This evening’s City County Council Ethics Committee will review and decide whether Councillor Joe Simpson violated ethics rules when he refused to recuse himself from voting on public safety issues – despite having an open lawsuit against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. This will be the first time the public has the opportunity to hear the charges and voice their concerns with Councillor Simpson’s behavior. Councillor Pam Hickman, the Ethics Committee Chairwoman, canceled a previously scheduled Ethics Committee meeting.
“Councillor Simpson has refused to act in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the City Code. An elected official voting on issues directly related to an agency they are currently suing is a clear conflict of interests and I am glad Councillor Hickman has finally realized this needs to be addressed”, said Council Minority Leader Mike McQuillen.Some of you may recall that Councilor Simpson was arrested by IMPD a couple of years ago under rather bizarre circumstances for inquiring about a police investigation of a break-in of a home next to his home. Simpson was later acquitted of the charges and sued the department for violating his civil rights. Simpson chairs the ROC Investigating Committee, which is charged with trying to determine how the Department of Public Safety could have possibly entered into such a one-sided, $20 million long-term lease at a run-down, ill-suited building owned by an individual with close political ties to Mayor Greg Ballard. As more and more damning information about the deal came to light during the course of the investigation, Republicans began a push to discredit Simpson by saying he had a conflict of interest in chairing the committee investigating the deal. The committee member pushing Simpson to recuse himself was Councilor Ben Hunter, who is a former, long-timer IMPD police officer and one of the key backers and sponsors of the proposal to locate the ROC at Eastgate Mall, whose owner contributed generously to Hunter's campaign. WRTV reports on how this call for an ethics investigation of Simpson ended:
Ethics charges against an Indianapolis city-county councilor were dropped Thursday in a unanimous decision by the ethics committee.
District 9 Councilman Joe Simpson (D) was accused of committing an ethics violation when he refused to recuse himself from voting on public safety issues despite having an open lawsuit against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
An ethics committee meeting scheduled to discuss the matter Thursday lasted just minutes, ending in a unanimous vote to drop ethics charges against Simpson.
The meeting followed a closed-door executive session by the ethics committee.
No public comment was heard at the meeting, and councilors did not discuss reasons for dismissing the charges.
The committee is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans, and chaired by Council Member At-Large Pamela Hickman (D).It's too bad my fellow Republicans weren't as interested in investigating former City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn for the blatant manner in which he used his council leadership position as a profit center for his law firm and its clients.