Friday, December 12, 2014

Ballard Picks Same P3 Vendor Which Built Long Beach Courthouse

It could not have been more obvious. From the outset, the Ballard administration began picking the same cast of attorneys and financial consultants who brought about the highly-criticized Long Beach, California courthouse project built using a costly public-private partnership agreement. So to nobody's surprise it picked the same foreign-led consortium to build a costly new criminal justice center for Marion County. According to WTHR's Mary Milz, Mayor Greg Ballard will announce that the team led by a French-based firm will get the nod.
Mayoral Spokesman Marc Lotter said Paris-based WMB Heartland Justice Partners was chosen to build, manage and operate the $408 million facility which is planned for the old GM Stamping plant just southwest of downtown. WMB is an international conglomerate with numerous partners. 
Lotter said WMB "met the financial and technical specifications we sought in the RFP." .  .
The city told the three finalists it would pay no more than $50 million a year to lease the facility over 35 years. Lotter said WMB's bid came in $3.2 million below that. 
 "So, as soon as we open in 2018, taxpayers will save an estimated $3.2 million a year over what we currently estimate we pay for the various facilities we have now," Lotter said. 
"The biggest part of the savings will come from consolidation....We would have one facility to handle food preparations, laundry, medical and mental health facilities - all those things currently spread out among four-five difference locations."
So you can trade your $100,000 home in Irvington for a $1 million lake-front home on Geist and not pay a dime more a year in mortgage and expenses. It's amazing how easy it is for these people to tell bald-face lies with a straight face and get the media to report their lies without any discernment. Here are the partners identified as being part of WMB Heartland Justice Partners when the three finalists were announced last spring:
WMB Heartland Justice Partners, led by equity members Meridiam Infrastructure Indy Justice LLC, Balfour Beatty Investments Inc. and Walsh Investors LLC with major non-equity contributions by Walsh Construction Co. II LLC, Heery International Inc., Cofely Services Inc., Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP; and Dewberry Architects.
And Meridiam built what P3 courthouse project? Why yes, that would be the Long Beach, California courthouse project.  Meridiam has also partnered with Walsh in hopes of building that controversial Illiana Expressway in Northwestern Indiana, a bi-state toll roach project with the state of Illinois, which got approval from federal highway authorities yesterday. I told you this was a rigged process from the outset, and Mayor Ballard didn't disappoint us. What else would you expect from the most corrupt mayor in the city's history?

UPDATE: The Indianapolis Bar Association, which did not bother to consult its membership on this issue, continues to be a cheerleader for it. Here's their comments on today's announcement:
The Indianapolis Bar Association expressed its continued optimism about the prospects of a new criminal justice center complex in light of today's important announcement by City officials that a preferred bidder has been selected. The association noted its support of the need for ongoing collaboration by the city administration, city-county council, judiciary and other key stakeholders to continue to prioritize the creation of safe, dignified and adequate justice facilities. The IndyBar has been working for more than a decade to focus attention on the need to overhaul existing judicial resources, citing safety concerns and several other current inadequacies. For years, the organization has spearheaded efforts to make a new justice center a reality, touting the long term benefits that would be realized by not only the people directly involved in the legal system but also the community as a whole. The IndyBar also established a website specifically devoted to the topic at
The Indianapolis Bar Association appreciates being included as a valued and recognized stakeholder on behalf of its member professionals and the clients they represent. The IndyBar has and will continue to take an active role in the justice center planning and development process through its Justice Center Task Force, which was created in 2002. Attorney John F. Kautzman of Ruckelshaus Kautzman Blackwell Bemis & Hasbrook chairs this task force on behalf of the association, under the leadership of IndyBar President Jeff Abrams and the IndyBar Board of Directors. The IndyBar is committed to its diligent advocacy for new judicial facilities and related infrastructure and urges all stakeholders to work together to iron out the substantial details that still remain, including the final facility design, functionality and responsible financing. The local bar looks forward to the City of Indianapolis benefiting from 21st century justice facilities.
I found it quite enlightening when The Indiana Lawyer recently featured a discussion on P3 deals and who would be at the center of that conversation but the Indianapolis Bar Association's President Jeff Abrams, who specializes in P3 agreements. Does he represent any of the parties to this P3 agreement. Inquiring minds want to know?  John Kautzman, of course, represents the FOP, which likely shades his thinking on this matter considerably.

The updated listing of partners in the Meridiam bid group includes the following:
"WMB Heartland Justice Partners is a partnership comprised of Meridiam, Walsh Investors, and Balfour Beatty Investments formed to design, build, finance and maintain the Marion County Justice Complex. The team features a design/build contractor joint venture between the Walsh Construction Company and Heery International, Inc. Walsh and Heery will be supported by Dewberry Architects, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, L.L.P, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and four local firms: The Hagerman Group, Cripe Architects + Engineers, SchenkelShultz Architecture and KERAMIDA. The operations and maintenance of the facility will be provided by Cofely Services, Inc. and its subcontractor ABM Industries, Inc."
Now we know why Mitch Roob went to work for Keramida earlier this year.


Anonymous said...

This is NOt a done deal. Hogsett and the Council will have to sign off. The legislature could block. The public can get up in arms. This is $1.75 BILLION. 2 times Lucas oil stadium and convention center. NOT a done deal even though the admin is selling inevitability.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Name one significant deal this council has not approved that was put before it by this administration? Is Joe Hogsett going to ask the Democratic members to kill a deal his law firm is getting paid big bucks to sell the council to approve? The Republican legislature has done nothing but embolden this mayor. Do you really think a Republican legislature with super majorities is going to block a deal that's going to make a lot of money for their political cronies?

Anonymous said...

...And in other news: Ballard is expected to announce the need for a new City Hall, at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Anonymous said...

The reason for all the LLCs is to hide the ownership. You can bet your Christmas bonus that several ranking City Council members are part of the ownership either directly or indirectly. Maybe this is Ballard's payoff to his friends on the City County Council. We all know their names. They are the same crowd that votes again and again the way the mayor and his party bosses direct.

Anonymous said...

Won't Loftus & Robinson bid on this project?

Anonymous said...

Hogsett will have to sue alleging fraud and self-dealing to stop these deals, and he will have to fire every last attorney in City Legal to ensure no demons remain there.