Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why Hobbs And Not Drummer

Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's office has filed two Class D felony charges against Lawrence Township Trustee Mike Hobbs (D) alleging he used fire department funds to pay $500 rent on his apartment instead of the charitable purpose he reported to the fire department which wrote the check. Hobbs is charged with theft and official misconduct. If convicted, he will have to resign as Trustee. Although the amount involved is rather trivial, the charges are quite serious. I would hope Hobbs is proven innocent of the charges for no other reason than he seemed to have a bright future as a young African-American leader until his life began to unravel, first with a DWI a few months ago and now today's felony charges.

What Hobbs is charged with allegedly took place in February. Brizzi's office seemed to waste little time in bringing charges against him. Meanwhile, Brizzi's office has been in possession for more than a year of far more serious allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer. Yet, nothing has progressed, even after it was brought to the attention of Brizzi's office that Drummer admitted during a tape-recorded interview with Abdul Hakim-Shabazz that he had turned over government-owned property in the Julia Carson Government building to private investors, who are also close political supporters, to build out a restaurant/bar space without entering into a formal lease or ensuring that building and zoning code requirements were fulfilled. Mayor Peterson's DMD cleaned up the latter mess after the fact, but even when the 300 East investors went before the Marion Co. Alcoholic Board they were unable to produce a written lease entered into with those investors by Drummer on behalf of Center Township. Clearly, Drummer broke Indiana law.

Why no charges of official misconduct against Drummer, Mr. Brizzi? Moreover, an IBJ investigative piece uncovered further allegations that Drummer was using township property to store privately-owned collector cars. Again, no investigation by Mr. Brizzi. Why? Is Mr. Drummer's wrongdoing any less of a violation of the public trust than Mr. Hobbs' alleged breach of the public trust?


Wilson46201 said...

So what are you implying about County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I just think he owes the public an explanation of what his office has done to investigate serious allegations of wrongdoing in Drummer's office. Early media reports said his office was looking into the matter, but we've never received any further information from his office on what an investigation found, if it was conducted, and why charges haven't been brought.

Wilson46201 said...

So ask him, Gary!

Anonymous said...


You're a lawyer, please detail the code sites of the laws you think Drummer broke. While we may not like the things he does, and normal electorate should throw him out on his ass, he seems to skate just barely on the right side of legal.

Anonymous said...

7:56: when Mr. Drummer used township property to store personal vehicles for free, which I know for a fact he has done for long periods of time, he commited theft by conversion.

And I am 100% certain the prosecutor's office has had this information for at least seven months.

Plus, altho it's not illegal, he's a first-class prick. Driving around in a township-paid unmarked police cruiser, fully outfitted.

To chase all those skalawag poor relief receipients, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Modisett looked the other way on Julia Carson when she was Trustee.

Unknown said...

Drummer may owe the public an explanation, but 7:56 is correct - Brizzi is not following up on this because what Drummer did is not a crime. No statute prohibits turning over property to investors without a lease or without obtaining proper zoning for the intended use.

Nor is keeping vehicles on township property conversion, which a quick check of the statute will confirm - check IC 35-43-4-3. And the definition of "exert control over property" at IC 35-43-4-1 makes this even more clear.

Hobbs, on the other hand, stole money and used it to pay his rent.

Anonymous said...

Let's see....Drummer is on the tax delinquincy list (as is banned Wilson).

Drummer has a patronage payroll over 100+ employees...that are not needed. He has 3 giant buildings owned by taxpayers that are not needed, and one has a bar owned by cronys.

Drummer has a car illegally equipped with flashing lights and siren....

The owners of that bar are members of The Democrat Machine.

It stinks!

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 7:56, I wrote plenty about the Drummer legal issues at the time. Please feel free to check the archives under his name.

Anonymous said...

Drummer shoul pay the township for storage of his automobiles in the Mass Annex Building.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sorry, Lord Peter, but I happen to know a little bit about Indiana's public leasing laws. Drummer had no legal authority to hand over possession of township property without entering into a lease as provided by law. There is a reason behind that statute and this case presented no better example. The investors were allowed to make substantial improvements to the property before any attempt had been made to obtain the required building and zoning code requirement. Drummer gave them possession of the property rent-free. They had it for nearly a year before they were allowed to open for business legally. Drummer told Shabazz he hadn't even decided how much rent he was going to charge them. He said it would depend on how large their investment wound up being. The township's attorneys, Ice Miller, handled all the legal problems, even though one of its own partners had an ownership interest in 300 East. Drummer's blatant disregard for state and local laws does constitute official misconduct in office under my interpretation of the statute. And I disagree entirely with you that it is not illegal to give yourself or others rent-free space in a government-owned building with respect to the private collector cars.

Anonymous said...

Attaboy, Gary!

Also from personal experience: using government property for a use that you'd otherwise have to pay a decent amount of money (as in free storage) is theft.

Taking an office pen home mitakenly, of course, is not.

Ergo the statutes use of the phrase "of reasonable value."

The Marion County prosecutor had, last Decemeber, two felony-free good citizens, wiling to testify under oath, that they'd seen the vehicles stored and that Drummer bragged he paid no rent. A quick search of township records would prove the rental thing.

For reasons I do not understand the prosecutor did not follow through.

I do know that Ice Miller was consulted about this situation, because the township's legal bills outlined the attorneys' discussion with certain authorities on this issue.

Seems like the circle is complete. Unless the township and Ice Miller conspired to alter the legal bills.

Or deny them altogether, as in the Lawrence Water "scrivener's notes" situation.

Anonymous said...

Why not The Machine?

Never has there been so much corruption in Indianapolis public office...Democrats are corrupt.

Ghost employment, Official misconduct, theft of government funds, patronage, incompetence....DEMOCRATS

Anonymous said...

9:30...don't forget Tax & Spend, and the elected Democrats ignore their tax bills and for some reason there is no tax sale of their property!

Look at the list of elected Democrats who are delinquent in their taxes!