Saturday, October 10, 2015

Long-Time Fort Wayne City Clerk Caught On Video Shaking Down Employees For Campaign Contributions, Threatening Their Jobs

Fort Wayne City Clerk Sandy Kennedy
UPDATED: Public corruption cases are rarely easy for prosecutors to prosecute, but a former Fort Wayne city employee has provided them unequivocal video evidence the city's long-time city clerk and other employees in her office performed political work on government time, solicited campaign contributions from them during working hours and threatened their jobs if they didn't support financially the campaign of her chosen successor in this November's municipal election. When the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel's Kevin Leininger confronted City Clerk Sandy Kennedy (D) and her attorney, Mark GiaQuinta with video evidence he secretly-recorded of the illegal campaign activities of Kennedy and other employees of the office, GiaQuinta advised her not to speak. Other than dismiss the allegations as "lies," Leininger said Kennedy had nothing to say about the explosive allegations.

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 precinct committee members. "I hope they all get beat," Kennedy adds.

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.


Anonymous said...

Interesting story. I want to hear one more time from the left liberal Democrats how amoral are their adversaries. Thank God for video on cell phones. This Democrat hack should be immediately jailed, sentenced, and serve some serious time!

Anonymous said...

Corruption is so blatant and out of control that the only way integrity and honesty can be restored is to "swing' some of these elected officials from light posts in the middle of town. Similar to how the Roman's dealt with corrupt officials in their hey day. I would bet it would only take a few examples of this extreme punishment and many of the undesirables who inhabit (infest) public office would straighten up or move on. Betraying the public trust should be punishable by death.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:56 Puhlease. There's a sickness on both sides of the aisle. Stop advancing this false us-good, them-bad dichotomy. That's what you're being programmed to believe. Stop being such a tool and learn how to think, please. America needs you to think.

Flogger said...

>>> In another meeting with parking enforcement employees, Kennedy can be heard reminding the employees they are no longer protected by the union.<<<

Interesting comment. Let's hope this is vigorously prosecuted and all these corrupt officials are rounded up and jailed. By the way they should lose their pensions too if found guilty.

Josh said...

She has the pig eyes of Ed Shultz, I can easily picture them both in the back of some soviet cattle truck, holding truncheons and ready to leap out and bash in the heads of the proletariat at their stalinist masters order.