Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Marion County GOP Must Demand Brizzi's Resignation

Marion County Republicans need to come to the realization very quickly that our Republican prosecutor has become badly tainted and has brought disgrace to the office with which he has been entrusted for the past seven years. For the sake of the integrity of our criminal justice system in this county, Carl Brizzi needs to resign his office immediately. Brizzi is knee deep in the Durham Ponzi scheme madness. He's not just a friend as he would like to describe him. He is a business partner and beneficiary of the largesse Durham acquired through his alleged Ponzi scheme.

Last week, we learned that Carl Brizzi had agreed to become a member of Fair Finance's board of directors. That's the same entity the federal government accused Durham of running like a Ponzi scheme for the last several years in a civil forfeiture action it filed last week and then abruptly withdrew on Monday after receiving assurances that Durham wouldn't further dissipate the assets in question. Brizzi was scheduled to receive a substantial annual salary for his service on Fair's board before resigning in the midst of questions about the company. Yesterday, we learned that the SEC has also launched an investigation of another company, CLST Holdings, a Texas-based company which Durham controls and which company acquired a substantial amount of receivables previously held by Fair Finance. Today, the Star's John Russell reports that Brizzi has owned more than $10,000 worth of stock in CLST since at least 2006. Brizzi purchased the stock before Durham gained control of the company. Brizzi tells Russell that he has lost money on that investment, but he fails to mention that he has been paid dividends of $2.10 per share on that stock. He refuses to answer questions about how he came to purchase the stock. If Brizzi acquired 100,000 or more shares as Russell's article suggests, he would have needed several hundred thousand dollars to purchase the stock several years ago when it was trading at a much higher price.

In addition, Brizzi is a part-owner of Harry & Izzy's. It's unclear where he got the money for that investment or how much he invested in it. What is known is that he used his connections to the Attorney General's office to skirt a state law that prohibits a law enforcement officer in this state from holding an interest in a liquor license. After the ATC turned down his bid to own a piece of Harry & Izzy's because of the prohibition, Brizzi came up with a scheme whereby his interest in the restaurant/bar was owned as a shareholder in a corporation instead of as a direct owner. The Attorney General's office issued an opinion that this arrangement would not violate the state law prohibition. In effect, the Attorney General's office created an exception that consumed the rule.

Brizzi has also invested in several rental properties. Again, where did the money come from to pay for those rental properties? Brizzi has lived like a multi-millionaire over the past several years thanks to his relationship with Durham. He has taken lavish vacations with him that most people could only dream of taking. Brizzi acknowledged receiving a gift of a trip to the 2007 Super Bowl from Durham worth $4,500; others would contend the size of the gift was even greater. Is Brizzi declaring these trips, gifts, meals, etc. as taxable gifts on his tax return? In 2004, Carl Brizzi faced several lawsuits for unpaid debts in Hamilton County. What caused the sudden turnaround in his financial status these past several years? And what about the $160,000 in campaign contributions Brizzi received from Durham while he acted as finance chairman for his campaign committee? These are all troubling questions that have simply tainted Brizzi so badly that he can no longer be trusted to serve as our county's prosecutor. Brizzi's current finance chairman is Larry Mackey, a well known criminal defense attorney at Barnes & Thornburg. How fitting.

If the Marion Co. Republicans want any hope of holding this office for another four years, it must act quickly to force Brizzi from office. Allowing someone a fresh start and an opportunity to restore confidence in an office that has become a laughing stock is critical if a Republican is to have even a fighting chance of winning that office next year. As an elected Republican precinct committeeperson in Marion County, I call on Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John to ask Brizzi to step down from his office.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Great post, Gary. I was thinking about posting something this morning about the fact that Republicans need a presecutor candidate and how the delay in Brizzi's announcement has left whoever will be the GOP candidate way behind in terms of fundraising.

I never thought Brizzi would run for a 3rd term. Now I'm sure of it. I think the delay is his announcement is to keep anyone but a hand-picked candidate by party leaders from competing at slating. Slating for this office is what - two months away?

M Theory said...

Wait until the fallout when the Amish start trying to get their investments back. You don't screw over the Amish. You won't win. The court of public opinion is going to fry Durham and Brizzi.

Downtown Indy said...

Seeing it all laid out in one report does make it look really bad. I'd forgotten about the H&I end-run.

There is clearly the appearance of two sets of rules, those of the well-connected and those of the ordinary folks.

Appearances matter.

Brizzi is unquestionably running as close to the out-of-bounds line as he can. The appearance is, he's probably crossed the line several times.

Cato said...


Except that Republicans, being born authoritarians, make horrible and draconian Prosecutors. What we don't need is a replacement Republican Prosecutor being installed and thereby being able to claim quasi-incumbency.

In Heaven, the cooks are French,
the policemen are English,
the mechanics are German,
the lovers are Italian
and the bankers are Swiss.

In Hell, the cooks are English,
the policemen are German,
the mechanics are French,
the lovers are Swiss
and the bankers are Italian.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Is there any wonder that Republicans and conservatives are losing all faith in their party?
They are acting just like Democrats now.

indyernie said...

Twenty years ago an employee who was also someone that I called a friend was suspected of robbing a bank. I don't know if he did it or not but ....if I saw him today I would still consider him a friend. With that said should I be kicked out of the GOP and never be allowed to run for office?

If I understand all of the criticism that I read here and on another blog I shouldn't expect another republican to ever be elected again in Marion County. If that is the case why should any elected office holder step down? We have nothing to lose if you guys are right anyway.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It doesn't matter to me whether Brizzi is guilty of committing any crimes or not; he has violated the trust of his office. He put his own personal aggrandizement above the office he holds.

The burbs said...

"He put his own personal aggrandizement above the office he holds."

Well said. Also, Aside him even being on the board of the ohio company, which was also bad. The fact that he has even 1 share of stock in the Cellstar company says it all. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDINCE. The sad thing is that if none of this ever happened, nobody would've even pointed out that he has shares in that company.

karma09 said...

Brizzi had 2 opportunities to prosecute Terry Record for DUI/ false informing/ hit and run offenses BEFORE Record killed Jimmy Cash in a DUI fatality. Record was an MCPO employee and Brizzi campaign staffer, Brizzi passed to avoid negative press. The cases had been presented by IMPD detectives to Brizzi and his administration directly.

Brizzi intervened to kill arrest warrants ready to be served against 99.5 radio morning show hosts for "dashing and dining" without paying the bill, causing a local waiter to have to eat the bill, and which the radio station made a cause celeb on air and on their DJ blogs. Despite numerous complaints, a rash of copy-cat events at local restaurants, and the radio station making fun of the employee on the radio, Brizzi rejected legal action already in motion -- the waiter got reimbursed only after Jack Rinehart picked up the story a few months later, but still no legal action. The connection is that Emmis, Brizzi's radio employer, also was the boss at 99.5.

Brizzi is bought and sold, and puts his personal ambitions ahead, way ahead, of his public duties.

Paul K. Ogden said...


If we are going to be the majority party in this county, we, Republicans, need to stand up and so no to corrupt politics and insider dealing that has long characterized this county.

Your approach is always to ignore what is going on - unless it is a Democrat involved. Somehow you think that if we Republicans can just talk behind closed doors we can somehow cause the Carl Brizzis, Tom Johns, Joe Loftuses, Bob Grands to correct their behavior. When has that ever worked?

Being for good government, for reform, against corruption, means being that way 100% of the time, even if it involves pointing the finger at Republicans. You can't tell me if these were Democrats involved, you wouldn't be all over this issue. Your situational ethics just doesn't cut it.

M Theory said...

I think Ernie doesn't care if the Marion County GOP is run by scumballs...just as long as the Republican name is in charge.

indyernie said...

We as a party elected the leadership. A strong rumor was floating around that Gary and Paul were going to challenge John at the election. I know Gary was there and I believe Paul was there and I also know that several PC’s in the room were willing to consider a challenge to John.
I didn't have a vote, I showed up to witness what might happen...guess what?...nothing happened.
I think that if you have a solution then you should step up...if you don't then you should shut up. We don't need to discuss our inter-party differences in public... period.

indyernie said...

Mel, I can't imagine any reason why we should let a democrat run the MC GOP.
Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking but I don't think so.

Cato said...

An open letter to Ernie and Indiana Republicans:

What have you done for me, lately?

Mitch and Ballard have repeatedly increased taxes and have taken from the People to fund billionaire sports teams. Government-for-profit is mistakenly sold to us as "privatization." Further, light has been shed on the nefarious back room dealings through which a few law firms control Indiana governance. Ballard and Brizzi also have nasty anti-gun positions.

Why would I ever vote for another Republican? I have finally learned that touching the hot stove will burn you.

The Dems may raise my taxes, but at least they're often nice people who appreciate art and music and don't look with fondness on a brutal and authoritarian government. A center Democrat usually isn't a bad choice in Central and Southern Indiana.

The Republicans have lost their way and have little marketing power.

indyernie said...

Cato I don't think you ever voted Republican and if you think the democrats are any better then you are dumber than a rock in the driveway.

M Theory said...


I generally see little difference between most of the republicans and most of the democrats.

Rampant throughout both parties is collusion. More often than not members of the two parties put their own self-interests or that of their party before the needs of The People.

Don't believe me? Then why did Tom John do little to nothing for Ballard during the election? The only thing that makes sense is that insiders wanted Peterson and liked working with him because everyone was making money that way.

I hope people wise up and realize that the fight is not about R versus D.

The fight is the elite insiders within The Establishment versus The People.

Partisan politics is not good for our country and its people. It is, in fact, toxic.

You don't cover for grandpa when he's a child molestor. You report it. And likewise, party members who go outside the law should be reported and action taken.

indyernie said...

Mel I never said that a law breaker should get a pass because of party affiliation. Thus far I haven't read about any of our elected Republicans being indicted. Until they are indicted and convicted they should be considered innocent...unless a new set of laws and rules apply to them. Besides it's the democrats, especially those in Center Township, who break the law time after time and I would never endorse immunity for any of them either.

Gary R. Welsh said...

That wasn't the standard you applied to Bart Peterson, Ernie.

indyernie said...

Gary I never thought that Bart was a far as the others...there is some truth in your comment.

Jon E. Easter said...

It's time for Brizzi to become a full time radio show host. I agree with you Gary.