunman used with the guns carried by military personnel who responded to the shooting. The Washington Post' Erik Wemple found at least 270 news articles published on the Internet claiming that Alexis used an AR-15 relying upon law enforcement sources.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Navy Veteran Fingered In Deadly Navy Yard Shooting That Left 13 Dead

A 34-year old veteran Navy reserve petty officer, Aaron Alexis, has been identified as the person responsible for the deadly shooting today at Navy Yard in southeast Washington, D.C. that left 13 persons dead, including the alleged shooter, and 14 others injured. Alexis was allegedly armed with an assault rifle and a handgun when he gained access to a cafeteria at the highly-guarded naval facility where only patrol officers are allowed to be armed. A second suspect described as a black man in his 40s with gray sideburns, wearing an olive-drab military-style uniform is being sought for questioning. A third potential suspect in the shooting has been cleared. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. police told reporters that the shooter's motives were unknown, although they didn't consider it to be an act of terrorism.

Gunman: Accprding to NBC Washington, this man Aaron Alexis, 34, from Fort Worth, Texas is the Navy Yard shooterAlexis spent four years in the Navy as a full-time reservist from 2007 until he was discharged in 2011. According to the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth resident worked at the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron in Fort Worth, which is located at the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth. "He was a petty officer, 3rd class," the Morning News reported. "He worked on the various electrical engineering systems of aviation equipment. He had no overseas or combat duty." The report says Alexis had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

A former roommate of Alexis until a few months ago told the Morning News that he was not a violent person, although he owned a handgun and "can be tough." Oui Suthamtewakul said that he met Alexis at a Buddhist temple and had lived with him for three years in several different locations. "We became best friends," he said. "He's like my big brother." Suthamtewakul said that Alexis, who was learning to speak the Thai language, had helped out at a Thai restaurant he owned, Happy Bowl, and had traveled to Thailand on at least one occasion by himself.

Alexis was arrested in 2010 after he fired a gun into his apartment floor through the ceiling of his neighbor's apartment below. Although the neighbor believed he fired the shot into her apartment in anger, authorities later dropped charges against him. He told police the gun accidentally discharged when he was cleaning it. That arrest, however, may have been the reason for his discharge from the Navy in 2011. The Daily Mail says the 2010 shooting incident wasn't his first. He also reportedly shot the tires of someone's car in an anger-fueled rage in Seattle several years earlier. Alexis' past raises serious questions about how officials allowed a secured clearance for him to work at Navy Yard. Apparently all that NSA surveillance failed again just like it failed to set off any alarm bells with the accused Boston Marathon bombers.

Reuters is reporting that Alexis recently started working for The Experts, an IT subcontracting firm of Hewlett-Packard where he was required to have a security clearance to work. This may explain how he gained access to a highly-secured military installation, although it doesn't explain how he was able to gain access to the facility with guns. According to The Experts' website, the company was founded in 1998 in South Florida as an IT consulting firm. The company has since expanded globally, providing IT, consulting, engineering, telecom and business process solutions to diverse customers, including defense companies and agencies of the government at the federal, state and local level. According to HP, the subcontractor had responsibility "to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network."  It has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout the United States, including such faraway places as Jordon, Macedonia, Russia, China and Singapore.

The Experts CEO formerly worked at the Pentagon where he would have required one of the highest security levels issued. According to The Expert's website, CEO Thomas Hoshko formerly worked at the Pentagon where he was responsible for directing operation of the Special Intelligence Communications Center for the Chief of Naval Operations, Director of Naval Intelligence and Joint Chiefs of Staff, including securing communications, satcom and cryptography  for the DOD, NSA, White House and intel agencies. Hoshko confirmed to Reuters that Alexis had received a military-issued ID card to enter Navy Yards after receiving a secured clearance. “He did have a secret clearance. And he did have a CAC (common access card),” Hoshko said. “We had just recently re-hired him. Another background investigation was re-run and cleared through the defense security service in July 2013,” Hoshko said. Hoshko said Alexis’ “secret” security clearance dated back to 2007 after the shooting incident in Seattle.

Interestingly, I've also discovered that Hoshko is identified as the President and co-founder of PlanIT Group, LLC, a company whose CEO is Thomas Cardwell. Cardwell worked for Science Applications International Corp. ("SAIC") after retiring from the U.S. Air Force Officer as a colonel on the Joint Staff, Air Staff and Major Command. According to the company's website, Cardwell managed numerous Command and Control programs for the USAF, Royal Saudi Air Force, Pakistan Army, and Jordanian Special Operations Command (Jordanian Armed Forces) while employed at SAIC as a Vice President over a 19-year period until he retired in 2012. Plan IT's website identifies as its customers and clients the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Naval Air System Command, Northrop Grumman, HP and Bosh Global Services.

Buzzfeed has already been dispatched to put down any potential conspiracy theories surrounding today's shooting. This is the warning to the mainstream media not to conduct any investigative reporting on the shooting and to only report what is spoon fed to them by government propagandists. InfoWars' Alex Jones is already questioning whether it's yet another false flag attack. California Sen. Diane Feinstein, the biggest advocate for stripping Americans of their Second Amendment rights wasn't about to let a good crisis go to waste.  “This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time," Feinstein. She has introduced legislation that would allow doctors and psychiatrists to report confidential information about their patient's mental state to the government, which could use such information to seize any guns owned by any patients treated for mental disorders. In particular, there seems to be an effort on the part of some in Washington to disarm as many military veterans in this country as possible, many of whom will automatically be deemed mentally unstable by doctors who treated them while they were in the military, including any suffering from PTSD, a condition from which many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars suffer.

UPDATE: Geez, this is getting too predictable. The AP is reporting that Alexis was treated for serious mental illness--he was hearing voices. The MSM will tell the people horrible mistakes were made in giving this guy a security clearance to work on a key military installation but there's no conspiracy here. It's just another example of why we need to pass additional laws to make it difficult for any ex-veterans to possess firearms. Notice that John Doe #2 quickly disappears from the narrative just like the OKC bombing. Of course he acted alone. Right?

More crisis acting?