Wednesday, January 20, 2010

City Hall Is For Sale: Pay To Play Is The Ballard Way

I've previously reported on how Mayor Greg Ballard has used the awarding of city business to raise more than a million dollars for his campaign committee since he took office in 2008. Ballard's campaign committee filed his campaign finance report for 2009 and it shows more of the same. Ballard raised more than $831,000 last year from various law firms, lawyers, engineering firms, consultants and others with contracts to perform work for the City and its various municipal corporations. Although the next election is not until 2011, Ballard's committee spent more than $377,000 on campaign-related activities last year, leaving a balance on hand at the end of the year of $1,006,000. So much for Ballard's promises to clean up city government. He's cleaning up all right. It's just not the sort of cleaning we had in mind when we thought we were electing a reform-minded, outsider candidate with no strings attached.

Here's a look at who some of Ballard's big money contributors are:

  • Hunt Construction and related entities ($13,250)--Built Lucas Oil Stadium, airport terminal, etc.
  • White Lodging ($2,000) and its billionaire owner, Dean White ($5,000)--receiving about $50 million in public subsidies for its downtown J.W. Marriott convention hotel.
  • Jerry Hayslett ($1,400)--contributed shortly after the awarding of additional contracts to manage the City's golf courses.
  • T.M. Miller ($1,100)--Thanks for the $20 million gift from taxpayers for my downtown project.
  • Christopher Burke of Naperville, Illinois ($10,250)--thanks for the consulting/engineer work.
  • Willis Conner ($15,000)--keep sending us consulting engineer work.
  • James Wade ($10,000)--I'm with Willis and, no, we really didn't try to bribe Sam Turpin.
  • James Wade, Jr. ($21,000)--like father like son.
  • Mark Downey ($14,000)--public engineering work sure is lucrative.
  • Michael Hinton of Evansville ($6,500)--more consulting work please.
  • J.C. Huizenga of Grand Rapids, MI ($5,000)--thanks for the business.
  • Steven Jones ($9,200)--in appreciation for the engineering work.
  • Marlin Knowles ($16,500)--more contracts, please.
  • Richard Lautz ($10,000)
  • Keith Lochmueller ($13,000)--keep the tax dollars flowing.
  • Raj Rajadhyaksha and family of Columbus, Ohio ($5,000)--we love minority contracting.
  • Elham Shayota of Bloomfield Hills, MI ($20,000)--ditto on minority contracting.
  • Herb Simon ($2,500)--it's the least I can do for the $15 million a year Ballard wants to give me.
  • Lewis Smoot ($2,500)--thanks for the minority contract work.
  • Michael Sutton of Evanston, Illinois ($5,000)--thanks for the engineering work.
  • Ibrahim Swidan ($11,000)--I just love Greg Ballard's minority contracting policies.
  • Larry Teunissen of Shaboygan Falls, WI ($3,500)--thanks for the consulting work.
  • Bradley Watson ($3,500)--the least I could do for the engineering work.
  • Daniel Woo ($6,500)--thanks for the minority contract work.
  • Baker & Daniels ($36,350)--just covering our asses since everyone knows we're only interested in putting Melina Kennedy in the mayor's office to resume the gravy train we had when she worked for Bart Peterson.
  • Barnes & Thornburg ($20,500)--The least we could do in consideration for the more than $1 million Ballard has paid out to us for legal work.
  • Beam Longest & Neff ($7,800)--Ballard's been good for our engineering business.
  • Bose McKinney & Evans ($14,500)--making up for the fact that the firm employs Marion Co. Dem Chairman Ed Treacy and former Peterson chief of staff Mike O'Connor.
  • Crowe Horwath ($5,000)--thanks for putting Ann Lathrop in charge of the CIB.
  • DLZ ($11,000)--nobody does better than us when it comes to government minority contracting work.
  • Keystone Group ($7,750)--yes, being a minority contractor has its advantages and it doesn't hurt when the Mayor's chief of staff joins your payroll and our company's owner gets to take a birthday junket trip for the Mayor to Europe.
  • Milestone Construction ($7,500)---keep the contracts flowing.
  • L'Acquis Consulting ($3,750)--thanks for the business.
  • Shrewsberry, LLC ($5,500)--I may be a Democrat but I just love Ballard's minority contracting policies.
  • U.S. Investment Group, LLC--($4,250)
  • J.P. Morgan Chase ($5,000)
  • mCapital Management ($5,000)
  • Taft law firm ($5,000).


Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary, I think once you start looking at the individual contributions you will find that many of those people are employed by or affiliated with those city contractors.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, That's correct. If you check out the occupation of the individual contributors, you will see that almost all of them are attorneys, engineers or executives of companies doing business with the city.

Downtown Indy said...

Other than the signs around town that say 'Gregory A. Ballard, Mayor' what's, if anything, has changed?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Thanks for tipping me off on Abdul's twitter on the subject:

"Indy Mayor Greg Ballard raised $1.3 million in 2009. Single largest group of contributions were in the $250 - $500 range"

Wow is that stretching things. First, from looking at the report it doesn't appear true at all, even if you interpret the statement as liberally as you can. Second, you'll notice he didn't say most contributors gave in the $250-$500 range...that's because many contriborrs, i.e. contractors and attorneys, gave multiple donations to Ballard during the year. They might have given $500 on four different occasions.

Abdul's spin on the subject certainly looks like paid political spin. I don't think you would find an objective reporter interpeting the report that way.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Accuracy is the least of Abdul's concerns when it comes to Ballard, Paul. If he isn't on the Ballard campaign payroll, he should be.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Public financing of campaigns is the only hope for reform, in this day and age of the dominance of expensive television advertising.

Cato said...

Man, is Ballard from Chicago?

M Theory said...

I didn't get squat for the money I gave to him during his campaign.

When The People run negative on Ballard the signs will say:

"Betrayed By Ballard"