Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meet The McAtee Bunch

The Marion Co. Republican Central Committee has sent out a political flyer attacking the candidacy of Bart McAtee for sheriff, who is challenging the slated party candidate, Dennis Fishburn. The hard-hitting piece focuses on the number of McAtee family members on the sheriff's department payroll, $502,380.41 to be exact. That's still less than the more than $800,000 Dan Coats earned as a D.C. lobbyist last year.
UPDATE: I received a second hit piece in the mail today. This one reads, "Bart McAtee broke federal law 89 times. And now he wants to be our sheriff?" The little federal Hatch Act is the law McAtee has broken. The source cited for the violation is the Marion Co. Election Board, Findings of fact and conclusions of law, March 5, 2010. Despite that finding, the Democrats on the election board would not vote to disqualify McAtee. Gee, I wonder why? Assuming McAtee wins the Republican nomination and someone files a complaint with the federal office responsible for enforcing the Little Hatch Act, McAtee could be forced to give up his job or drop out of the election. I suppose that is a more attractive alternative for the Democrats. The problem of Little Hatch Act violations is rampant on our City-County Council. I've vowed to lodge complaints against persons who seek election in 2011 who violate the Act.

Coats Leads In Latest Poll

Former U.S. Senator Dan Coats leads a five-man field in the Republican Senate primary race according to a Survey USA poll taken last week on behalf of the Mike Downs Center. The poll result is as follows:

Coats (36%)
Hostettler (24%)
Stutzman (18%)
Bates (6%)
Behney (4%)
Undecided (13%)

The number of undecided Republican primary voters isn't as large as I expected. Stutzman seems to be the biggest gainer in this poll, although he still has a lot of ground to make up. I can't imagine that Coats is resting very comfortably on this poll result. He has the best name recognition by far in the field, and media coverage of the belated filing of his financial disclosure form hasn't been doing him any good in recent days. The same poll shows Coats beating Democrat Brad Ellsworth handily in the general election, 47%-31%.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

OmniSource Will Get To Keep $273,000 Seized By IMPD Due To Missed Deadline

Well, the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office just rewarded OmniSource with $273,000 cash that IMPD initially seized from the giant scrap metal company after the office failed to take the necessary legal steps to keep the seized cash within the legal timeframe reports the IBJ's Cory Schouten. Perhaps that will be sufficient to cover Larry Mackey's legal services for the company. Schouten writes in an online report:
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department likely will have to return more than $273,000 in cash seized as part of a racketeering investigation after the Marion County Prosecutor's Office missed a civil forfeiture deadline.

Law enforcement officers from IMPD, the FBI, Indiana State Police and other agencies in February 2009 raided six Indianapolis scrap yards operated by metal recycling powerhouse OmniSource, collecting evidence and seizing cash and property.

The raids were the culmination of a year-long undercover investigation into the company's purchase of stolen ladders, boats, gutters, wiring and other items as scrap metal prices boomed.

Law enforcement officers turned the case over to the Prosecutor's Office Grand Jury division, which continues to investigate. And the locally based Garrison Law Firm, which Prosecutor Carl Brizzi hired several years ago to handle select forfeiture cases in exchange for 30 percent of the take, began working on a case under federal racketeering statutes.

But no one—not Garrison nor anyone at the Marion County Prosecutor's Office—filed the paperwork necessary to keep the seized cash within 180 days, as required under state law. Each party blames the other for the oversight.

Law enforcement sources said the case never was referred to the internal Prosecutor's Office forfeiture unit, and that Garrison took responsibility from the start. A series of e-mails among Prosecutor's Office officials, obtained by IBJ, say the civilian employees who run IMPD's forfeiture division were told Garrison was handling the case and were never notified of a change.
The prosecutor's office's attempt to lay blame at Garrison's doorstep isn't playing with me. A source close to the investigation informed me at the time that Garrison was ready to go gangbusters against OmniSource but was ordered to stand down by the prosecutor's office after Mackey started representing the company and tried getting the lead investigator in the case fired or demoted for speaking too candidly to the media. Schouten's report notes the letter Mackey sent to Capt. Boomershine's superiors at the time:
A spokesman for the IMPD referred all questions to the Prosecutor's Office. Police haven't discussed the case publicly since IMPD Maj. Chris Boomershine told industry newspaper Platts Steel Markets Daily in February 2009 that OmniSource kept documents on how to avoid antitrust violations, hired off-duty IMPD officers to target competitors and bought cars altered to appear stolen from undercover police officers.

Mackey blasted Boomershine's disclosures in a three-page letter to top officials at IMPD and the Prosecutor's Office in March 2009.

"Divulging confidential information in and of itself was wildly inappropriate," Mackey wrote. "Divulging it to Platts Steel Markets Daily constituted a purposeful effort on the Major's part to publicly damage OmniSource and its publicly traded parent."

The fact no action has been taken against OmniSource 14 months after the raid is no surprise to Republican blogger Gary Welsh. He predicted in May 2009 on his Advance Indiana blog that the case would go nowhere under Brizzi.

“These cases drag on and on and when nobody’s looking, they quietly announce there are no charges and is no evidence of a crime,” Welsh said.
Schouten's quote from me pretty much sums up what I think about the handling of this case.

Omnisource And Their Dirty Cops Get Pass In Stolen Scrap Metal Scheme

The City's largest scrap metal dealer hired dozens of your city police officers for off-duty police work, including cops whose job it was to investigate stolen scrap metal in this city. While its scrap metal yards purchased large quantities of stolen metal, the cops on its pay roll targeted other, smaller scrap metal dealers in town with sting operations to put them out of business. When a good cop finally started digging into the scheme, the shit hit the fan. The Ballard administration went into full spin mode and began reassigning police officers and making some rules changes to make it appear all was well within IMPD.

Here's what really happened. OmniSource, the giant scrap metal dealer, hired Barnes & Thornburg attorney Larry Mackey to defend it. He's the former campaign chairman for Carl Brizzi and former law partner of then-Public Safety Director Scott Newman. He's also an attorney for alleged Ponzi scheme operator Tim Durham, also a one-time major employer of off-duty cops at his Geist mansion. Mackey immediately fired off a letter to Brizzi and Newman demanding the firing or demotion of the lead investigator of his client's scheme because he spoke too candidly to the media about the stolen scrap metal purchases made by their yards in Indianapolis.

It comes as no surprise that I should read in the Indianapolis Star this morning that there will be no prosecutions in the OmniSource case. It's amazing that IMPD's own investigators could uncover incontrovertible evidence of stolen scrap metal purchases by OmniSource scrap yards but the prosecutor's office would find no crimes committed. In other words, your local criminal justice system is more about protecting the powerful than the little people who had all of that scrap metal stolen from their homes and businesses over the last several years. Welcome to Indianapolis.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What If?

What if the City of Indianapolis simply transferred the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy, along with the assumption of the current debt, and received no payments from Citizens Energy as part of the transaction? That's an important question that councilors addressed to the company's CEO, Cary Lykins, at tonight's Administration and Finance Committee. If I understood Lykins, Indianapolis ratepayers could expect to pay about 30% less in water and sewer utility rates if Citizens is not required to borrow money to produce a net cash payment to the City of Indianapolis. That's because the ratepayers will be required to pay for the additional borrowing by the company through its rates. Mayor Greg Ballard is insisting on the cash payment to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in public infrastructure improvements. If he cared more about holding down rates than pork barrel spending, he would have proposed a transaction that would yield the best savings for Indianapolis ratepayers. Citizens should be thinking about that as their councilors ponder approval of the transaction. Unfortunately, it appears most councilors are focused on getting as many projects approved for their districts as possible as part of the transaction rather than holding down rates. This is just another thinly- veiled attempt by Mayor Ballard to raise taxes. For someone who ran on a platform opposing higher taxes, he sure has an affinity for raising them.

Why Scott Newman Wishes Carl Brizzi Would Go Away

The carefully crafted image Scott Newman has spent a lifetime shaping is threatened by the corrupt and self-centered man he helped propel to political power, Carl Brizzi, when he mentored and helped orchestrate Brizzi's unlikely 2003 victory in the Marion Co. prosecutor's race. An expose' in the current edition of the IBJ by Cory Schouten on real estate developer John Bales and his tangled business ties to Brizzi has begun the process of peeling back that facade and exposing Newman's ugly underbelly. Up to now, Newman has enjoyed very favorable media coverage from his tenure as county prosecutor and his subsequent valiant fight against Parkinson's Disease from which he suffers.

While the mainstream media has positively portrayed Newman over the years, I've been a frequent critic of his after once being a big supporter. Newman's tenure as prosecutor was marked by the awarding of gaming licenses for the state's riverboats and horse race tracks. Newman adeptly picked up on the backroom deals taking place up and down the state. Rather than sit on the sidelines and take in the rumors, he dug right in and tried to root out corruption. Newman set his sights on House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Sam Turpin (R-Brownsburg), who basically conducted an auction during his brief tenure as the powerful House committee chairman. He indicted Turpin, along with Willis Connor and James Wade, who owned a politically-connected engineering firm that performed work for prospective gaming licensees, on bribery charges. That case fell apart when an Indiana court dismissed the charges based on its interpretation of Indiana's bribery statute. Newman had to settle for a plea agreement with the three on lesser charges.

What really caught every one's attention in the gaming investigation was a subpoena Newman's office issued to Bob Grand as the managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg's Indianapolis office. Newman sought billing records for a client of the firm, which was part of the gaming company that was awarded the Lawrenceburg riverboat. Peter Rusthoven of Barnes & Thornburg represented the gaming client. I suspect his relationship was tied to the gaming company's William Cellini, the powerful Illinois political broker who engineered the awarding of the first riverboat license in Illinois for Argosy. Cellini is currently facing a public trial in Chicago this summer for public corruption charges, along with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

I distinctly recall attending a fundraiser for Newman at Rick's Boatyard Cafe a short time after Newman's office issued the subpoena to Grand's firm. I recall being taken aback when Bob Grand entered the fundraiser rather late and pulled Newman aside for a lengthy conversation. The investigation of the firm's client and the Lawrenceburg riverboat license by Newman's office faded and no subsequent charges were brought. When Newman left the prosecutor's office after eight years a short time later, he emerged as a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. Later, Newman and several other local business leaders, including some Barnes & Thornburg partners and the chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, founded a new start-up company that specialized in DNA testing. Not surprisingly, the company got a jump start when it quickly won contracts with the Indiana State Police and Marion County's forensic lab.

Based on these series of events, I was not at all excited when Mayor Greg Ballard named Newman as his first public safety director. I believed that he had used his position as prosecutor to parlay a lucrative legal career for himself in a less than above board manner. Ironically, Newman is now calling on his successor to resign from office for doing the very same thing. Newman has good reason to want Brizzi to resign. His own ties to Brizzi crony John Bales are raising some eyebrows. Interestingly, it is Newman who is acting as Bales' attorney defending him against findings of an IBJ investigative report by Cory Schouten. It is Newman who Brizzi pointed out initiated what some are calling a sweetheart deal with Bales on his way out of office eight years ago to procure office space for the prosecutor's office. That deal helped launch Bales' meteoric rise in the real estate world. It also appears that Newman invested in a failed company with Brizzi, Bales and others to invest in troubled real estate assets in Florida.

Newman is currently acting as chairman of Mark Massa's GOP prosecutor campaign. While Massa has sought to distance himself from Brizzi and called on him to resign, he may want to consider his relationship with Newman. He carries the same baggage as Brizzi carries, notwithstanding the fact that he no longer works in the public sector.

Monday, April 26, 2010

FBI Should Investigate Stoesz Allegation

A former candidate for Hamilton Co. prosecutor charges that the former press secretary for Carl Brizzi, a supporter of David Wyser for prosecutor, made a phone call to him earlier this year and threatened his criminal defense practice if he didn't drop his bid against Wyser. "The dispute stems from a telephone call in February from Mario Massillamany -- at the time a Brizzi aide and Wyser's co-worker in the Marion County office -- to Tim Stoesz, brother and law partner of Steve Stoesz," the Star reports. "Tim Stoesz said that in the telephone call, Massillamany warned that Steve Stoesz's criminal defense practice 'would have a hard time getting any plea deal for his clients out of Mr. Wyser if he challenged Wyser in the primary," the Star continued. "Tim Stoesz said he recorded the telephone call from Massillamany, who later resigned from the Marion County prosecutor's office after a drunken-driving arrest in March."

It's clear Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp won't get around to investigating Stoesz' allegation. The FBI should step in and take a look at these allegations. If the recorded phone call exists, it is a serious criminal matter and another black mark on the administration of Carl Brizzi.

Another Ballard Junket

Mayor Greg Ballard left on yet another travel junket to India this week. It marks the sixth such overseas junket he has taken during his tenure. As with all of his junkets, he was accompanied by his wife, Winnie. A dozen political contributors and city contractors joined Ballard on the trip, which will cost taxpayers $33,000. Ballard claims taxpayers aren't paying for the trip because it is being funded by GIPC; however, GIPC is funded with taxpayer dollars and has offices in the City-County Building. To date, the Ballard junkets have resulted in a net creation of zero jobs for Indianapolis.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The $200 Million Question

Democratic mayoral hopeful Brian Williams releases this new ad questioning the math being tossed around repeatedly by Mayor Greg Ballard concerning the amount of money the sale of the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy will generate for the City of Indianapolis. I don't understand why Ballard insists on using his bogus numbers, but this is the same guy who claimed the City would lose 66,000 jobs if we didn't bail out the CIB. Hat tip to IPOPA.

Newman Wants Brizzi To Resign

Scott Newman is Carl Brizzi's predecessor and the guy who had more to do with Brizzi's election as Marion Co. Prosecutor than anyone else. He thinks it's time for Brizzi to resign. Brizzi says his opinion isn't worth commenting on because Newman is Mark Massa's campaign manager. Does Carl have any friends left in this county?

Conseco's Growing Debt

It cost about $184 million to build Conseco Fieldhouse 11 years ago. Today, the CIB owes $214 million in principal and interest on the building. Sound familiar? The same thing was true of the RCA Dome. We owed more on it when we imploded it to build LOS than what it cost to build more than two decades earlier. That's because the CIB has never been forced to live within its means. It constantly shifts money around so Peter can pay Paul, resulting in even greater debt on these sports palaces.

Debt service on Conseco is currently $13 million a year and is expected to climb to $24 million a year by 2027 when it is to be paid off according to WTHR's Mary Milz. That should give the CIB pause when it comes to offering a $15 million a year subsidy to the Pacers, but it doesn't. The CIB's Paul Okeson only wants to talk about the "$60 million economic impact" the Pacers bring to downtown. Of course, he throws in the impact of concerts and other non-Pacer events into that figure, which will still occur long after the Pacers are gone. And then there's this. Conseco has used up over half of its useful, life expectancy for the Pacers. These sports arenas are viable only for about 20 years.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Investigator For Prosecutor's Office Charged With Multiple Felonies

Daniel Constantino formerly worked as an investigator for the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office. A special prosecutor now accuses him of committing multiple felony counts of corrupt business influence, forgery and official misconduct. Constantino resigned his job in the prosecutor's office last month amid an investigation by the Indiana State Police according to the Star's Jon Murray. "[Constantino] is accused of using his police powers to sign off on law enforcement vehicle inspection forms for three stolen vehicles between September and December 2008." "Court documents say Constantino used his position as an 'enterprise' that has engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity, namely official misconduct and forgery."

Constantino's name also surfaced in the corruption investigation of former Perry Township Constable Roy Houchins. According to Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid, Constantino played a role in retrieving guns seized in a domestic dispute on behalf of the constable's office that McQuaid later traced to a dumpster. McQuaid's report suggested money had been offered in exchange for the guns. It's amazing that Constantino remained employed with the prosecutor's office until a month ago given the controversy surrounding him.

UPDATE: Fox 59's Russ McQuaid reports on a guilty plea entered against Michael Sherfick, the former deputy constable with the Perry Township Constable. He admitted in federal court to taking $30,000 in bribes for handing out deputy constable badges. His boss, Roy Houchins, dropped dead a few weeks back after leaving a southside restaurant. Houchins had faced similar charges and had been scheduled to go on trial the week he died. Early indications of the toxicology report on his death indicate he had ingested a lethal dose of drugs.

Brizzi Hires Outside PR Firm

Instead of replacing his spokesman who had to resign after being busted for a DUI, Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has hired an outside public relations firm at $6,500 per month to handle media inquiries. The Star's Jon Murray notes the new contract with Hirons & Company, which also has a no-bid contract with the Mayor's office. The firm employs Mayor Greg Ballard's son as a copywriter. According to Murray's report, Susan Decker is handling the account on behalf of the firm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brizzi Declined Charges Against Colts Player

Well, this will come as no surprise. Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi declined to press charges against Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster after a hotel worker accused him of sexually assaulting her before the AFC championship game with the Jets this year. Twenty-two year old Lauren Glisson had been asked to deliver a dental kit to Foster in his room at University Place Hotel when the sexual assault allegedly occurred. Indianapolis police declined to investigate the crime, instead referring Glisson to IUPUI police. According to a civil lawsuit Glisson's attorney has filed, she accuses IUPUI police of mishandling her case.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen broke this story. Indianapolis media have been silent on the issue up until now. The Star has a story online today commenting on the Sun-Times' story. It's been long understood that law enforcement in Indianapolis, including the prosecutor's office, goes out of its way to protect the professional sports team players from legal problems. Local law enforcement covered up a prescription drug fraud investigation of Colts owner Jim Irsay several years back. It usually starts with law enforcement claiming there will be no special favors for the player. The player hires high profile lawyer Jim Voyles. Months later when nobody is paying much attention the case will be dismissed or the charges reduced.

Monday, April 19, 2010

George Washington Would Have Been A Birther

The New York City public library recently discovered two overdue books checked out by our nation's first president, George Washington. According to news reports, one of those overdue books is the legal treatise, Law of Nations. The book discusses the meaning of many terms in our U.S. Constitution, including "natural born citizen," which it says includes persons born in this country to two citizen parents. Because Barack Obama's father was a Kenyan citizen at the time of his birth and at all times during his life, he could not be a natural born citizen, a constitutional requirement for serving as president of the United States. John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, had actually written to Washington during the constitutional debates urging him to include the "natural born citizen" requirement. Jay was concerned about minimizing chances of foreign influence. In recent years, the meaning of the term has been warped by liberals who despise its existence in our constitution. Liberals would have you believe the term only requires that a person be born on U.S. soil regardless of the citizenship of their parents.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ballard's Sell Out To Herb Simon

Editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel captures the best image of what Greg Ballard has done to us on the issue of paying a $15 million a year subsidy to billionaire Herb Simon. Ballard continues to demonstrate just how far he has lost his way in an interview with WTHR's Mary Milz. "If they leave, somebody has to run the building," Ballard told Milz. "The [Capital Improvement Board] has to run the building anyway, so it might be more frugal, since we know how to get, you know, we are very efficient in how we do business," Ballard said. Ballard is too stupid to understand that if the Pacers bail, the Simons will have to pay us a break up fee of about $150 million. Who gives a damn if the Pacers are no longer playing at Conseco Fieldhouse? We can pay off the debt on the building with that kind of money. We won't have to spend millions on a new scoreboard, Wi-Fi, floors, kitchens, etc. that the Simons are demanding we do. And we'll have another 40 nights a year to rent out the fieldhouse for other events.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Star Turns On Simons

Up to now, the Indianapolis Star editors have sided with the Simons in their quest to get new subsidies for their Indiana Pacers team. Today, the editors taken a decidedly different turn against the Simons in an editorial entitled, "City Shouldn't Forfeit To Pacers." The editorial is sharply critical of discussions by the CIB about assuming $15 million annually in costs from the Simons while allowing the team to keep all of the revenues it currently earns from operating Conseco Fieldhouse. "For the city, in the person of CIB member Paul Okeson, to tell the world it is 'seriously thinking about' shouldering the entire $15.4 million while the Pacers say they'll think about it is mindboggling," the editorial reads. "The city isn't even ruling out letting the team continue to rake in proceeds from non-Pacer events."

The editorial raises a good point about how the taxpayers' representative in this negotiation, Paul Okeson, seems to be negotiating against the side he is supposed to be representing. The IBJ's Anthony Schoettle has an excellent story today about the hefty price the Simons will have to pay to the CIB if it wants to move its franchise to another city. Schoettle discusses the lease agreement between the Pacers and the CIB with fellow blogger Paul Ogden, who has concluded that the agreement will require the Pacers to pay a break up fee of at least $150 million. Ogden points out that the Simons must sell the team first before it can break the lease; it simply cannot move the team to another city and retain ownership of the franchise. Forbes magazine estimates the value of the franchise at $281 million.

Instead of using the penalty provision to its full advantage in negotiations, Okeson insists on mitigating its impact. “When you peel it all back, the penalty isn’t as substantial as you might think," Okeson told the IBJ. "City officials don’t think the penalty would be big enough to impede the sale of the team to an out-of-state group, but said penalty proceeds would be enough to operate the fieldhouse without the Pacers for at least three or four years," Schoettle writes. As the Star editorial notes, Okeson's view of the situation is simply "mindboggling." Why is this man sitting at the table as our representative when he so clearly is working against our interests?

Schoettle's article goes on to discuss the bad timing of a sale of an NBA franchise. He says the number of potential buyers and interested cities is very limited. He cites sources who say the value of NBA franchises is currently in decline. Further, he notes that the CIB has a right of first refusal to purchase the franchise if the Simons elect to sell it. Observers think it highly unlikely that Herb Simon would sell the franchise on the cheap. Anyone can see that the CIB is the one holding all the cards in this negotiation. Why we're forfeiting our rights to the Simons is any one's guess.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Need A Criminal Case Fixed? Call Paul Page

The IBJ's Cory Schouten has broken another story of how a criminal defendant avoided prosecution in Marion County by calling on Brizzi business partner and criminal defense attorney Paul Page to make a special plea to Brizzi. Brizzi then promptly contacted his deputy prosecutor and ordered him to dismiss the charges against Page's client. Schouten says the message that is being sent loud and clear is that if you want a criminal case fixed in Marion County, then you should call Paul Page.

Board of Public Works Rubber Stamps Water-Sewage Utility Sale

This should come as no surprise. Indianapolis' Board of Public Works unanimously signed off on Mayor Greg Ballard's proposed sale of the water and sewage utilities to Citizens Energy. When the board is comprised of nothing but political hacks, we should expect no better of this meaningless decision. The Board's chairman is David Sherman, who runs DPW. He formerly worked in the Goldsmith administration before taking a job with the private operator Goldsmith chose to run the City's sewage treatment facilities. He moved back into city government to engineer deals to benefit his friends in the private sector.

Next up is the approval of the deal by the Water Works Board. It is chaired by college professor and perennial congressional candidate Marvin Scott. A couple of months ago I noticed while watching one of the Board's meetings on WCTY that Scott at the end of the meeting asked the record to reflect that a vote on an earlier resolution be revised to show that he abstained from voting. He said the staff had raised a conflict of interest concern with him that he wanted to address. I asked Scott after the meeting what his conflict of interest was. Scott told me that he could not recall. He said he would get back to me with an answer. I'm still waiting for his answer.

The biggest joke on the board is lobbyist Frank Short. Short actually lobbied for the passage of the original purchase of the water company from NiSource while serving as a City-County Councilor. Short, in addition to serving as Washington Township Trustee, is currently paid to lobby for such entities as the Marion Co. Superior Courts, Marion Co. Recorder's Office, ICVA, Cash America, 21st Amendment liquor stores, Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police and the Indiana Apartment Association. Short is originally from the Chicago area and brings with him all of that baggage. Whoever decided to appoint Short to this board must have real contempt for good government.

The Water Works executive director, Matt Klein, boasted at the last meeting about all the attorneys, consultants and experts the City has hired to make the sale of the utilities possible. Klein, a former attorney for Bose McKinney who was cited in a multi-million dollar sanction handed down by Judge McKinney in the Southern District for his role in withholding critical evidence in an environmental liability case, doesn't mention that a lot of those same attorneys and consultants reviewing this deal were the same firms that made millions off the original purchase of the water company by the City. That's the deal that had the City paying about double what the utility was actually worth.

Extortion Pays For Herb Simon

Herb Simon's Simon Property Group didn't become the king of shopping malls without learning the art of extortion. It looks like the extortion card is about to pay off big time for the Simons in their quest to get taxpayers to pick up all of the costs of operating Conseco Fieldhouse. Herb has given the CIB until June 30 to agree to his demands; otherwise, he will explore moving the Indiana Pacers to another City. The CIB would have us believe the loss of the team would have dire economic impact on the City's economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simon would have to pay a break up fee well in excess of $100 million if the team decides to move. That's money the CIB could use to pay off the debt on the existing arena, thereby dramatically reducing its annual costs.

Instead of doing what makes sense economically for the City, the CIB's leadership is talking about a deal with the Simons whereby the CIB would take over the management of Conseco but still allow the Simons to pocket all of the revenues from the facility. In other words, we're going to give the Simons the same deal we gave Jim Irsay with Lucas Oil Stadium. You may recall that the state bailout of the CIB was prompted because the CIB failed to budget the additional cost of running Lucas Oil Stadium, along with the loss of revenues it had previously earned from operating the RCA Dome. Ann Lathrop, the CIB's president, claims the CIB will achieve operational efficiencies if it assumes control of Conseco, in addition to the convention center and LOS. This would be the same CIB leadership which just months ago said it was considering privatizing the operation of those facilities in an effort to save money. Sen. Luke Kenley isn't worried. He says the CIB can simply raise visitor taxes again to pay for the added cost.

All of these discussions are based on a dubious claim by the Simons that they are losing tens of millions annually under the current lease agreement. Not once during the history of this lease have the Simons been required to publicly disclose the audited financial statements for the Indiana Pacers and its entertainment affiliate. How do we know these claims of losses really exist? Further, it's time for Ann Lathrop to fully disclose all of the clients of her accounting firm, Crowe-Horwath. I have strong reason to suspect that she has major conflicts of interest that she has never disclosed to the public. Show us the list, Ann.

Meanwhile, the widow of Mel Simon has listed her Bel Air mansion for sale at $50 million. She'll need that money to pay all of the attorney fees she will face as she defends herself against the accusation of Simon's children that she manipulated her late husband while he was suffering from dementia to rewrite his will to leave her everything. The loss of the Bel Air mansion will be no big deal. Bren Simon still owns a $50 million home in Carmel and condominiums at a Colorado ski resort and Manhattan.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Clark Continues High-Flying Ways At Indianapolis Airport Authority

The CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority is under investigation by Florida prosecutors for his lavish travels while serving as head of an airport in Jacksonville, Florida. The IBJ's Chris O'Malley finds that John Clark spent $37,000 on travel during his first year alone at the Indianapolis Airport Authority. That amount covered the cost of 23 trips, including a conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. Clark attended another conference in Manchester, England. And he attended another gathering at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, home to the Masters PGA Golf Tournament. Clark even billed the airport authority for his lodging at the Super Bowl in Miami. If you average four days for each trip, it means Clark spent at least three months of his first year on the job out of town. Clark is paid $270,000 a year.

This guy should be fired right now. It's obvious he is all about the glitz and glamour of the job and doesn't have a clue how to run an airport. When you're spending all your time after taking a new job travelling around the world at taxpayers' expense, you can't be devoting your energies to figuring out how we're going to pay for this $1 billion-dollar airport. Revenues are plummeting as costs skyrocket. The only reason Clark was hired was because Lacy Johnson, the former President of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, demanded that an African-American be hired to run the airport. Johnson's objective is to make sure he has someone in charge who will dole out MBE contracts to firms that he and his friends control. After all, shouldn't Lacy be able to afford another Bentley?

WTHR's Milz Makes Case For Pacers Subsidy

Whenever the Capital Improvement Board wants a puff piece promoting its latest effort to give more subsidies to the billionaire sports team owners, it calls up WTHR's Mary Milz, who can always be counted on to produce a favorable story for the team. Milz does just that in her latest story explaining the importance of giving a $15 million a year subsidy to the Pacers. Jim Morris tells her the Pacers are $150 million in the hole. The scoreboard needs replaced, furniture needs replaced and the entire arena needs to be wired for Wi-Fi. Morris says the Simons can't afford to put any more money into the building, even though it is required to maintain the building as part of its lease agreement with the CIB. After all, the Simons get every dollar of revenue Conseco Fieldhouse generates under its lease agreement. Morris tells Milz the Pacers aren't interested in moving to another city; however, if the money isn't forthcoming, he tells her there are plenty of other cities in North America which would like to have an NBA team.

Milz then interviews Paul Okeson, Mayor Ballard's former chief of staff who traded his city job for a high-paying job with a major city contractor, Keystone Construction. Ballard promptly appointed Okeson to the CIB. He tells Milz the City can't afford to lose the Pacers. Ergo, we must find the money to subsidize them. He tells her the City is already losing hotel revenues because of the Pacers' slump. Is that our fault? Is it our fault the team hired a bunch of thugs to play for it a few years ago who ran around town shooting off guns and generally engaging in gang-banging activities? Can they blame area residents for not purchasing expensive tickets to see their team play? I've already said it, and I will stand by it. Mayor Ballard fully intends to divert some of the money he expects the City to receive from Citizens Energy if the sale of the water and sewer utilities is carried out to pay for this new subsidy for the Simons. That's what he calls economic development. Mayor Ballard scoffed at that notion during one of his puff ball interviews with radio talk show host Abdul Hakim Shabazz this morning. We've got your number, Greg. You have lied to us so many times you don't deserve the benefit of the doubt on this one. You're only interested in getting your free courtside tickets to the Pacers games. You could give a damn less about the taxpayers who foot the bill for your excesses.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fair Finance Trustee Sues Laikin For $20 Million

DCI Investments is a Tim Durham-controlled company which received more than $20 million from Fair Finance, which in turn loaned the money to purchase real estate in Los Angeles for Dan Laikin, an investor in DCI Investments. No security interest was ever perfected in the loans made to Laikin, who is now facing sentencing for insider trading in connection with his role running National Lampoon, another Durham-controlled company. The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance has initiated a lawsuit against Laikin to recover the $20 million DCI Investments loaned him. The trustee seeks to impose a constructive trust on the real estate acquired with the funds in favor of Fair Finance. It is interesting to note that federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania have repeatedly delayed the sentencing of Laikin, which suggests they may be seeking his assistance in their case of insider trading against Durham and others. Laikin is the brother of Robert Laikin, CEO of Indianapolis-based Brightpoint.

Law Firm Enmeshed In Lake County Sleaze

The Northwest Indiana Times' Marc Chase has a revealing story about how Indianapolis' Barnes & Thornburg managed to work on both sides of a trash-to-ethanol facility in Lake County. The firm represented both the county's waste management district and the winning bidder for the project, World Net Capital 1, LLC. The story gets more interesting when you learn that controversial Lake County attorney Michael Pannos had a role in helping Wold Net Capital land the contract, which has led to speculation that he owns an interest in the company. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has been pursuing litigation against Pannos and others he claims have reaped millions of dollars in casino revenues from a non-profit established by East Chicago in connection with its riverboat gaming facility. Here's a few of Chase's observations on Barnes & Thornburg:

Through months of committee meetings, presentations and debates on the trash proposals, the waste management district used the Indianapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg to help analyze the companies proposing to consolidate county trash processing.

Powers, the winning bidder, acknowledges that same law firm represented his business interests for about 18 years prior to making his Lake County trash processing bid, including work to incorporate his financial firm, World Net Capital 1 LLC.

Langbehn said the county used Barnes & Thornburg as an additional set of legal eyes to complement the waste district's own attorney, Clifford Duggan. The county also hired a Wisconsin-based engineering firm and a separate consultant to analyze the financial plans and proposals of the three bidding companies.

"We stayed away from any conflict that anybody might have by not hiring anybody locally who might lean towards different people," Langbehn said. "We told Earl (Powers) this had to be the most honest thing he has ever done because this is Lake County, Ind. We set the standards right away."

During his second presentation to the full Lake County Solid Waste Management District board, Powers divulged that Barnes & Thornburg had served as his attorney.

Because the relationship was disclosed, no state ethics rules were violated, said Seth Pruden, interim executive secretary for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Representatives from Barnes & Thornburg did not return calls from The Times seeking comment on the matter.

In a recent interview with The Times, Powers said he severed ties with the law firm six or seven months prior to signing a contract with the county. That contract was approved by the waste management district board in November 2008, more than a year after Powers disclosed his connection to Barnes & Thornburg to the board.

Both Powers and Langbehn deny that Powers Energy received any preferential treatment in the bidding process because of the connection between the district and Powers' company to Barnes & Thornburg.

Langbehn noted that Powers' specific attorney -- though within the same firm -- did not perform any of the legal work for the county.

Though very little was made of the Barnes & Thornburg connection throughout the bidding process, county officials concede that ties between the trash-to-ethanol plans and a well-known region political and business figure raised some eyebrows.
Here's what Chase had to say about Pannos' role in the deal (check out the photo in Chase's story of the the lake-front mansion owned by Pannos):

In a November 2009 interview with The Times, Powers said Northwest Indiana lawyer Michael Pannos did legal work to help secure the site in Schneider -- a small southern Lake County town -- where the trash-to-ethanol plant is to be built.

It was a revelation that sparked speculation throughout Lake County political circles that Pannos, a former Indiana Democratic Party chairman, had a financial stake in the trash-to-ethanol plan -- a contention Langbehn, Scheub and Powers all deny.

Repeated attempts by The Times to reach Pannos at his Merrillville home and by phone were unsuccessful.

In an unrelated matter, the Indiana attorney general and city of East Chicago have been locked in a legal battle with Pannos and fellow political insider Thomas Cappas, alleging they have reaped "enormous" salaries while at the helm of East Chicago Second Century Inc. The for-profit firm is accused of squandering millions in local casino revenue it received under an agreement brokered by the administration of former Mayor Robert Pastrick.

In a more recent interview with The Times, Powers acknowledged Pannos worked as a lawyer for a Merrillville financial firm that Powers was trying to use to aid in the financing of the Schneider trash-to-ethanol plant. However, he said the firm failed to deliver, and he severed ties with the company.

The questions came after The Times learned that Pannos had entertained Powers at Pannos' Culver, Ind., lake home sometime in mid-2009. Powers and Scheub both acknowledge that, during that visit, Pannos and Powers also visited Scheub at the commissioner's nearby Culver farm property.

"That was the first time I knew Mike Pannos had anything to do with this -- when Earl stopped by my house with him," Scheub said.

Following Pannos' name association with Powers' efforts, Langbehn said county officials told Powers he could not involve Pannos in any way with the project.

"Earl (Powers) was told on no uncertain terms Mike Pannos will have nothing to do with it," Langbehn said. "I don't care how far removed it is."

Langbehn, who in addition to Scheub remains one of the most staunch government supporters for the trash-to-ethanol plant, acknowledges his own ties with Pannos.

Langbehn described Pannos as among his "best of friends." Langbehn is godfather to Pannos' daughter, and the men's wives also are close friends, Langbehn said.

In an Aug. 21, 2008, district board meeting, Langbehn also revealed to the board that he had become aware of connections between Pannos' cousin and the second trash-to-ethanol bidder, Indiana Ethanol, the company Powers was affiliated with when he first spoke to Scheub about bringing such a plant to Lake County. Langbehn disclosed he had learned that the Pannos' cousin was an investor with Indiana Ethanol.

But Langbehn said none of those affiliations matters, and he dubbed those who attempt to link Pannos with the trash-to-ethanol project as sabotaging naysayers.

"You can spin anything negative on anything you want," Langbehn said. "If anyone had a problem with this plan, they had board meetings over a 3 1/2-year period in which they could have stepped forward and addressed these concerns."

Who Is Peddling Influence To City Councilors?

The Indianapolis City-County Council finally posted on its website the financial disclosure statements city-county councilors filed last July. The financial disclosures give us a clear indication of what businesses and interest groups are seeking to influence the council the most. It also tells us which councilors are on a government payroll or are doing business with the government. The disclosures revealed that at least 10 of the 29 councilors work for a governmental entity. Those include the following:

Brown: Indianapolis Fire Department

Day: State of Indiana

Lewis: Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

Mahern, B.: State of Indiana

Mahern, D.: City of Indianapolis

Malone: State of Indiana

Minton-McNeill: Indianapolis Public Schools

Moriarity-Adams: Marion County Assessor

Nytes: Mapleton-Fall Creek CDC

Plowman: IMPD

Councilors are required to dislose the source of any gift of $100 or more or aggregate gifts during the year of $250 or more. Note that most councilors did not disclose the value of the gifts. The only thing we can conclude from their filings is that the gift was for more than $100 or there were combined gifts during the year of $250 or more. Most of the gifts involved sporting event tickets or dinners. Here's a look at some of the gift givers and who they were gifting:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Caine, Cardwell, Coleman, Day, Hunter, Lewis, Lutz, Mahern, B., Mahern D., McHenry, McQuillen, Moriarty-Adams, Nytes, Pfisterer and Speedy.

Pacers: Cardwell, Cochrum, Day, Hunter, McHenry, McQuillen and Vaughn.

Colts: Cochrum, Hunter, Lutz, McQuillen and Nytes.

IPL: Caine, Cardwell, Coleman, Hunter, Lutz, Scales and Vaughn.

Indianapolis Airport Authority: Cardwell, Cochrum, Day, Hunter and Sanders.

Hunt Construction: Bateman, Lewis, Mahern, B. and Mahern, Dane.

Capital Improvement Board: Cochrum and McHenry

Citizens Energy: Hunter, Lutz and Moriarity-Adams.

AT&T: Cain, McHenry and Moriarity-Adams.

ICVA: Cardwell & Vaughn

Short Strategies: Lutz and Vaughn

United Consulting: Hunter

United Water: McHenry, Moriarity-Adams and Pfisterer.

Mayor Greg Ballard: McHenry, Scales and Vaughn.

Keystone Construction: McQuillen

Milestone Construction: Hunter

R.W. Armstrong: Cochrum

Oppenheimer: Cochrum

Mays Chemical: Lewis

French Lick Resort: Cochrum

A number of councilors also have an interest in businesses that solicit or do business with the City of Indianapolis. Those include:

Cardwell: Cardwell Do It Best Home Center

Lutz: Legal services for the City of Indianapolis

Nytes: Printing Partners, Inc.

Oliver: Oliver Janitorial Services

Smith: RBS Consulting (contract with the Department of Workforce Development)

Vaughn: Barnes & Thornburg legal services for City of Indianapolis

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ballard Plans To Use Utility Money For CIB Bailout

It was just a matter of time before Mayor Greg Ballard came clean on the real reason he is pushing a sale of the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy. He now concedes that a major priority in his plan to spend money derived from the sale of the utilities will include economic development, which of course means the Capital Improvement Board. Yes, Ballard will use that money to give a $15 million a year subsidy to the billionaire Simons so they won't take their team to another city. Ballard is already likening his sale of the utilities to Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves deal. The comparison pretty much ends right there. Daniels' Indiana Toll Road deal involved a lease, not a sale of a government asset. If the deal goes south, the taxpayers still own the toll road. The toll road deal netted the state $3.8 billion. If Ballard had bothered to read his MOU he signed with Citizens Energy, he would have figured out that the City of Indianapolis will net no money in the long run from the sale of the water and sewer utilities.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Brizzi Sold Out Rape Victim For Business Partner's Employee

Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid has another shocking story from the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office. His latest story tells how Carl Brizzi cut a deal with an accused rapist that allowed him to get off with a mere misdemeanor charge. The accused rapist is an employee of Paul Page, a business partner of Brizzi's. Amy Lindsey, the victim in this case, believes Brizzi sold her out.

Star: Brizzi Has Lost Our Trust

An Indianapolis Star editorial today agrees that Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has lost our trust and should resign his office. Yesterday, Mark Massa, the GOP candidate for prosecutor, called on Brizzi to resign. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John echoed Massa's call for Brizzi's resignation later in the day. The calls for his resignation center on allegations Brizzi accepted personal investments and campaign contributions from criminal defense attorney Paul Page in exchange for favorable consideration in dealing with criminal defendants represented by Page.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

MDC Votes To Expand Southside Landfill

Decatur Township residents were rebuffed today by the Metropolitan Development Commission, which granted zoning approval to Southside Landfill to expand its operations along White River. According to the comprehensive plan, the land could only be used for light industrial use. Homeowners had been told the land would be developed as a golf course. Instead, they're getting a smelly landfill that has already caused property values in the area to decline.

Councilor Robert Cockrum represents the affected residents. He sided with the landfill's owners. The MDC voted 5-3 in favor of the zoning variance. Remonstrators pointed out to the Commission numerous misrepresentations made by the Petitioner's attorney, Mary Solada, a local zoning attorney known for her ruthlessness in pursuing zoning law changes. The case points up the total disregard the unelected MDC members have towards the comprehensive plan that is supposed to protect landowners from such unintended uses of their property.

Massa Outlines Ethics Reforms In Response To Brizzi Corruption

Seeking to put distance between himself and Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, GOP prosecutor candidate Mark Massa outlined a series of ethics reforms he will implement if he is elected prosecutor. At a press conference this morning, Massa called on Brizzi to resign his office. "I'm very concerned about what reports like this do to public confidence," he told the Star. "Very simply, you cannot have a prosecutor taking a 50-percent interest with no money down on a $1 million office building (in a deal with) a defense attorney." "This is not simply an academic question. We're starting to see the consequences of this in court," Massa said,

The ethics reform plan outlined by Massa includes:

- Creating and overseeing a Public Integrity Unit within the Prosecutor’s office (Massa is a former federal prosecutor).
- Establishing a hotline at Grand Jury Division to report malfeasance by public employees or officials and aggressively prosecute it if/when found.
- Working with Mayor and City-County Council to make Prosecutor’s office subject to the county ethics ordinance, like all other city and county offices (Marion County Prosecutor’s Office currently exempt.)
- Will not have any outside business interests.
- Will not serve on boards of for-profit companies.
- Will not allow deputy prosecutors to pursue outside employment without authorization.
- Will not accept gifts of any kind as Prosecutor.

UPDATE: Brizzi reacted angrily to Massa's call for his resignation, calling it a "political stunt." He vowed to stay and fight the bad guys until his term expires. It's about time the Indiana Supreme Court stepped in and used its authority to discipline attorneys who misbehave and take appropriate action against Brizzi. How can they expect us to respect our criminal justice system with Brizzi acting as the state's top prosecutor?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Brizzi Hits Keep On Coming

Fox 59's Russ McQuaid follows up on the IBJ's story this weekend about how Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi cut a deal with a drug dealer represented by his business partner, Paul Page, a local criminal defense attorney. In a startling statement, Brizzi defended his handling of the case. Brizzi claimed the case of Joseph Mobarecki was handled just like any other case. "In this case, the prosecution and defense each wanted specific deals but a compromise was struck, which means that the defense did not get what it wanted," Brizzi said. Instead of serving 10 years in prison, the deal Brizzi cut with Mobarecki let him off with only two days in jail, and he got $10,000 returned to him that had been seized by police during his arrest. The deal also allows Mobarecki to reduce his one felony charge to a misdemeanor.

McQuaid confirms my earlier report that Mobarecki's customers included some prominent professional athletes. He also notes that a local high school coach was one of Mobarecki's customers as well. If you check Brizzi's campaign finance records, you will discover that one of his largest campaign contributors is a prominent plastic surgeon who wrote prescriptions for pain killers to Colts owner Jim Irsay. Brizzi swept that investigation under the rug several years ago in order to protect Irsay. Irsay had an addiction to prescription drugs and several local doctors were writing prescriptions for him knowing that he had an addiction. Irsay had to be treated for drug overdoses on several occasions.

Ballard Hoards 70 Final Four Tickets

In a little-noticed item in this weekend's "Behind Closed Doors" in the Star, it was pointed out that Mayor Greg Ballard snagged 70 tickets to the Final Four. The publicly-financed Indiana Sports Corporation and the Indiana Convention & Visitors Association snagged several hundred more tickets to the prized event. As this blog has pointed out in the past, Ballard is totally consumed by the perks of office. Getting tickets to sporting events is his highest priority as mayor. Ballard could be seen over the weekend desperately seeking out celebrities in town for the Final Four as he dined at downtown's best steak houses.

Mayor Ballard appeared on the Morning Show with WIBC's Terri Stacy and Steve Simpson this morning. Ballard used the opportunity to promote his tax, spend and borrow bailout of the CIB as the reason our city was able to host a Final Four this weekend. Naturally, Stacy and Simpson threw only softball questions to the mayor. Ballard likes to brag about how transparent his administration is. Let's get a full accounting of just who all got those Final Four tickets doled out by his office, the Indiana Sports Corporation and the Indiana Convention & Visitors Association. Our taxpayer dollars were used to purchase those tickets. Let's see who got them.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Despising Duke: How Far Will The Star Go?

Tens of thousands of Star readers opened up the Sports section of the newspaper yesterday shocked to see the picture of Duke Coach Mike Kryzewski defaced with the headline above it reading, "Despising Duke." The Star pulled the picture and apologized for it but only after 30,000 copies of it had already reached the streets, including one read by Coach Kryzewski, who was shocked by it and called it totally juvenile. Who would have thought that the Indianapolis Star would become a local embarrassment as the city plays host to the NCAA Final Four.

More On Brizzi Justice

The IBJ's Cory Schouten has another eye-popping story about how Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has repeatedly auctioned off justice to his political and business associates. He cites a major drug felony arrest where the defendant was represented by Brizzi business associate and criminal defense attorney, Paul Page. According to Schouten, Brizzi personally intervened to cut a special deal for Joseph Mobarecki, who Indianapolis police caught with more than $100,000 worth of anabolic steroids, five unlicensed firearms and more than $17,000 in cash. He was initially charged with seven felony counts of possession and dealing, including marijuana. State sentencing guidelines would have called for a sentence of 6 to 10 years in jail. Instead, Brizzi agreed to a plea deal for Mobarecki that allowed him to plead guilty to just one felony possession charge, the least among the charges he faced. Even more shocking, Brizzi allowed $10,000 of Mobarecki's seized money to be turned over to Page to help cover his legal expenses.

According to a police source, I learned more than a year ago that police were wanting to investigate Mobarecki's customer list. Police believed that Mobarecki had been selling the steroids to some prominent professional athletes in the area. Brizzi wanted the case killed to keep the identities of those prominent professional athletes confidential. I believe that was his real motivation for the plea deal with Mobarecki as opposed to his business ties to Paul Page. In the end, Mobarecki only served two days in jail and paid $365 in fines.

Professor Henry Karlson tells Schouten the plea deal violated three basic rules of the Prosecutor's Office. "Typically, plea deals in drug cases keep the most serious felony charge, not the least, Karlson told Schouten. "Defense attorneys usually deal with trial attorneys and not the elected prosecutor." "And most major drug cases lead to substantial forfeiture actions—including cars, homes and cash." “That appears to be a very good plea bargain—the kind of plea bargain lawyers dream about,” Karlson said. “It appears to be a very unusual case with a very unusual plea bargain carried out in a very unusual manner.”

Schouten found two other serious criminal cases where special deals were worked out for defendants represented by attorneys with close ties to Brizzi. An accused rapist who worked for Paul Page and was represented by him copped a plea agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to criminal confinement and serve 365 days on home detention. In another case, Brizzi agreed to modify a felony murder conviction for a man represented by Bruce Donaldson of Barnes & Thornburg. Under the modification, the defendant won a 45-year sentence reduction, allowing him to go free after serving only 10 years of his original 55-year sentence. Then there is also the Harrison Epperly case where Epperly made tens of thousands of dollars of contributions to Brizzi and then won a major sentence reduction for Epperly's daughter, who had hired someone to murder her husband.

I don't know how much more the Marion County Republicans are going to stand by as the slime continues to roll out of Brizzi's office. It's time for the leadership to demand his resignation. He has forfeited his right to hold this public office.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Will Ballard Use Citizens' Money To Balance City Budget?

Mayor Greg Ballard maintained in his initial announcement of the proposed sale of the water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy that all of the cash proceeds of the sale would be plowed into new sidewalks and street improvements. More recently, Ballard conceded he may use some of the money to pay for a new data processing system for public safety and fund economic development efforts. Ballard's administration has been spending like drunken sailors recently despite predictions that state reimbursement adjustments to the city will leave the city budget with a hole of $20 to $30 million. Ballard recently obtained council approval to spend $27 million on the purchase of new public safety vehicles, which effectively drained the city fund from which the funds are being appropriated. The administration claims the purchase will actually save taxpayers in the long haul.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Airport Authority's Clark Under Investigation By Florida Prosecutor

The Indianapolis Airport Authority hired John Clark, III as its chief executive officer knowing his controversial record in a similar position with the Jacksonville, Florida airport. Now comes word that a Florida prosecutor is investigating his tenure at that airport. According to the Star's Bruce Smith, a Florida prosecutor obtained Clark's personnel records through a subpoena he recently issued. Clark assured the Star he had done nothing wrong during his tenure in Jacksonville. News reports in Florida prior to his departure questioned lavish trips he took around the world at the airport's expense.