Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ballard Stacking CIB With More Conflicted Political Insiders

There isn't a campaign promise Greg Ballard won't break. Since becoming mayor of Indianapolis, Ballard has basically been conducting a public auction selling off the City to the highest bidders. This is once again reflected in the opportunity he passed up to clean up the corrupt Capital Improvement Board. Instead of appointing independent-thinking people who put the taxpayers' interests ahead of their own self-interests to the CIB, Ballard has announced a group of new appointees that is teaming with conflicts.

Ballard will replace the board's president, Bob Grand, whose law firm represented the Simons and their Indiana Pacers, with the Board's current treasurer, Ann Lathrop. She works for Crowe Horwath, a CPA consulting firm that relies heavily on government contracts. Because she is a former city controller and has strong political ties to people in government, she was hired by the Crowe Horwath (see water company deal) to help land new business for the firm through her political connections.

The list of remaining appointees don't get much better than Lathrop. Outgoing Chief of Staff Paul Okeson, who has just taken a job with a major city contractor and big political contributor, Keystone Construction, will be taking a seat on the board. Jim Dora, Jr. is a big hotel operator who just happens to own a hotel directly across the street from Lucas Oil Stadium. Carolene Mays, a Democrat, is the sister of businessman Bill Mays of 300 East infamy (the bar in the Julia Carson Government Center), the same brother who was recently tied to an insider trading scandal during the acquisition of a local bank on whose board he served. Carolene operates the Indianapolis Recorder, which her brother owns, a newspaper that serves the City's African-American community. Her newspaper went with the meme that guys like Monroe Gray and Ron Gibson were under attack because they were African-American; it had nothing to do with their public behavior and actions. Since when did we start putting newspaper publishers on public boards?

Ballard is reappointing Jay Potesta, a union boss for the Sheet Metal Workers union. Potesta's day job is to make sure as much of your taxpayer dollars as possible gets invested in public works projects that will employ his fellow union members at top dollar wages. He could give a damn less about the taxpayers' wallets. Ballard is also appointing David Shane, CEO of LDI, Ltd., a firm founded and chaired by businessman Andre Lacy. He previously served as an education adviser to Gov. Mitch Daniels. Shane is perhaps the only new appointee who might be capable of exercising independent judgment on the board.

If you had any doubt about Ballard's intentions, these latest round of appointees should leave no doubt in your mind. The guy is all about following the orders handed to him by a small group of elitist insiders who are all about lining their pockets at taxpayers expense. They throw Ballard free memberships to country clubs, treat him to expensive dinners, fill up his campaign coffers and take him on overseas junkets, and he's all too happy to turn over the City's checkbook to them to enjoy as they please. What a sell out of the first order.


Paul K. Ogden said...

So, Gary, does that mean our appointment fell through? Dang, I was looking forward to those free tickets.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I think the Legislature required one person from the hospitality industry. I just assumed it would be someone from the ICVA, not a hotelier. In any case, I expect they will help pressure the CIB to put more money into the ICVA's programs.

Downtown Indy said...

And no rumors about Levengood or Early, so apparently they are staying put?

The Star dares to call it 'up-ending' or the board. I call it shuffling the deck - for another game of 'eleven card monty.'

Gary R. Welsh said...

Early was appointed by the county commissioners. Still awaiting a decision on their appointee.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Ballard said Okeson will be negotiating with the Pacers, so I bet Early will be out. Okeson though has publicly stated how much the Pacers bring to the community and how we desperately need to keep them. He won't be any better than Early as far as Pacer giveaways and possibly worse.

Downtown Indy said...

One of the first things out of Lathrop's mouth this afternoon:

"Nobody ever 'cut' their way to prosperity."

Hang onto your wallets, folks.