Monday, October 06, 2014

Ballard Administration Continues To Blatantly Flaunt State Law By Refusing To Publicly Release Criminal Justice Center RFP

Mayor Greg Ballard has been assured by the corrupt and extremely unethical attorneys advising him that federal and state prosecutors have his back to permit him to commit any public crime he wants for the remainder of his second term in office. We've been telling you for some time that his administration is secretly brokering a more than half billion dollar privatized criminal justice center project for the personal benefit of the political cronies, who've been bankrolling his campaign committee and showering him and his wife with gifts and all-expense paid trips throughout the world during his two terms as Indianapolis mayor, as one of his final and most damaging acts as mayor.

Indiana law could not be more clear on the City's legal obligation to make public a Request for Proposal document it released to three bidding groups last April that it handpicked in secret to compete for the project that will cost Indianapolis taxpayers several billion dollars over the next 35 years. Yet the Ballard administration continues to deliver a middle finger to the public by claiming it is not bound by state law. It has no intention of releasing the critical bid document upon which proposals are being made by the competing vendors until after it has chosen a winning proposal. The IBJ has the latest rebuff made by the administration to its attempts to force the RFP's disclosure:
A representative of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard told Marion County judges Monday that the request for proposals the city issued to three teams competing to design, finance and construct a criminal justice facility is not a document the public can see.
Kurt Fullbeck, senior policy advisor for economic development, said at a meeting of the general term of Marion Superior judges that the document would be public if it were for particular goods and services. But because the specifications also involve operation of a jail, criminal courts and other judicial offices, the procurement procedure was different and not covered by state law making RFPs public.
“We don’t want to negotiate this process in public,” Fullbeck said after Marion Superior Judge Tim Oakes asked for the city’s rationale in keeping the document secret. Fullbeck said the document also could not be released due to problems it could create with potential bidders who were eliminated from consideration when the city narrowed the field to three finalists.
The city has denied requests for the RFP from the Indianapolis Business Journal. However, Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt said recently in a letter that the city had failed to justify its denial of a request to produce the document for public inspection.
Fullbeck said the city was “currently working with the public access counselor” and insisted that the city has no obligation to make public those documents relating to a potentially $500 million public works project. Plans, which Fullbeck said are fluid, include a new jail, criminal courts and judicial complex to be built on the site of the former General Motors stamping plant west of White River and south of Washington Street.
The city claims the facility can be financed through a public-private partnership in which the facility would be designed, financed, built and operated on a long-term lease without the need for a tax increase.
As I've previously reported, the Indianapolis Star (then controlled by the Pulliam family) and the Hoosier State Press Association were at the forefront in assuring that a state law enacted by the legislature back in the 1990s contained provisions to ensure transparency in the awarding of public-private agreements precisely like the one contemplated by this project. Yet the Gannett-owned Star, which endorsed the project before any fiscal analysis had been conducted, has been totally silent on the Ballard administration's flaunting of state law. Incredibly, the administration claims it can acquire the more than half billion dollar criminal justice center without spending a dime more than it currently spends on criminal justice facilities.

GIPC, the shadow nonprofit organization controlled by downtown elites which makes all of our most critical local government decisions in secret, recommended the P3 approach for the project. GIPC includes a management employee of the Star on its governing board of directors. All of the local television news stations also have management employees serving on the board of GIPC and have similarly refused to expose the corrupt and secretive process being undertaken by the Ballard administration. By their actions, the local news media is effectively conspiring with the Ballard administration to defraud Indianapolis taxpayers.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to work this story, Gary. It's for certain the hacks employed by the local rags dare not write one negative word on the subject.

Anonymous said...

This is just another example of how corrupt Indianapolis has become. No one in the local news will question this lack of transprancy and flouting of state law but you can bet your bottom dollar once the "bid" is selected all of the news outlets will praise the decision.

Anonymous said...

Testify against the tv stations at their FCC license renewal.

During renewal, the station trots out all the public-purpose work it supposedly does and glosses over "Springer" shows.

That hearing would be a good time to air dirty laundry. You might also be able to file a complaint with the FCC over this. Even if the complaint goes nowhere, you've dirtied them up, a little.

Anonymous said...

"Fullbeck said the document also could not be released due to problems it could create with potential bidders who were eliminated from consideration when the city narrowed the field to three finalists" the administration is worried that losing firms would protest if everything regarding this process was made public, as required by state law and keeps the process open and honest. Does this not scream bid rigging to anyone else?!

And how can bidders fairly compete for the work when their scope of work continuously changes (or "fluid" as quoted)?

This process is nothing but a sham. The only negotiating going on right now is the administration working to make sure all the local hacks get a piece of the action. Just like every other major building project - expect to see the usual local A/E, construction, legal and PR firms first in line at the trough. They can't otherwise compete on price or quality.

P3 can be great when it's done right - the problem is it's executed by politicians who are only looking to further insert their own priorities into the procurement process. The magic of P3 is that firm selection is much more subjective, even when the selection/scoring process is clearly defined in the RFP.

The fact that this administration thinks it can skirt the law so blatantly is infuriating. They clearly think residents in this city are either too stupid to see the man behind the curtain or too soft to care. Wake up Indianapolis!!

Hats off to the IBJ for having the stones to pursue this. Surely the administration isn't happy about it.

Unigov said...

The "process" is to "tune" the RFP to match the desired outcome. There's nothing that can stop this; certainly the State doesn't give a damn about financial shenanigans because the State has to protect its own shenanigans.

I'm reminded of the sale of the water company and sewer works. There was a massive document that made up the contract, meeting minutes, etc etc - the powers that be printed all that stuff out, then scanned it in, making one giant PDF that couldn't be searched. Buried in the minutes was a list of attendees of a key meeting; those minutes indicated the presence of some guy, by name only, not his company. His company turned out to be Morgan Stanley, which had been hired by Citizens to help them steal the water company.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Citizens didn't steal the water company. It paid at least a half billions dollars more for it than it should have paid to give Greg Ballard a pot of money to pass out to his campaign contributors before the last election. We're all paying for it now with higher water and sewer rates.

Flogger said...

The Democrats remain silent as far as I know on this scheme. The Dems could have a Council hearing on it. If we had a real Media they might ask the two Democrat Mayor Wannabes for reaction to Mayor Blowholes plan.

I suspect a part of the fluid plans is greasing this deal.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Joe Hogsett's new law firm is in on the gig. Why would he speak out? The corruption is so deep and wide in this city it's virtually a lost cause.

Anonymous said...

Good points both, Gary (9:34 and 2:46).

I maintain there is actually one political party and this one evil creature has two claws- one claw greedily works the left and the other claw greedily works the right with the result that the political animal in toto benefits and grows by always protecting its corpus.

Our votes are virtually meaningless; so much is decided before the issues/candidates hit the public. The same with judges... they are selected by the insiders and the political hatchet operatives who place them on the chess board for situations just like this... I saw it happen.

There is no justice. There will be nothing better when Ballard and the Marion County R's are defeated (something I believe they fully expect) for the Democrats are every bit as devious and every bit a part of the overall scheme.

Honest government in this City is pretty much a lost cause no matter which political figurehead is elected. The best mayoral candidate the City could hope to have is Christine Scales but Lord knows what both parties, especially her own, would do to her if she ran.

Anonymous said...

It would appear that the only viable solution we taxpayers have is to exercise our option to leave Indianapolis. We can't beat the corruption in this town but we certainly can vote with our feet.

Anonymous said...

If we had the index below for cities in this country Mayor Greg Ballard's Indianapolis would be the most corrupt.

How SCUMMY he and his corrupt minions think they can HIDE contract documents(or documents which are the basis for such). When his minion states things are fluid and they can't share information since they in effect provided False and/or Misleading Information to Bidders who were riffed out of the process REEKS of sophistry.

This project is not only unnecessary but also cannot be afforded.