Friday, October 30, 2015

Four Days Before The Election The Star Wonders Whether Hogsett's Legal Career Poses A Conflict

It's how a Gannett-owned newspaper operates. It carefully protects its chosen candidates from undue public scrutiny throughout an election season, writes story after story that reads more like press releases, gives the candidate their official endorsement and then right before the election makes a few throw-away disclosures about their preferred candidate like those quickly-read, often damning disclaimers pharmaceutical companies are required by law to make in their ads about potentially harmful side effects of their drugs. In a manner of speaking, they've covered their ass.

Four days before the election, the Indianapolis Star publishes a story questioning whether its endorsed candidate for Indianapolis mayor, Joe Hogsett, may have baggage in the form of conflicts of interest that he carries into office because of his current and past relationship with two major Indianapolis law firms. The story mentions the most obvious conflicts that arose this year, which the newspaper heretofore avoided discussing: the controversial Covanta recycling contract executed by Mayor Greg Ballard; and the controversial criminal justice center project Ballard pushed earlier this year, which was blocked by the City-County Council. Hogsett's current law firm employer, Bose McKinney & Evans, represents Covanta, and it had been paid $750,000 to lobby for the passage of the criminal justice center project, which I actually believe was nothing more than a payoff by the City to the law firm to cover the big six-figure salary Hogsett is earning while campaigning full-time for mayor instead of billing hours.

Hogsett didn't speak to the Star's reporter, John Tuohy, about his potential conflicts. Instead, he let his campaign manager, Thomas Cook, do the talking for him. Cook tells Tuohy that Hogsett's inability to speak about the Covanta contract will end as soon as he becomes mayor and is no longer employed by his law firm. Tuohy notes that the vast majority of Hogsett's $4 million in campaign contributions come from individuals and businesses doing business with the City. Cook tells Tuohy that Hogsett has proven by his past record he's not afraid of going after insiders. "There are many people who can vouch for the fact that Joe Hogsett has no problem going after insiders," Cook said, citing his record of fighting public corruption as federal prosecutor. How dumb does Cook think we are? Hogsett never prosecuted a single downtown insider. He couldn't participate in the prosecution of Ponzi schemer Tim Durham because his old law firm, Bingham Greenebaum Doll, represented Durham. He only used the threat of public corruption cases against Mayor Greg Ballard as leverage to convince him not to seek re-election so he could slide into the mayor's office. Whistle blowers will attest that his office told them to f _ _ _ off when they brought serious cases of public corruption requiring his immediate attention. Actions speak louder than words, Joe.


Melyssa Hubbard said...

And we will beat those drums relentlessly for four years. Much lemonade can be made from this for the future.

Anonymous said...

You keep saying this, Melyssa and it makes me wonder what's going on with you. I hope you're okay, even though I don't know you. I've been in this city a long time and nothing ever changes. Every once in a while, somebody gets a bee in their bonnet but nothing ever changes except to get incrementally worse. There's nothing at all on the horizon to suggest otherwise. How do you fire up a populace that has been brought up to conform, not question anything and just go along with authority?. Screaming doesn't count. Lots of ineffective people scream. We shouldn't confuse things like typing into a keyboard with constructive change. There's absolutely nothing going on in Indy that suggests our future will be any different than our past. This city is circling the drain. Eventually it will make that gurgling sound, and that will be that. I kind of hope it happens on Smokin' Joe's watch. It's fitting. A bigger turd I've never seen, besides Ballard, I mean.

Anonymous said...

Hogsett and Ballard are lowlife politicians who need to get run out of town!

Downtown Indy said...

The WRTV story today is quite interesting, too. What is this company that was formed and a week later donated $50,000 to Hogsett? New companies don't normally have that sort of spare change to toss around. New companies don't usually have such secretive identities, either.