Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Star Plays Catch Up On Regional Operations Center Investigation

For awhile, I thought the Indianapolis Star had decided to skip any coverage of the investigation of the sleazy manner in which the Regional Operations Center at a big political contributor's white elephant property on the east side came to be. What little reporting the Star has done to date has primarily been for the purpose of communicating to its readers that any investigation of the deal was simply partisan politics on the part of the Democratic-controlled council. The Star's John Tuohy finally has a story today emphasizing a point I made after reviewing the latest document dump from the Ballard administration a month and a half ago: Former Public Safety Director Frank Straub thought the Eastgate Mall site was a bad choice.

Tuohy's story, for the most part, doesn't cover any new ground than what I previously reported. He did get some comments from the building's owner about some of Straub's misgiving's about the Eastgate Mall site. One of Straub's concerns I previously discussed was an FBI raid of a business owned by one of the ROC property owners in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. That would be Marvin Slomowitz, an east coast billionaire real estate developer.

Slomowitz tells the Star the raid was "politically motivated" and he received a letter 18 months letter from the FBI clearing him. He said he was unaware Straub had concerns about the matter. "I feel sorry for my poor partners hearing now what they were against," Touhy says Slomowitz said by phone from Florida. Yeah, they're laughing all the way to the bank at just how much they were able to exploit politically-corrupt people in Indianapolis to extract a $20 million, 25-year lease a for deteriorating former Simon shopping mall they picked up on the cheap.

U.S. Representative Susan Brooks' husband's client, Alex Carroll, who has made big campaign contributions to the right people, chimed in. Carroll said he didn't know about the FBI raid of Slomowitz' business and that the raid couldn't have involved anything "significant because the FBI and other law enforcement agencies moved into the ROC in January 2012." That's not entirely true. The FBI had originally discussed having permanent space in the building, but according to testimony before the council's investigative committee, the FBI chose not to become a permanent tenant in the building. Agents may have used space at the building during the Super Bowl in February 2012, but they don't have an ongoing presence there. Councilor Ben Hunter, who received big campaign contributions from Carroll after pushing so hard for the Eastgate Mall site, insisted had nothing to do with the site selection or his support. Ballard's spokesman, Marc Lotter, says he didn't even think Ballard knew Carroll made campaign contributions. Yeah, right.


Anonymous said...

Who is a crook?

"Corruption is as corruption does."

Anonymous said...

Again, how will this revelation impact Ben Hunter decision to run for Mayor for the GOP??? My guess is he will wait 2-3 mayoral election cycles with the hope that folks forget which is the norm in the Hoosier state. Hunter for Mayor, 2019/2023???

Anonymous said...

If Straub is NOT culpable, then where was his courage and leadership to stop this? Are these not the traits that what you want in a leader, Spokane!!! So much for Brooks for Vice President.

Anonymous said...

To the real estate lawyers out there: Can the City do anything to void this terrible lease? Or can any concerned citizens out there act on the City's behalf to do the same? Maybe buy out the lease? Anything to push back on the property owners???

These scum bags belong in prison.

I thought the new referendum process was supposed to snag large building projects and put them in front of voters, whether they be of traditional design-bid-build nature or lease or the hybrid P3 garbage being used to procure the justice center.

Anonymous said...

The Star story said the total campaign contribution made to both Ballard and Hunter was less than $1,000 total. Do we really think that was the influencing decision?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:49 - Consider this:

There is prima facie culpability:

1. The shredding of documents related to the ROC.

2. The refusal to testify before the committee.

3. He was in-charge (and a micro-manager)! -Nothing happens without his Okey Dokey.

Anonymous said...

Is sure seems that the Brooks are crooks.

Why both these politically connected beings are not worried about fashionable bright orange jumpsuits with iron "ankle bracelets" may have everything to do with the "company" they keep.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU again for staying the course on this important story and the foul persons involved in this blatantly politically corrupt deal (just one of many I happen to believe involve David and/or Susan Brooks) and their Republican AND Democrat enablers.

Anonymous said...

This needs to go to the Public Integrity Section of DOJ!

After seeing Ballard squirm on the TV tonight, it's clear:

Corruption is as corruption does.

Turn it over to the higher authority!