Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Curry Defends Inaction On Bennett Because He Never Got IG Report He Never Requested

Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry is relying on his best Sgt. Schultz defense to explain why his office agreed not to prosecute former Education Supt. Tony Bennett after he entered into a settlement agreement with the state ethics commission in which he admitted ethics violations and agreed to pay a small fine. The Star's Brian Eason has Curry's face-saving response to Tom LoBianco's blockbuster report yesterday revealing a lengthy investigative report the state's Inspector General's office completed last February in which it concluded Bennett and members of his executive staff committed more than 100 potential federal wire fraud violations.
“While our office was provided with an investigative report in November 2013, the IG never provided this additional February 2014 report to our office for review,” Curry said.
“I have requested a copy of the February 2014 report and supporting documentation from the Office of the U.S. Attorney, and our office will review this information once those materials are provided by that office.”
That's Curry's way of saying his office never lifted a finger to investigate any of the damning allegations laid out in media reports about Bennett's blatant use of state employees and state resources for campaign purposes. Instead, he simply accepted the settlement agreement reached between the state Ethics Commission and Bennett without bothering to use grand jury proceedings to ascertain on his own whether any state laws may have been violated. These reflects even worse on former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett. His office received the report and failed to act on it. Nice work, Joe. Naturally, the local news media is too willing to lay all the blame on the Inspector General's feet instead of federal and state prosecutors, who ultimately have responsibility for investigating and prosecuting public corruption cases like this one. They only have themselves to blame if they failed to act in the face of the damning news reports.

UPDATE: It looks like the Inspector General and Curry disagree over the version of events according to an updated Star report:
But Inspector General David Thomas insists he told Curry that the prosecutor could seek “ghost employment” charges against Bennett. He also forwarded his office’s complete investigative records to both Curry and federal prosecutors, he said . . .  
Thomas, however, told AP that he sent Curry a letter on Feb. 27 notifying him that 12 binders of material would be forwarded to his office. A copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press Wednesday . . .  
Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney’s office, which prosecutes federal crimes, has remained mum on the topic. An agency spokesman declined to comment on the matter Wednesday.  
And a spokesman for Indianapolis mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett, who was the U.S. attorney at the time of the report, said he likely would not be able to comment, either. “Joe can’t comment on a matter that may or may not still be an ongoing federal investigation,” spokesman Thomas Cook said.
So both Hogsett and Curry have been caught with their pants down now. That's what happens when you have prosecutors more interested in their own political ambitions than conducting the people's business.

UPDATE II: And it gets worse for Curry. Tom LoBianco obtained a letter Thomas sent to Curry last February recommending criminal charges:
. . . The AP obtained a letter Inspector General David Thomas wrote in Feb. 27, 2014, letter to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry after Curry said he never saw an investigator's entire 95-page report alleging wire fraud.
"The course of our investigation suggests that for several months prior to the 2012 primary and general elections, the evidence could support ghost employment involving Dr. Bennett and his staff as well as official misconduct," Thomas wrote.


Anonymous said...

Who is the inspector general and why don't we hear more about him? Is he appointed, elected? If he's part of state government, how or why did the insiders ever let this investigation see the light of day? I want to call this guy a hero for doing his job, but understanding how government works around here I wonder what else may be afoot behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

Did someone Curry undue favor?

Anonymous said...

David Thomas, Hogsett and Curry are all full of it! Thomas should have been brought up on ethics charges years ago! We the people need to churn the pressure up so much on these creeps that they have no choice but to make sure Tony Bennett wears a bright orange jumpsuit for the next few decades!

Anonymous said...

Curry sounds just like Bill Clinton: "The buck never got here." -Old Democrat Rationalization

Anonymous said...

Proof shouting out loud what this City will endure under a Democrat Administration.. not one iota better than what the people have suffered under Crony RINO "Republicans" and the pathetically useless MCRCC. Democrats are every ounce of their beings as focused on their personal careers and self-advancement over the needs of the taxpayers as are the Republicans- if not more. I switched to Democrat because of Greg Ballard thinking it would make a difference and now I no longer vote at all. Every local Democrat I voted for proved to me they are little more than Greg Ballard with a different alphabet after their name.

Anonymous said...

How long will it take for Pence & Friends to announce that this could have been avoided if the Superintendent position were appointed?

Flogger said...

Bennett is a part of the huge Privatization - Charter School
scheme. This may have been the reason he received this immunization shot that protects some from being prosecuted.

If this had went to trial, it would have got very messy. There would have been a lot people brought into the loop.

Interesting how all of this has now surfaced after the election. Timing is everything.

Anonymous said...

Boone County needs to address Prosecutor whom never investigated crimes and corruption there.
Pence, pushing Charter and derailing Ritz the last few days. Good luck with that agenda. Been there done that under Bennett...Grand juries?