Friday, April 25, 2014

What's Up With The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee?

UPDATED: See latest below.
A curious news story headlined a news broadcast on WRTV yesterday evening before disappearing into oblivion nowhere to be found on its website or any other local news organization's website. According to the report, Matt Hendrix, the former executive director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, was being charged with the embezzlement of more than $90,000 from the organization.

Although GIPC operates exclusively for the benefit of the downtown mafia, it gets its funding from Indianapolis taxpayers and has offices on the 19th floor of the City-County Building. Its annual budget is over $330,000 a year, about a third of which is used to pay salaries. The WRTV report claimed that Hendrix had been given a $17,000 severance payment despite being forced out over accusations of embezzlement.

WRTV reported that a search warrant had been served on the Lebanon home of Hendrix' girlfriend, who was said to be a suspect in a scheme to defraud GIPC by funneling payments to a health care company that she and Hendrix had set up and to which payments had been made. It seems rather curious that a report involving the misappropriation of public tax dollars would disappear as quickly as it was reported live on air last night.

GIPC, by the way, is the organization that has spearheaded the effort to build a new criminal justice center outside the downtown area in an effort to move the undesirables out of sight and out of mind and to free up valuable property downtown for redevelopment by members of the downtown mafia for their own benefit. Mayor Greg Ballard, acting on their wishes, had the City to request proposals from private vendors to build, operate and maintain a new criminal justice center outside the downtown, a plan that will cost taxpayers at least $2 billion over the next 30 to 35 years. The City's consultant picked a site near the Indianapolis International Airport Authority for a new criminal justice center until serious push back from other stakeholders ensued. The latest plan would site it at the former GM stamping plant on West Washington Street across from the zoo.

It is my belief that the public safety tax increase being pushed by the downtown mafia this year supposedly for the purpose of hiring 500 new police officers is nothing more than a ruse to raise additional revenue that will be needed to pay for the nearly $60 million a year in annual expenses that will be incurred to pay rent and other expenses related to the new criminal justice center to the private developer, which at this point is most likely to be a consortium of companies headed up by a foreign company. The tax increase proposed by the IMPD Staffing Commission, which is nothing but a front for the downtown mafia, likely won't even provide enough money to add 100 additional police officers to IMPD's current 1,500 plus sworn officers, let alone 500. Public safety tax increases have been the modus operandi for the downtown mafia when it wants to sell the public on a tax increase that it has already decided will be spent elsewhere as we painfully learned from that 65% increase in the local income tax rate in 2007 for pubic safety that wound up not being used to hire a single new police officer.

On a side note, GIPC's chairman, J. Murray Clark, Jr., a lobbyist and partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, lobbied the Public Safety Committee of the Indianapolis City-County Council for passage of an ordinance drafted by another attorney at his law firm for the benefit of his client, Kidde, which is one of the largest manufacturers of smoke detectors. Advance Indiana reported Kidde's role in drafting the ordinance more than two months ago, a fact conveniently ignored prior to yesterday's hearing by the local news media. Under the ordinance sponsored by the committee's chairman, Mary Moriarty-Adams and Ben Hunter, whose employer, Butler University, recently got a gift of smoke detectors made by Kidde, homeowners and landlords will be required to install smoke detectors with a 10-year, non-removable, non-replaceable battery. Yeah, that just happens to meet the specifications of a smoke detector manufactured by Clark's client.

The committee passed the proposal on a 9-1 vote. Only City-County Councilor Christine Scales, the only honest member of the committee who bothered to study the issue and pointed up obvious flaws in the proposal that will in absolutely no way save lives despite the propaganda of its proponents, voted against it. IFD Chief Brian Sanford testified in favor of the proposal. His department was also the recipient of a recent gift of smoke detectors from Kidde. It's sickening to watch our City-County Council in action any more. It's just that thoroughly corrupt.

UPDATE: WRTV has now put its story that originally aired online yesterday evening on its website. Here's what it reported:
Indianapolis police are investigating the former director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee for allegedly embezzling between $90,000 and $100,000 over a three-year period.
Matthew Hendrix was fired by GIPC on March 5.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department served search warrants at Hendrix’s Lebanon home and at the home of his former girlfriend, Jennifer Armstrong.
Investigators believe Hendrix and Armstrong funneled money from GIPC into a bogus home health care company.
Police also said Hendrix was caught paying for a $5,000 cruise with his company credit card. At the time, Hendrix told his superiors it was accidental.
Investigators said Hendrix received a $17,000 severance check when he was fired by GIPC.
The IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin pried a little information out of GIPC's chairman on Hendrix' abrupt departure, who says less than what WRTV reported yesterday evening. He says a request has been made for a criminal investigation but no charges had been filed. He declined to divulge the nature of the charges to McLaughlin:
The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee has asked local law enforcement to look into financial transactions involving its former executive director.
GIPC Chairman Murray Clark confirmed Friday morning that the organization, a private not-for-profit advisory group that works closely with city officials and has an office in the City-County Building, asked for an investigation after the March departure of former Executive Director Matt Hendrix.
“After he left, we discovered some things that impacted GIPC and asked the police to investigate it,” said Clark, a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels.
Hendrix has not been charged with a crime, and Clark declined to provide details of the problem that GIPC uncovered. It was not immediately clear which law enforcement agency, if any, was investigating the matter.
Hendrix did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday morning . . .                               
Clark said GIPC remains solvent.
“If there is a financial loss to GIPC, I know it will be unfortunate, but it will not have a meaningful impact on the entity,” he said . . .                               
Clark declined to discuss the reason Hendrix left GIPC in early March.
“We came to a parting of the ways,” he said.
Clark said at the time, GIPC’s board of directors didn’t have the information that later led it to contact police.


local landlord said...

As a taxpayer I’m appalled that Max Hendrix is a thief charged with embezzlement of $90,000 of taxpayer monies, and shocked that Greater Indianapolis Progress Cmte would still pay him a $17,000 severance. This is so representative of the wretched cesspool that swirls around plans for this new Justice Center. I’m a paying customer of the Small Claims Courts as a landlord with regular eviction filings. So I feel entitled to weigh in on the various proposals Ballard snatches out of the clouds as solutions to the current Court and Jail locations. I thought the airport property was a terrible choice because its really far away. And while the GM stamping plant has a great location, as a taxpayer I’m really concerned about the cost of redeveloping that property. And I hate the idea of doing what we did with the parking meters and giving the whole project ownership to an outside company that charges us rent. I don’t think it makes long term sense. But then I don’t take lightly our steady rape by the downtown mafia. Before I took up the issue of a new Justice Center, I’d give the Fieldhouse to Indiana University, tell the Simons to move the Pacers somewhere else, dissolve the CIB, declare every TIF unconstitutional, and reallocate all that money to a professionally responsible public safety director with oversight of police, courts and facilities. And I wouldn’t let Carey Lykins or Barnes and Thornburg or Carl Brizzi or the Land Bank fraudsters anywhere near it.

patriot paul said...

You'll find his name under the 'Government' section as 'the best and brightest'.

Anonymous said...

Let us keep in mind these are allegations, there is a reason an arrest hasn't been made.

Gary R. Welsh said...

True enough, anon, but there are a number of thieves who are never charged for political reasons. Take for example a former secretary hired by the former Marion County GOP Chairman for skills short of actual work skills who stole a bunch money from the party. She was never charged. It was totally covered up because the county chairman was too embarrassed about all the facts that would come to light about his relationship with her if she was criminally prosecuted.

George said...

Story updated: