City County Councilman Frank Mascari, a democrat from Beech Grove, told CBS4 News that he is calling for a court injunction pull the plug on the City’s $32 million 7-year agreement to lease hundreds of electric and hybrid electric cars.
“The problem is, as you showed me, there are three different leases, two actually, one showing it as a lease and one showing it as a rental agreement,” said Mascari after CBS4 News discovered multiple agreements between the city and its vendor, Indy-Vision Funding. “This whole fiasco should be stopped immediately.”
Mascari and other councilors have said that it appears the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard circumvented city ordinances to turn 10 percent of its fleet into alternative fuel vehicles by leasing the cars under a services contract.
“It had to go through Purchasing. Simple as that,” Mascari said. “It didn’t go through Purchasing. What they did was totally illegal and that’s why we want to file an injunction to stop this as soon as we can.” . . .The Ballard administration thinks it's above the law, and why shouldn't it? There sure as hell aren't any federal or state prosecutors willing to do their job and throw Ballard and the sorry thieves he's surrounding himself in the mayor's office in prison where they belong. We're just supposed to sit back and let them rape and pillage all they want before they leave office. Mascari can complain all he wants, but I don't see the Democratic-controlled council going to court to stop the lease. What's stopping them?
WTHR's Mary Milz chimes in with another story here discussing the lease's legality with Councilor Aaron Freeman.
. . . Republican councilor Aaron Freeman is angry. He feels the mayor's office deliberately bypassed the council on plans to add 400 electric vehicles to the city fleet.
"This is very frustrating," said Freeman. "If it's a lease agreement under law, it has to come to the council."
But it didn't because, as DPW's Jerimaiah Shirk told Sandra Chapman last week, the contract signed was a service agreement.
"We are not leasing vehicles. We are paying for the miles driven," Shirk said.
So what about this? Another seemingly identical contract obtained by WTHR that clearly says "lease?"
"It looks like originally, this was a lessee/lessor lease. Somebody figured out that that was gonna be a problem and we rewrote it to make it not a lessor/lessee lease," said Freeman.
DPW's Scott Manning says not at all.
"There are multiple iterations and drafts of a contract that agree goes through," said Manning. He says this was one of them.
"We are in a lease no matter what they call this," said Freeman . . .