Thursday, April 09, 2015

Political Opponents' Complaint Dogs Hammond Mayor Over RV Rentals

Hammond City Council member Homero "Chico" Hinojosa, Jr. and John Nauracy, Sr. have alleged various irregularities with the campaign finance reports filed by Mayor Tom McDermott, Jr. in a complaint filed with the Lake Co. Board of Election. The Northwest Indiana Times reports the Election Board earlier dismissed all of the alleged violations except one concerning campaign expenditures for RV rentals, which the board is set to hear next week. According to The Times, Hinojoa and Nauracy claim that at least some of the RV rentals were for family vacations and not campaign-related expenses.

Nauracy contacted Terry's RV in Albany, Indiana, which McDemott's campaign finance report lists as paying close to $3,000 to rent an RV to attend a Democratic Party event in French Lick. Charles Terry, whose family owns the RV business, told The Times his business hasn't rented an RV to anyone since 2004. He also said his business only sells towed RVs, not motorized RVs like McDermott's campaign reported renting. Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith, who volunteers for McDermott's campaign, says he always rents RVs from Illinois, not Albany, Indiana. Smith says he rents from Terry's RV in Frankfort, Illinois. Neither McDermott nor Smith could explain why the campaign finance report listed the Albany, Indiana business instead of the Frankfort, Illinois business.

A photograph of one of the rented RVs is offered as proof it was used for personal use; however, McDermott says it proves the RV was used for the political event in French Lick. The picture he says was taken in the parking lot of the French Lick convention center where McDermott's campaign hosted a tailgate party. If memory serves me correctly, I recall reading about his tailgate party in French Lick elsewhere at the time. McDermott says Nauracy only filed the complaint because he was upset he wasn't awarded a contract with the city for his towing business. He also says Nauracy can't be trusted because of a prior fraud conviction. The election board earlier dismissed Nauracy's complaint regarding over $350,000 in consulting payments McDermott paid to a firm owned by his wife.


Anonymous said...

What was the name of the Mitch Daniels bus?

Anonymous said...

McDermott has controlled the Lake County Election Board assuring board members are friends and political family. Does this buys him protection?

A much bigger issue, in a previous complaint, glossed over by the LC Election Board, during the 2009 election cycle McDermott leased an 18,000sq ft building for his campaign HQ from a political allied.

Prior and during McDermott's occupancy, the building received renovations. Concern develops, were federal tax dollars were used to renovate this building before and during McDermott's occupancy?

McDermott's 2009 campaign fiance reports reveal a single $1,000 rent payment during this 7 month period.

This same building, approximately 2 years later, sold twice with in 30 days. The first sale was $700,000, the second sale 30 days later for $1,000,000, but McDermott leased the same space for several months at a cost of $1,000.

The final sale was to Purdue, and now houses a NWI radio station.

A hearing before the LC Election Board found no campaign finance impropriety.

Its not every politician who gets to lease a 18,000 sq ft facility for several months at a $1,000, and a friend makes a cool $300,000 on the transaction in 30 days.

Isn't this reminicent of Jessie Jackson Jr's fall from grace?