Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi says his office is looking into whether a special prosecutor will be needed to investigate the deal that is putting a bar in the Carson Center. Brizzi says his office is conducting research to see if there were any statute violations concerning the agreement and zoning. If criminal charges have to be filed, Brizzi says a special prosecutor would have to fully investigate because he is a Republican and majority of the players involved in the bar are Democrats.
According to Star editorial writer RiShawn Biddle, the Star's editorial revelation on Friday that Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer didn't even bother to execute a lease with the political insiders before he turned government building space over to the group of political insiders to pursue their private venture is what prompted Brizzi's preliminary investigation. Biddle writes:
The initial inquiry, according to Brizzi, was prompted by revelations in Friday's Star editorial that Drummer allowed construction of the bar without actually having a lease in place, which at the least, violates a cannon of the real estate business. Landlords in general don't even allow tenants to build out or even walk onto the property until a lease is signed; after all, the landlords are held liable for, say, an injury to a carpenter or other adverse actions on the site.
Brizzi says his office is only conducting 'research' on the matter because there are questions as to whether the possible violations have any related criminal statutes. As with, say, regulations from the state Department of Environmental Management, a violation of state law may not always be a criminal -- and therefore, prosecutable -- offense. If there are any possible statutes, then Brizzi will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the conduct of Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer and the rest of the players in the proposed bar.
Brizzi expects to have an answer in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, expect Drummer and Co., all Democrats, to make an issue of the fact that the prosecutor is a Republican and possibly in a tough re-election bid against Democrat rival Melina Kennedy.
Let me begin by saying that Brizzi's suggestion that he must appoint a special prosecutor to handle the matter if his preliminary investigation warrants a criminal prosecution because he's a Republican and the people being investigated are Democrats is a load of crap. The Marion Co. Prosecutor's office should have the best resources in the state for investigating public corruption, particularly since the seat of state government and the city's largest municipality is situated in Marion Co. The fact of the matter is that his office has been lousy at prosecuting political corruption and is pretty much devoid of any public integrity division to handle these types of matters. If it's his position that he cannot lead an investigation simply because the target of the investigation is a member of the opposing party, then he should just get the hell out of the office and turn it over to someone with the moxy to get the job done.
It's funny that Brizzi didn't have any trouble investigating every conspiracy theory his former boss Rep. Dan Burton could imagine about former President Bill Clinton, including the "Hillary murdered Vince Foster theory", when he worked on the House Government Reform Committee, but he has completely buried his head in the sand when it comes to investigating obvious cases of public corruption as the state's leading, elected prosecutor.
There is absolutely no question that public laws have been broken to bring about this bar/private club in government-owned property. Firstly, Indiana law does not give Drummer authority to hand over public property to private investors to use for their own pecuniary gain without following the statutory requirements for leasing public property. By giving over control of government-owned property to the political insiders on a mere handshake agreement, Drummer flat out violated Indiana law. In addition to violating state laws governing leases of public property, he permitted the political insiders to perform construction work without obtaining the property permits, without obtaining rezoning/variance approvals and without following state and local building code regulations. He could be prosecuted for official misconduct under I.C. 35-4-1-2 for those acts alone.
A more thorough investigation would have to be conducted to determine whether the actions of Drummer, zoning officer Judith Conley, City-County Councilors Lonnell Conley and Monroe Gray and other public officials on behalf of the investors were motivated by anything of value they were offered in exchange for their services in violation of the state's bribery statute (I.C. 35-44-1-1) or conflict of interest statute (I.C. 35-44-1-3, as well as the official misconduct. These are all felony statutes by the way. Drummer could also be liable to the township if he is found to have misused public funds for this private venture. And of course, let's not forget Indiana's RICO statute. Because it required the cooperative efforts of several individuals to bring about these illegal acts, conspiracy charges may be in order.
Frankly, I have no confidence that any investigation conducted into this matter by either the Marion Co. Prosecutor's office or an appointed special prosecutor will get to the bottom of this matter based upon past performance. Only the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office are capable of effectively handling this type of investigation. Enough evidence has surfaced in the public arena to warrant an independent investigation by federal prosecutors. Time and time again the feds have proven far more effective at cleaning up public corruption throughout the country at the local level than local prosecutors. This has been particularly true in our neighboring state of Illinois.
It's time for the FBI and the U.S. Attorney to take action to protect the public. I'm not at all confident that will take place either. Despite apparent corrupt influence involving federal funds at the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute under the direction of former executive director Heather Bolejack, the feds stayed on the sidelines while Brizzi referred that matter to a special prosecutor. You've seen what's happened there all these months later in spite of all the publicly available evidence--absolutely nothing. I would not be surprised at all to see this public corruption matter get swept under the rug just like it has been in the past.
"Pattern of racketeering activity" means engaging in at least two (2) incidents of racketeering activity that have the same or similar intent, result, accomplice, victim, or method of commission, or that are otherwise interrelated by distinguishing characteristics that are not isolated incidents.
"Racketeering activity" means to commit, to attempt to commit, to conspire to commit a violation of, or aiding and abetting in a violation of any of the following:
(1) A provision of IC 23-2-1 , or of a rule or order issued under IC 23-2-1.
(16) Fraud (IC 35-43-5-4(1) through IC 35-43-5-4 (10)).
(17) Bribery (IC 35-44-1-1).
(18) Official misconduct (IC 35-44-1-2).
(19) Conflict of interest (IC 35-44-1-3).
(20) Perjury (IC 35-44-2-1).
(21) Obstruction of justice (IC 35-44-3-4).
(22) Intimidation (IC 35-45-2-1).
(24) Promoting professional gambling (IC 35-45-5-4).
(30) Money laundering (IC 35-45-15-5).".
Hey, Brizzi, take your pick...Melenna's neck and neck with you, plus she's getting most of the black vote.
The black community will stand behind those who are remonstrating against this bar...which means they'll stand behind you, if you bulk-up and show the African-American community that you care about them. Right now the jury is out and folks are critizing your new commerical for having "all black" gangmembers. I don't know if this is true or not..but the blacks noticed of course.
If you don't pursue this, no one will have confidence in you, EVER.
Wanna make a name for yourself Nationally, "take down" the Ghetto Mafia of Marion County--Even if you just promised to take them down. The sign of how a prosecutor feels about a particular segment of a community is whether he will protect that segment from harm and/or rid them of tyranny.
Also, getting tough on crime should be focused on public crime that breads private crime. These characters involved help add to the erosion of the urban sociological behavior by promoting rowdiness, heavy drinking and anti-social behavior, plus creating "barriors" to development of those not in small circle.
These have been the black leaders of the past 20-35 years...these are the resultant children they led.
Attack the source...
Thanks for the acknowledgment, but just for the record the Brizzi people did "respond through me." I simply ran into Carl at a function and asked a question and he gave me a response.
Unlike some other media folks in this town, I try to attend as many events as possible, because you never know what nugget of info you'll come across.
I am not willing to go out on a limb and say individuals and , no matter how distateful I find their actions, say they broke the law without having all the evidence.
I think this is a rotten deal and it was wrong, but that's different than saying someone broke the law.
I appreciate the mention though and Advance Indiana does do a good job of bringing issues to the forefront.
My Plea to Prosecutor Brizzi:
HELP! HELP! HELP! HELP! HELP!
The African American Community wants an investigation. To hell with The Demorats on this one! Clean it up! Let the facts speak for themselves.
We are sick and tired, of being sick and tired. These people have taken our votes, spent our money, do not return phone calls, THEY ARE AN EMBARASSMENT.
The nerve of Carl Drummer hiring a PR firm to respond to the public about his dealings with those investors. Is he paying the PR Firm and lawyers with our money or his campaign money?
Not one problem has been solved under their leadership in 30 years.
Our children are hurting!
They are living high on the hog with these jobs. They don't even speak to you when you see them in public. They don't know you.
A private bar in our government building. Carl Drummer and Julia Carson the 3 buildings belong to the taxpayers of Center Township. Are not your personal properties.
How dare you deny a citizen access to those buildings by ordering security guards paid with our tax money not to let them in!
These people are power hungry, greedy and out of control! They probably think they are above the law1 The Untouchables
As the city progresses, we have been left behind. The Ghetto Mafia has held us back in this city. No wonder all white people think most black people are alcoholics, drug addicts, and partying all the time.
Will someone in authority, please help us? Hello, is there anybody home?
What an excellent post, AI. The Abdl-Brizzi claim was a little far-fetched, but hey, what the heck?
Conspiracy and RICO statutes were definitely violated here.
But I, like you, have no faith in Brizzi's ability to see through it. Politically, he has much to gain and almost nothing to lose. Those who would mock his investigation into this bar, aren't going to vote for him anyway. Those who are going to praise him are either his supporters or people like me--Center Township folks who are watching.
The most-surprising item in your post: that Brizzi once worked for Dan Burton
That almost makes me throw up.
The DC buzz about those who worked for Burton during the Vince Foster days: complete and total zealots and opportunists. Why? Because no one, underline NO ONE, of any reasonable amount of power in that town, thinks Burton is bright enough to come in out of the rain. He was a subcommittee chair because he'd made his deal with Gingrich back when, and he had the most seniority. Once his term as chair was over, the leadership was all to happy to disband Burton's band of merry men...they were a complete embarrassment.
What exactly, does it take for the FBI to intervene in cases like this? Just curious.
Prosecutor Brizzi has been working with black clergy all year to my knowledge quietly behind the scenes, discussing solutions to the high crime rate. He has made himself available to us and has directed us.
He did not ask for any publicity about these meetings which were ongoing. Carl Brizzi is a sincere and dedicated public official.
He has set time aside to meet with our black youth to discuss the murders and gang activity in the city. He has attended funerals of some of the murdered victims, without fanfare. I was present at one meeting in a church called by the clergy last month. He listens first, offers solutions, and makes staff available in his office to work with the community, the bottle line, HE REALLY CARES!
His style is different than most public officials; he did not want his deeds publicized.
I am confident that Prosecutor Brizzi will make the right decision in this matter regarding the Bar/Restaurant Deal. Whether or not it merits a grand jury investigation first or a special prosecutor.
I dare Amos Brown, and the Democrats to play the "RACE CARD" on this one!
He had expressed interest in developing solutions to problems before Channel 8, and WTLC held their town hall meetings and the Mayor appointed his blue ribbon task force to identify the causes for the high murder rate.
He has been ahead of the game the whole time and the clergy know it.
Ms. Kennedy is incorrect about his involvement to help deter crime in our community and his desire to prosecute the offenders.
Our prosecutor has been doing the job he was elected to do.
For the record, I just met him this year in meetings with the clergy to get to know him.
Abdul, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate that Brizzi communicated it to you informally, but he's a smart man and he knew you would report the fact because it is a news-worthy item. He knows that would be red meat to your readers and listeners. His office really should have put a press release out on it, though, if they considered it an important matter. Just from what has become publicly known, there is more than enough evidence to launch a formal investigation. What concerns me is that, by dragging his feet, he gives people the opportunity to shred documents, dump e-mails, and "paper files" for this illegitimate deal. He's, in effect, used you to give them a heads up to get everything in order before the investigators arrive. Your investigation is far more effective if you surprise them with visits from investigators, supoenas and even search warrants served on certain individuals. That's obviously not going to be the case here.
My gut feeling (and I as a layman may not be familiar with all the pros and cons) is that a special prosecutor is indeed the better route. IF you have an elected official of one party going after an elected official of another, and throw in racial differences, and an election year, then you have a volatile mix in which the integrity of the investigation will be publicly impugned as partisan, regardless of the integrity of the individuals involved. So that the integrity of the investigation and its results under these circumstances are crystal clean in the public's mind, I tend to think a special prosecutor is appropriate.
Chris, the Marion Co. Prosecutor's office has more than 150 full-time professionals. These are people who stay whether Brizzi or anyone else is elected to run the office. If the threshold for appointing a special prosecutor is that someone belongs to the opposite political party, then we better come up with a new system for selecting prosecutors. If the investigation was of Melina Kennedy, the special prosecutor would make sense. Or in the case of Heather Bolejack it made sense because Brizzi's office had solicited funding from her agency and was a witness to a key event in that investigation. Former prosecutors Scott Newman and Steve Goldsmith handled investigations of people from both their own party and the Democratic Party. By Brizzi's standard, he couldn't investigate Republicans either.
I wonder if Carl Brizzi was an assistant for Danny Burton's infamous Watermelon Shootout?
Wilson, I think brother Woody was his assistant on that one. I think Woody balanced the watermelon on his head while Dan took the shot.
I think its interesting that agian Brizzi has responded to anything through his partisan mouthpiece Abdul. I'm becoming curious is Abdul is on the payroll (either campaign or MCPO's)
If Brizzi's office investigated and prosecuted on this case each of you would be jumping on him for a political prosecution.
If a special prosecutor is appointed it is because he wants to avoid any problems and bring the wrong-doers to justice.
The office would do all of the work. The special prosecutor would simply make a determination on charges and would then handle the case. It eliminates the appearance of any impropriety.
Thanks again. I mean to say in my earlier post Brizzi did NOT choose me to respond, I just asked a question when I ran into him. My apolgies for any confusion. I know this will be a close race for prosecutor and what pundit doesn't appreciate a good fight.
I've got a new piece out on Monroe Gray I think you will find interesting.
Abdul on the payroll...
Abdul, And that was good reporting on your part to ask the question. As I said before, however, Brizzi is a smart man and he could have chosen to skirt your question. He did not. He knew that you would report it, and he knew that it would be news. He could have chosen to put out a formal press release, or he could have volunteered that information to someone else in the press. You did what any good reporter should do. Ask the tough questions and then report it.
It's funny. When I supported consolidation, and still do as long as it is done right, I was on Peterson's payroll. Now I'm on the GOP's. Will somebody please tell me where all the money is because I want a new flat screen TV.
Abdul, I think the special prosecutor should be an African-American. It it's a white person, they'll scream bloody murder.
LOL @ Abdul
I wanna gig like that, so I can collect money from these outfits that I'd supposedly be on their payrolls.
Who says radio is a "dollar a day" business?
Ghetto Mafia Queen has not paid her dues to the National Party
Democrats that have not paid DCCC Dues
Democrats that have not paid DCCC Dues House Democrats are required to pay between $100,000 and $600,000 in quarterly dues to the DCCC, depending on leadership positions and committee assignments. Members in the DCCC’s Frontline program — those facing tough reelection contests — are exempted from the requirement.
All but 16 House Democrats have contributed dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) this cycle, swelling the committee’s coffers with $18.4 million since early 2005, according to the most recent synopsis distributed to House Democrats.
Among the 16 Democrats who had yet to make a contribution, despite leaders’ repeated urging and occasional threats, are several members who have been at odds with leaders.
The other lawmakers not making dues payments are Reps. Jim McDermott (Wash.), Jim Davis (Fla.), Julia Carson (Ind.), Darlene Hooley (Ore.), Brad Miller (N.C.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Del. Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa).
Four years ago Sheriff Jack Cottey and former Lawrence Mayor Tom Schneider were still calling the shots in the Marion Co. GOP. Both Schneider and Cottey are very close to Dan Burton. The three of them got together and agreed that Brizzi would be the next prosecutor and Schneider the next sheriff. Brizzi made it, but Schneider got tripped up by Anderson.
"The three of them got together and agreed that Brizzi would be the next prosecutor and Schneider the next sheriff"
So what? Now we have Bart Peterson and Julia Carson deciding that Frank Anderson and Melina Kennedy will be the sheriff and prosecutor. The roots of Democratic corruption run deep folks. Welcome to Gary South.
offtopic - the verification letters for this post are wmpac .. Wal Mart Political Action Committee??
It's apparent that you don't know Brizzi at all. He is on no-one's
pocket or owes anyone any favors
including Burton. Brizzi returned
from Washington early sick to his
stomach from the abuse both parties
initiate. I know him well, call his
office with your concerns rather than smearing one of few honest and caring elected officials.
Has anyone noticed that Brizzi is out there alone..no republican officials tooting his horn like the
mayor,sheriff and Monroe Gray for
their candidate. That's because
unlike Kennedy, after Brizzi wins he will not be in debt to look the other way and allow additional abuse of the law. Brizzi is not in the Republican's pocket or anyone
else. Get to know him.
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