|Fort Wayne City Clerk Sandy Kennedy|
The undercover video presented as proof of potentially multiple felony violations was captured by Colin Keeney, a former parking enforcement supervisor earning $45,000 a years who resigned his job last month after eight years on the job. Other employees, who wished to remain anonymous, corroborated the allegations Keeney and his undercover video show of brazen, illegal campaign activities and coercion being conducted by Kennedy in the city clerk's office during working hours, including campaign meetings discussing a fundraiser for Angela Davis, Kennedy's chief deputy in the city clerk's office who is running in this November's election to succeed Kennedy. The Democratic official, who will have served in that position for 32 years when she retires at the end of this year, is captured instructing city employees to contribute to Davis' campaign or face losing their jobs.
At least two other city clerk's employees appear to be complicit in Kennedy's illegal campaign activities, including Davis and her campaign treasurer, Patty Stahlhut. At one point in the video, Keeney captures Stahlhut accepting a campaign contribution demanded of him and other city employees at her work station, counting out the money and then marking a list Kennedy had instructed them to keep of which employees had contributed. Kennedy is heard telling Davis and Stahlhut during a campaign committee meeting taking place in a city clerk's office about how they need to approach city workers about making contributions to Davis' campaign or face losing their jobs. Stahlhut at one point asks Kennedy, "Is that legal? Cause I didn't think it was." Kennedy responded, "No, but let 'em try and turn it into an attorney. They'll be fired before the end of the year . . . Just tell 'em, you know, if they want a job, they're going to have to participate . . . And if they don't care about their job . . . Why forget about it." After the meeting concludes, Davis is captured instructing employees to share in the cost of her upcoming fundraiser and other preparations regarding an upcoming Mexican-themed fundraising event.
In another meeting with parking enforcement employees, Kennedy can be heard reminding the employees they are no longer protected by the union. "As all of you know, your jobs are at stake," Kennedy is heard saying as she tells them Davis needs help putting up campaign signs. "And, unfortunately, you're not protected by the union," Kennedy said. "And I'm afraid to be honest with you, Republicans come in here . . . they're gonna . . . parking will be gone." One of the enforcement officers ask Kennedy if the Republicans are "gonna do what Indy does," in reference to Mayor Ballard's controversial privatization of the city's parking meter assets to benefit his campaign contributors. "They'll outsource it," Kennedy replied. "I hope that doesn't happen," she said. "I've tried to save you all these years . . . So we've got to get Angie elected." She tells them she thinks they'll be okay "if a Democrat gets in." An employee tells Kennedy he has no problem helping put up campaign signs for Davis. "It's for a good reason . . . your job." Kennedy laughs, "Yeah, it is . . . It's a gooood reason." Kennedy is then seen returning to the front of the office to resume discussion of campaign activities with Davis during which Kennedy makes reference to "lazy damn PCs," which is short for parking control officers
Allen Co. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mike McAlexander told the News-Sentinel the prosecutor's office will investigate to determine if any laws were broken. "Obviously, when there are allegations of public misconduct, it's our responsibility to look at it," he said. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana has prosecuted cases similar to this one in Lake County. Lake Co. Surveyor George Van Til pleaded guilty in 2013 on federal charges he used employees and government resources for his campaign re-election. Van Til's guilty plea included six counts of wire fraud and $20,000 in restitution. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Interestingly, Kennedy raised eybrows back in 2011 when she filed an annual campaign finance report which listed her city clerk's office in Room 122 of the City-County Building as the address of her campaign committee. Angela Davis, Kennedy's campaign treasurer, filed the report. Made aware of the legal problem with using her city office as her campaign committee's official mailing address, she filed an amendment weeks later listing a private residence as the address of the campaign committee. Hat tip to the observant Fort Wayne reader for that item.