Thursday, July 23, 2015

Council's Attorney Tells Council Members Everything About Blue Indy Deal Is Illegal

The Indianapolis City-County Council's attorneys Fred Biesecker told members of the Public Safety Committee yesterday evening that virtually every aspect of the one-sided agreement with Blue Indy is illegal.  Technically, the agreement is not fully-executed because the controller has never signed the agreement. Yet public property all over the city has already been seized and is in the process of being converted for exclusive use by Blue Indy's electric car sharing service. Its illegal cars have sat illegally parked advertising the monopoly franchise they've been illegally granted on Washington Street for over a year now.

Indianapolis is described as the showcase city for the French-owned company Bollore's electric car sharing service, but it's not getting off to a good start in America when it chooses to do business with the most corrupt mayor in the United States who is willing to break every law imaginable to provide the company a monopoly franchise agreement to operate its electric car sharing business in this city.

Essentially, the agreement entered into between the Ballard administration and the City provides an exclusive agreement to Blue Indy for a minimum initial term of 15 years to operate its electric car sharing business on city property. Mayor Ballard gave the company $6 million from the City's parking meter fund and IPL is kicking in over $3 million to install the power charging stations, make sidewalk improvements and other infrastructure improvements for the 200 sites being set up throughout the City to support a fleet of at least 500 Blue Indy electric cars occupying up to 1,000 parking spaces, including the most prime parking spaces in the City. If members of the public want to use the power charging stations for their electric cars, they have to sign an exclusive subscription agreement with Blue Indy to use the charging stations built with city tax dollars using city property.

The Ballard administration relied on its authority to grant encroachment licenses to private property owners, which Biesecker told council members is not applicable to exclusive franchise agreements. The encroachment license authority only gives the City authority to grant non-exclusive use of public right-of-way space. Biesecker says it is "nonsense" to say this can be done under an encroachment license. Biesecker noted encroachment licenses can be terminated at any time and are for one-year, renewable terms. The Blue Indy agreement can only be terminated by the City if Blue Indy mutually agrees to terminate the agreement or materially breaches the agreement with the City, whatever that means since very little is imposed upon Blue Indy by the one-sided agreement. Biesecker described the terminated clause as "embarrassingly weak." Biesecker repeated the point that the administration lacks authority to convert non-parking areas to parking areas for exclusive use by Blue Indy in violation of existing city ordinances.

The only favorable term for the City is the potential for a 15% revenue sharing if the company at some point becomes profitable. IPL will get reimbursed $4 million off the top, however, before the City would ever get the opportunity to share in any of those revenues, and it gets 2/3 of the following $4 million of profit-sharing (1/3 for the City). Blue Indy claims its investing $40 million of its own money. The way the term profitability is defined by the agreement is based on "cumulative net profit," which Biesecker suggested could take many years before the company shared its first dollar of profit with the City since it will be allowed to recoup its investment as well before profit sharing occurs.

This is the real kicker that shows just how criminal and illegal this deal is. The agreement makes Blue Indy exempt from all property taxes, parking taxes or any other tax that might be imposed on the company, and to the extent the company is required to pay a tax, the City is required to reimburse it for the amount of those taxes. Mayor Ballard has absolutely no authority to grant such an illegal, unconstitutional tax exemption. It is beyond outrageous that this man and the people working for him signing these illegal and corrupt deals have not been hauled away in handcuffs and charged with the multiple felonies they've committed. By the way, the administration gave this cake boy, David Rosenberg, who now has the title of "deputy mayor" authority to sign this agreement. Since when does a deputy mayor not even subject to confirmation by the City-County Council have legal authority to enter into one-sided, 15-year exclusive agreements with a private company on behalf of the City?

As I've said before, the rule of law has completely broken down in this state and this city. Special laws spring into existence for the benefit of political insiders who are permitted to steal our public assets for their exclusive personal use with the assistance of people who supposedly took an oath of office to uphold the constitution, state laws and local ordinances that supposedly govern us. There is no transparency in any of these arrangements. We have no idea who all owns a beneficial interest in these companies, but human nature tells us that certain individuals stand to make substantial sums of money illegally as a result of this and other illegal deals this administration has carried out the past eight years. Like I've said before, if you want to steal from the taxpayers, come to Indianapolis. There is nobody minding the store to stop you from doing it.

UPDATE: The Public Works Committee approved a resolution Thursday night calling for the towing of Blue Indy cars that are illegally parked on Washington Street in a no parking zone, which will now go before the full council for a vote.


Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Gary, for doing all you do to shine light on these corrupt deals. I watched the meeting on the public access channel last night. I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle both the pompous, arrogant David Rosenberg and my corrupt city council member of ROC corruption infamy, Ben Hunter, defend the agreement as good for the city.

Anonymous said...

"As I've said before, the rule of law has completely broken down in this state and this city. Special laws spring into existence for the benefit of political insiders who are permitted to steal our public assets for their exclusive personal use with the assistance of people who supposedly took an oath of office to uphold the constitution, state laws and local ordinances that supposedly govern us."

There is, indeed, no Rule of Law in Indiana. Indiana is entirely governed by special laws, special courts and special rulings, hand-tailored for the desired outcome in every case.

Indiana does not have a Rule of Law. Indiana's legal power and legal order is whatever the people who own the state want it to be, at any moment.

Anonymous said...

Even though the Council continues to be told about all these illegal actions taken by the Ballard administration, if they are not going to push the judiciary to at least hear and weigh in nothing will be done. All the bluster in the world is not going to "shame" Ballard into stopping his illegal actions. As we well know the AG, Curry and the US Attorney apparently have no problem with his unlawful actions. Also, I see by yesterday's news that we actually have a US Attorney for the Southern District of Indianapolis. Maybe he can only handle one investigation at a time. When the newsbite just mentioned that the FBI was serving warrants I had hoped they would be shown on the 25th floor of the CCB.

Eric Morris said...

Government is coercion and force, so hoping that it will follow some mythical Rule of Law is hopeless. Hate the State and come on board the Anarcho-Capitalist Train of Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell. In this case, government-on-government fighting is good.

Anonymous said...

In light of the fact that America has a lawless White House dictator who tramples the US Constitution unstopped by a US Congress which long ago abdicated its Constitutional role and it legal powers, is it any wonder we have majority of Indianapolis City County Councilors under the wholly ineffective Maggie Lewis allowing Herr Greg "Adolph" Ballard to dig his heels into the playground sand and to steal and bully his way to his corrupt ends? We are seeing political theft and corruption on a scale unknown since the days of Dale Brown.

Had Democrat Lying Joe Hogsett when he was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana done something, anything, to address the destruction of Indianapolis public safety under tyrant Ballard we local Hoosiers would not be witnessing the wholesale disregard for legalities our awful Mayor Greg Ballard exhibits on a daily basis.

Why should everyday Marion County residents like me not disregard traffic laws, not pilfer, not engage in pick pocketing, not engage in theft and home invasions, not doing anything illegal when the City's role model shows himself to be above any law, above any moral or ethical underpinning, and to be unrestrained by any social norm a civil society would demand?

Anonymous said...

Yet another "criminal and illegal" Greg Ballard deal which is good for his friends and thoroughly bad for Marion County residents. And of the many questionably ethical or outright illegal scams our awful mayor perpetrates upon the People, this particular deal is truly so very criminal and illegal as noted, outlined, and analyzed in the article.

Liberal Democrat Zach Adamson, now somewhat politically "safe" since his Democrat machine coronated him a City Council District representative and who is without any meritorious political challenger in the upcoming election, wants to make this illegal scheme legal with some type of franchising arrangement? Seriously, Zach... are you again on the pipe or on something because clear thinking individuals would never tolerate the wholesale prostitution of our laws as has Indy's own personal tyrant, Greg Ballard.

Flogger said...

Fred Biesecker doing a lot of work. However, in the end it will be nothing more than words on paper. The Democrats have stood by and just watched this train wreck of a Mayor. Both political parties have what is in reality a "Cease Fire" Agreement between them. This Cease Fire Agreement also encompasses the Judicial System too.

Gary R. Welsh said...

You can see the frustration on Fred's face every time he explains for the umpteenth time how many laws have been ignored or broken by this administration. It's become an exercise in futility for him to attempt to provide legal advice to the council.

Anonymous said...

Hooboy! and "Amen!" to Flogger (9:28) and Gary (9:34).

As for Fred's frustration... I have to believe every person on our Indianapolis City County Council knows damned perfectly well and good all the laws broken on this particular Greg Ballard scam and previous successful and/or failed to pass Greg Ballard schemes. How many other ways can Fred describe "illegal and criminal"? Our Councilors use feigned ignorance of the law as a personal excuse to work in favor of the People. Other than Christine Scales, what a gaggle of goofballs and deceivers we have for a Council.

Anonymous said...

Out-of-state reporter here who just recently stumbled on this blog. Does Indianapolis not have any print or TV reporters who investigate public corruption? I wish I had these kind of stories fall in my lap to cover as part of my regular beat. Wow. I really mean, WOW!

Anonymous said...

Gary, Does any taxpayer have standing to sue the city or city council for this illegal act?

Anonymous said...


No. Indy is open season for public pilfering, and not one media outlet dares to investigate or report on it.

It's a little Soviet Union going on over here. If you dare report the truth, the entire city will shun you, and you won't be able to buy or sell a thing here.

Anonymous said...

Some pigs are ore equal than others.