Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Will Ballard Bring An End To Pea Shakes?

A recent post at IndyUndercover declared that Mayor-elect Greg Ballard plans to permanently close down the pea shake houses which are blighting troubled inner-city neighborhoods. This pea shake house shown above located at 1502 N. Columbia Avenue was reportedly raided by IMPD for the third time in the last year this past Friday. Like most of these pea shake raids, it reopened within days. As one concerned neighborhood described the scene to me today:

At 1:15 PM there were at least 40 cars minimum around the place with people milling about. Generally, they shake the numbers at 12 noon, 3 and 6 pm but the times may vary from house to house. Given the fact that this very place was raided for the third time in 12 months just a few days ago I was amazed that it was up and running again so quickly. I was also amazed that this property essentially falls in the area of the Martindale Brightwood redevelopment area that one developer is sinking a lot of his own cash into. The next Fall Creek Place this area is not. Lord knows I wouldn't dump cash into an area where the numbers racket is running wide open.
People knowledgeable with this particular pea shake operation say it has operated as an illegal numbers house for at least 50 years. Property records list the owner as Elaine McGill. She has been represented in the past by the controversial City-County Council Counsel and attorney to outgoing CCC President Monroe Gray, Aaron Haith, on permit matters before the Metropolitan Development Commission. Although a sign on the building advertises Ms. Phil's Cafe and another sign says Soul Food, it is unmistakeably a numbers-running establishment.

A source tells Advance Indiana that the establishment mostly hires convicted felons to run the place, a way of helping out otherwise unemployable persons. Last week's arrest reportedly nabbed seven persons, including four women and three men. The women were said to have been detained overnight, while the men were back on the streets within a couple of hours. The source says the real managers of the pea shake house are never on site when an arrest takes place. In the opinion of the source, Indianapolis mayors, police and prosecutors have protected the people behind this illegal gambling operation for decades. "This thing isn't a penny ante craps game going on behind a liquor store, it's serious money," the source says.

So it begs the question, who are the person(s) behind Indianapolis' illegal numbers syndicate? And why are Indianapolis' mayors, police and prosecutors protecting them? While such operations in many other larger cities have been all but eliminated, they operate openly and with impunity in the City of Indianapolis. One would think the introduction of casino gambling in the state of Indiana in the 1990s would have put added pressure to put these illegal gambling establishments out of business for no other reason than to eliminate needless competition. Rumors persist that recently-departed U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks' office sat on evidence gathered during a several-year investigation, which could have been put to good use to put this racket out of business for good. She sits as a member of Mayor-elect Greg Ballard's transition team. I wish she would come forward and clear the air on this issue. I will gladly post her response to these rumors for all to see. Her silence in the face of this criticism only fuels the suspicions held by many of us.

Mayor-elect Ballard owes the old guard which has been protecting the numbers syndicate all these years nothing. He can take a big step towards helping rebuild blighted neighborhoods by closing down the pea shake houses for good. They simply prey on the poor and breed crime wherever they exist. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi needs to get on board as well. This revolving door game his office is playing with police has got to stop.


Anonymous said...

Maybe we need to take to the streets like the people of Palerno in Sicily once did to take back their city from the mafia.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that Ballard has NEVER stated publicly that intends to do ANYTHING about the pea-shakes.
The "source" (Abdul Hakim-Shabaz) at IndyUndercover, made that statement because he (IndyU) is losing readers.

This is going about as well as the "back-pay for some officers" and "Sweet-Pea Gray" being indicted by the GJ"
All talk with NO SUPPORT!
IndyU has lost a ton of it's credibility in the past 3 months.

At least AI has documentation to support (most of) what is posted.
This post is an exception!

garyj said...

Maybe he will just to prove a point to the Sheriff that criminal activity will not be tolerated.
Then again, pea-shakes seeo be like ants! You can't put an end to them, but you can control them.

I just wonder if Monroe Gray will be arrested if he gets caught at one.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 9:17, Ballard did state in a televised debate on WRTV that he would support efforts to close down the pea shake houses. Here's what I wrote at the time:

"Hats off to Norm Cox for questioning Peterson about the city's lackluster effort at closing down the city's pea shake houses--the illegal gambling operations in primarily African-American neigbhorhoods which are also associated with drugs, guns and prostitution. Unbelievably, Mayor Peterson claimed he had nothing to do with recent efforts to close the pea shakes. He stated flat out he never called up the police chief and asked him to raid pea shake houses. They have operated uninterrupted throughout the eight years he has been mayor of the city. It wasn't until the blogs and local news media started making waves this past year about the pea shakes that city police started raiding them. As Cox pointed out, the illegal businesses often reopened within days of a police raid. Peterson denied this was happening, but I don't know how he would know since he claimed he never spoke to the police chief about them. Ballard agreed the pea shakes needed to be closed down, but he failed to capitalize on the point by criticizing Peterson for failing to do anything to shut them down for the past eight years to the detriment of these troubled neighborhoods."

Anonymous said...

The time is now, or it will never happen. Ballard cannot be given any "grace period". He must immediately address these problems, or he will quickly become a part of them. No grace period. Is he real, or just another politician in the making?
You are who you associate with. It is troubling to read the connection to the past.

Anonymous said...

Since Carl Brizzi is asleep on duty, and won't file the Racketeering, bribery, corrupt business influence, and official misconduct charges against the Democrat Machine & Ghetto Mafia, it is time for a REAL LEADER to step in and use the Indiana nuisance statutes to eliminate the pea shakes!

"There's a new Corporation Counsel in town! You can take that to the bank!"

Anonymous said...

AI, that still doesn't say that he will shut them down.
Sheriff Anderson said the same thing. See where that got us? Pea_Shakes are here to stay!
The police know it, Carl (not enough evidence) Brizzi knows it, and the Feds. know.
May as well ignore the pea shakes.
We seem to ignore more violent vrimes.

Anonymous said...

The most insidious thing isn't that these houses have operated for years under multiple mayors, prosecutors and sheriffs.

It's most idiotic that certain folk feel the need to public SUPPORT these houses of ill repute. Loudly and publicly. Because they employ folks and donate money to charity.

Those who speak so loudly demonstrate their true ethical values. If you wash your hands in that basin, your hands get dirty.

Anonymous said...

ask Murray Clark.

The history of Indianapolis isn't all written in the books.

But it's out there.

Anonymous said...

In the long history of illegal numbers racketeering covering every major city in the United States there has never been a single instance where organized crime was not involved in the control and operations of these enterprises. Indianapolis is no exception.

The rake from the illegal numbers racket is astounding. The odds of winning and receiving a payout on a three number shake are 1000 to 1 The math is simple, for every 1000 bets taken there are 999 losers. The profit in the numbers racket is so ridiculously high that it's virtually a given that organized crime always controls such businesses.

The Indianapolis numbers racket in the black community came under the control of Chicago mobster Sam "Momo" Giancana when Giancana wrested control of the numbers operation on Chicago's African-American South Side in the late 1950's. After Momo's death it is uncertain as to who the Indianapolis racket was was passed to.

There is some speculation that a current well known and respected Indianapolis businessman and power broker aided and abetted in the protection of and laundering of profits from the Indianapolis numbers racket during and after the Giancana era.

There is absolutely no question that organized crime controls the numbers racket in Indianapolis.
The real question that remains unanswered is exactly who the leader or leaders are of this syndicate.

Someone in this city has the answers but it will take a Federal Grand Jury to make them talk.
An annual rake of millions of dollars in profits, taken from this city's poorest citizens, is going into the pockets of organized crime.


You won't find the answer on IndyUndercover. That site has always been used as a means of gathering information. The latest post by blogger Joe Friday concerning Ballard shutting down the numbers racket was a ruse to gain information. That information is past on to various law enforcement officers involved in protecting the illegal numbers operation. Crooked cops on the take in our fine city? More than you can count.

Anonymous said...

I don't know directly, I wasn't around in the 50's & 60's in this town. But the rumors were always that certain groups of Jewish & Irish immigrants had agreements and basically controlled the numbers games, money on the street (lending), real estate, cops & politics in the near downtown neighborhoods, bringing in Blacks as they gained influence. As the Jewish & Irish communities dimished or became assimilated and moved from those neighborhoods, African-Americans gained more control & influence and were the primary base of customers as well, but some of the older guard still owned the real estate.

There are a lot of stories about these groups, their influence with cops & city hall.

Again, don't know how much of it is true, just legend from old politicos in this town.

Anonymous said...

Damn Gary...you have a memory like a 100 gig harddrive! I don't know how you do it!

Anonymous said...

Peterson should be embarassed he allowed these places to operate under his ultimate protection.

When I think of Peterson's legacy, I'll always think of the pea shake operations.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a clue why the local news media has not been looking into Abdul and Ike Randolph's role in IndyUndercover? Randolph is already boasting about his new Deputy Mayor job in the Ballard administration. A background investigation would uncover a lot of troubling things which should disqualify him from holding a high-ranking job in the administration. The Democrats have this information. Does the Ballard transition team?

Anonymous said...

anon 6:47 here. I found this in AI's archives from 5-31-2006:

The report discusses a meeting McKenna had with Indianapolis city-county councilor Isaac Randolph to discuss the SKIP program. Bolejack introduced McKenna to Randolph because he had experience managing a similar program for the Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group for which he had previously been employed as an executive director. The report only tells us that Randolph "was clear in articulating that at no point did he or Ten Point Coalition give McKenna permission to use either the concept or the name of the program."

What the report doesn't mention is the fact that McKenna and Randolph initially planned to partner together to win the grant according to an Indianapolis Star report. In fact, Randolph told the Star he e-mailed McKenna the details of the Ten Point SKIP program (which he obviously did without the consent of his former employer), but that McKenna cut off communications with him thereafter. Randolph assumed that McKenna had dropped the plan; instead, he incorporated it as his own, proving the old adage that there is no honor among thieves. While the IG's report ignores the part of the Star's report about the plan for McKenna and Randolph to partner on the grant application, it quotes McKenna in the report from that same article as saying, "I had no knowledge of any other program. This is a legal and valid program that I worked hard on."

It is also interesting to note that Randolph is a full-time employee of the Indianapolis Fire Department. What exactly was he doing pursuing government grant money to personally benefit himself while employed full-time by the taxpayers to do another job? It is clear that the IG's report went out of its way to insulate Randolph from any political fallout for his inappropriate involvement in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Just remembered where the history came up recently.

Harry and Izzy.

Someone should write a book about the history of illegal rackets in Indy.

Anonymous said...

A background investigation would uncover a lot of troubling things which should disqualify him from holding a high-ranking job in the administration. The Democrats have this information. Does the Ballard transition team?

RESPONSE: Supposed that's why they want him, because he's "dirty" manipulable. Remember Eugene Anderson, who they hired with a domestic battery conviction and fired when it was convenient.