Friday, March 13, 2009

Tobias Says Clark Thoroughly Vetted

Indianapolis Airport Authority President Randall Tobias says the information disseminated by blogs like this one following this week's announcement that a selection committee he headed chose a controversial Jacksonville, Florida airport CEO, John D. Clark, III, to run the Indianapolis Airport Authority was not new information to him and that Clark had been thoroughly vetted. The IBJ's Chris O'Malley and Scott Olson write:

John D. Clark’s baggage has arrived at Indianapolis International Airport before he has — but it’s not the American Tourister variety.

The man nominated to be CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority has been a polarizing figure in Jacksonville, where he’s been CEO of the Florida city’s aviation authority since 2001. During that time, Clark amassed a long list of critics — ranging from the city council to airport police to neighborhood residents in the path of a proposed runway extension. Jacksonville’s alternative newspaper, Folioweekly, in November published a scathing article about Clark, painting him as a big spender with little regard for authority.

Recently named chairman of the North American division of Airports Council International, Clark has flown around the world for ACI conferences, at the airport authority’s expense. According to the newspaper, Clark has flown to Shanghai, Brussels, Frankfort, Paris, London and Buenos Aires in the past two years, racking up expensive hotel bills, including a $726-per-night room in Buenos Aires and $582 room in Paris. His trip to the London Air Show cost the authority $10,491 and his trip to Shanghai cost $11,304.

“I’ve said on several occasions I’d be happy to write him a letter of recommendation, if it got him a job somewhere else,” said Bill Bishop, a Jacksonville architect and city councilman who helped stop Clark and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority from extending a runway into a residential area.

Hours after the Indianapolis Airport Authority announced Clark’s selection on March 10, bloggers who had “Googled” his name starting having a field day questioning the authority’s CEO pick.

Indianapolis Airport Authority President Randall Tobias said he’s well aware of published reports on Clark and of blog chatter, but that the Jacksonville airport executive has been thoroughly vetted . . .

“We performed an exhaustive check of references” on Clark, said Tobias. “There’s kind of an old saying: If you haven’t irritated someone, you probably haven’t stretched to do your job.

John has very high marks,” said Tobias, noting his recognition by peers.

One would hope that someone with better judgment in the Ballard administration would step forward and deep six this appointment, but it is doubtful that will happen. Recall that Tobias was forced to resign his position at Bush's State Department following revelations by ABC News that he had been a customer of the D.C. Madam's escort business. Tobias denied receiving anything other than massages from the escort service. The Star reports today that Tobias recently filed for divorce.


Paul K. Ogden said...

It's really simple, Gary. Did Clark travel around the world on the public's dime traveling first class and staying in fancy hotels? Did he throw lavish parties using taxpayer's money. What is Clark's excuse for how he treated an open records request? That stunt alone, if true, should bar someone from serving in an office of public trust.

I'd like to know the answers to these questions. That Tobias would blow off the stories raised in that article is quite remarkable.

Fedup said...

Ask folks who really have experiences with Tobias. There is likely not a person in Indianapolis with a bigger ego. It makes sense that he would recruit someone like this as it appears he walks in the same way as Tobias. Seriously, look at T's history. I can only think that he has such low self esteem that he is required to seek out every form of self aggrandizement. Way to go Ballard. Another of your great empty suit approintments. Ask folks in the know how much T spends of the public money to enrich his ego. He only goes first class ++.

Downtown Indy said...

Strange logic. Ballard has irritated lots of people but hardly 'stretched to do his job' now has he?

artfuggins said...

What is the local GOP leadership going to do to stop these kinds of appointments? Ballard may just be another mayor surrounded by ethics challenged people like Peterson, he will be appointing Monroe Gray and Ron Gibson to some good job.

artfuggins said...

I hope Clark was vetted more thoroughly than the Bush administration vetted Tobias.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary, if you read the IBJ article closely I don't think Tobias said he knew about the information. He just said he had been thoroughly "vetted" and his references checked out.

Chris Worden said...

Did you guys hear Mr. Tobias is getting divorced? He'll have a lot less with which TO fly first class soon, I suspect.