Schouten had an interesting item in an updated story yesterday in which he said testimony by an undercover FBI agent revealed for the first time that the land bank corruption wasn't the original target of a public corruption task force assembled to combat rampant corruption in Indianapolis, an investigation to date which has been largely a big bust. Schouten describes the failed investigation:
The Land Bank, and Walton, were not the FBI's initial target. The undercover agent, who entered and exited the federal courthouse through private entrances, acknowledged Thursday during cross-examination by Walton's attorney that he had come to town on a separate case that "went in another direction."
The agent, posing as a private investor, had come to Indianapolis as part of a public-corruption task force to investigate a tip about alleged bribes tied to an energy deal at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Foreman was introduced to businessman Gene McFadden, one of the high-profile partners in BHMM Energy, which in 2006 won a 10-year contract in partnership with Citizens Energy Group to operate an energy plant serving the airport's new midfield terminal.
The other principals in BHMM: Vicky A. Bailey, former president of PSI Energy Inc.; Barrett Hatches, former CEO of Northern Indianapolis Public Service Co.; and the late Indianapolis business leader William G. Mays, of Mays Chemical.
(The airport canceled the deal and sought new bids in 2012, but it wasn't clear whether a new deal was struck. Airport officials did not immediately return an email or phone message. A phone number listed for McFadden was disconnected.)
The government's investigation into the airport deal went nowhere and was dropped. No one was charged.
But McFadden suggested the eager-for-deals undercover FBI agent meet Walton, a city employee he described as well-connected and capable of making things happen for investor partners.
In a Feb. 14, 2012, meeting with McFadden, Walton and the FBI agent, Walton admitted his government position had allowed him to get paid a little extra on the side.Oh yes, the Indianapolis International Airport that its former board president, Lacy Johnson, blatantly used to enrich all of his cronies. Businessman William Mays, who died recently, was a frequent beneficiary of Johnson's deal-making around state and local government in Indiana. You can take it to the bank that the investigation went nowhere because, like every investigation that threatens the powerful in this town, some one inside the investigation tips them off and compromises the investigation. So instead of seeing the big fish behind public corruption in Indianapolis getting their comeuppance, we're treated to show trials involving low-hanging fruit like Lincoln Plowman and Reggie Walton. I'm still trying to figure out why Mays and other big shots never got prosecuted for the blatant insider trading they engaged when First Indiana Bank on whose board Mays served was being acquired by Marshall and Isley.