Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Indianapolis City-County Council Ratifies Illegal, No-Bid Justice Center Contracts

Many readers of this blog have questioned the necessity of having a City-County Council for Indianapolis' municipal government given its track record the past few years of ceding its legislative authority to an imperial, dictatorial mayor. Mayor Greg Ballard undertook on his own a decision to acquire a $1.6 billion criminal justice center through a public-private partnership agreement. To support those efforts, he encumbered nearly $18 million in unappropriated funds to enter into no-bid contracts he awarded to law firms, consultants and the three hand-picked bidders themselves for participating in a project the City-County Council would ultimately turn down. Indiana law could not be more clear that those contracts are null and void on their face. Yet lame duck members of the Indianapolis City-County Council voted on a 16-9 vote last night to effectively ratify all of the law-breaking engaged in by outgoing Mayor Greg Ballard.

Proposal No. 339, sponsored by Councilor Will Gooden, authorizes the City to borrow $12 million to pay off the balance of the fees owed to the corrupt cabal of thieves who participated in the latest attempt to turn over another essential role of government to the politicians' favorite corporate cronies to exploit for their own profiteering purposes. Adding insult to injury, the borrowed money includes $2 million in fraudulent legal billings submitted by the two law firms in excess of the maximum billable amount they agreed to charge city taxpayers when they entered into the illegal, no-bid contracts with the Ballard administration. Bingham Greenbaum Doll agreed under the terms of its original contract it would bill city taxpayers no more than $1.5 million, while the Los Angeles law firm, Noosaman, agreed it would bill city taxpayers no more than $2.5 million. Despite the fact that neither law firm performed the anticipated heavy-lifting role on the tail-end of the project for closing the deal, both firms billed city taxpayers substantially more than the original contracted amount. Bingham tacked on another $1.5 million, doubling its original fee, and Noosaman tacked on more than $600,000 to its bill. The two firms have already been paid the original $4 million the City agreed to pay the firms to nobody's surprise. How do you think they afford those six-figure campaign contributions they make to these corrupt politicians and their luxury suites at our professional sports facilities to entertain them?

Council members agreed to borrow money to pay more than $11 million in unpaid bills incurred by the Ballard administration for its failed attempt to auction off our criminal justice system, including the more than $2 million in padded bills submitted by the two law firms. The corrupt Ballard administration claimed it had entered into amended agreements with the two law firms permitting them to pad their bills, but they failed to deliver proof of the amendments to the council's staff prior to last night's meeting. If the past is any indication, the administration had its attorneys rush out and draft documents, sign and backdate them to make it appear they had been executed in a kosher manner. Why not? They know our worthless federal and state prosecutors have granted them immunity from prosecution for engaging in criminal acts to allow for the theft of public funds and public assets. While Mayor Ballard deserves the most blame for this tawdry affair, Mayor-elect Joe Hogett shares blame as well. He told whistle blowers to buzz off when they went to him with incontrovertible evidence of corruption being committed by this administration during his tenure as federal prosecutor. He used that information to leverage his way into the mayor's office in diabolical fashion. He wanted these bills paid, too, because it included a $750,000 payment to his own law firm, which was essentially a pay off to his firm to cover the cost of employing him in a big six-figure, no-work, no-show job while he campaigned full-time for Indianapolis mayor over the past year.

At the end of the day, though, your elected council members had the right and duty to say no to all of it and pursue a legal remedy to bring Mayor Ballard and members of his administration to justice for all of their corrupt acts to defraud Indianapolis taxpayers. A majority of them proved they care more about taking care of their corporate cronies who wine and dine them and stuff money in their campaign wallets. The sixteen members who earned the right to have their pictures hanging permanently in the hall of shame include the following:

Jose Evans (R)
Aaron Freeman (R)
Will Gooden (R)
Pamela Hickman (D)
Jason Holiday (R)
Ben Hunter (R)
Maggie Lewis (D)
Bob Lutz (R)
Janice McHenry (R)
Jeff Miller (R)
Mary Moriarty-Adams (D)
Mike McQuillen (R)
Marilyn Pfisterer (R)
LeRoy Robinson (D)
Jefferson Shreve (R)
Jack Sandlin (R)

The nine council members who stood on the side of the rule of law and the taxpayers of Indianapolis in voting against the Proposal 339 are:

Zach Adamson (D)
Stephen Clay (D)
Monroe Gray (D)
LaKeisha Jackson (D)
Frank Mascari (D)
Bill Oliver (D)
Vop Osili (D)
Christine Scales (R)
Joe Simpson (D)

Kip Tew (D) abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest. His campaign treasurer is a partner at Bingham. The attorney council members who voted for this proposal should be holding their heads in shame. You are truly a disgrace to the legal profession of this state Freeman, Gooden and Lutz. I'm sure you all will be well-taken care of for putting the interests of the big law firms ahead of your constituents.


Anonymous said...

What the hell could those two law firms have possibly done for $4M on a project that never got off the ground? That must be a hell of a lot of billable hours, even at their grossly inflated hourly rates. No way are those fees legit.

Chas. M. Navarra said...

Thank you, Zach Adamson (D) and Christine Scales (R)... and the seven Democrat Councilors who voted for "the Marion County taxpayer" and for "the rule of law".

Anonymous said...

Time for referral...

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares. Mr. Welsh must be some kind of a kook. If this were a news story, wouldn't it be covered by the actual media, TV stations, Indy Star, IBJ, etc? I mean, everything I read made me feel like, if it were true, I should be really, really outraged. But if it were true, wouldn't there be a somewhat mainstream media outlet that would have a profit motive in bringing the story to tens of thousands of citizens, rather than the few handfuls of people who read this blog?

Gary R. Welsh said...

There are more than a handful of people who read this blog, anon. 11:35. The web stats indicate it is read by thousands daily. As for the lack of coverage by the the mainstream media, welcome to Indianapolis. This blog reported extensively throughout Ballard's failed attempt at privatizing the criminal justice system and the corruption and law-breaking taking place to make that happen. The council's own legal council testified at multiple meetings about the legality issues. The mainstream media just chose to ignore what he said. The management of the Star, IBJ and the TV stations each have management persons sitting on the board of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, a pseudo-government nonprofit agency housed in our City-County Building that pushed this project. GIPC said it was good for Indianapolis and so the reporters at these media outlets received their marching orders to report nothing but favorable stories about the project.