Friday, August 13, 2010

Abdul Admits He's Not An Indianapolis Resident

The other day after Mayor Greg Ballard appointed controversial radio talk show host Abdul Hakim Shabazz to a new Public Safety advisory board and the press release referred to him as an "Attorney At Law," I commented, "The guy is not licensed to practice law in Indiana and has never practiced law. By the way, did he ever give up his Illinois vanity plate 'Abdul' and start complying with Indiana law by licensing his motor vehicle here and paying taxes here?" Shabazz responded on his blog, Indiana Barrister, yesterday when asked about my comment with the following:

Couple things, my law license is in Illinois, where I still have a home and a bunch of other stuff. I don't practice here, but I do across the border. Pardon me if I don't discuss it; attorney/client privilege.

I did promise my wife that after a year of wedded bliss, I'd consider changing over. She's living up to her part of the deal, so I likely will too. After all, you can't run if you don't meet the residency requirements, right? :-)

Be careful what you wish for...
I really doubt the validity of Shabazz' claim that he maintains a home in Illinois, but I'll accept it as a valid claim for the purpose of this discussion. He understands that if he doesn't actually have an Illinois residence, he would be breaking Indiana's tax laws by not registering his car here and paying the state's motor vehicle excise taxes that you and I have to pay as residents. His Illinois residence claim, though, begs the question of why the hell our mayor would appoint a nontaxpaying, nonvoting Illinois resident to a Public Safety advisory board. As to his claim he practices law in Illinois, I would refer you to a recent comment he made when he was criticized for writing about questionable poll results about Mayor Ballard's approval rating. "I deal in gossip and rumor and clearly label it as such," Shabazz wrote. "I am not responsible for what the reader takes away from it." Yeah, that sounds like someone we want advising our police on how to do their jobs better. As for his suggestion he might run for political office here, well, he is a part-time stand up comedian.


Downtown Indy said...

As far as I know he's always claimed to be an Illinois resident when asked (or given grief for his IL license plate).

I think it's bending the rules, perhaps breaking them, but Im no legal authority.

Of all this, the only item I find significant is, as you point out, an advisory board position held by a nonresident.

When I first read the press release, I thought it was wrong. But realistically, The Doctor of Public Safety is only passing through and is essentially a nonresident, too - I guess we can call him a transient resident.

artfuggins said...

It is not "bending the rules", it is breaking the law. The law states that any car driven on Indiana streets for more than 30 days must be licensed in Indiana. His plates are illegal and some IMPD officer should cite him for illegal plates.

Nick said...

Why won't he just register his car in IL? Having moved from IN to IL, I can tell you that insurance and car registration fees are higher there than in Indiana.

Marycatherine Barton said...

How can we expect our children to grow up and behonorable citizens when the very people who make it to the top, in Marion County Government and the media of its politicians and their campaign contributors, are so reprehensible, so unethical, such creeps. These men need to look in the mirror, then get down their needs and get close to God, to
godly principles.

Paul K. Ogden said...

First, I would point out that Abdul clearly does not know what attorney-client privilege is. Attorney-client privilege belongs to the client and not the attorney. And attorney-client privilege does NOT prevent you from mentioning who you represent. Cours can require attorneys to identify their clients.

Second, you can't be a resident of two places. You're a resident of one place. Your residence is where you spend most of your time, where you sleep, where you get your mail. They understandably cut some slack on the rule for people who are temporary residents of another place such as elected officials in Washington, D.C. or college students, but as far as I know radio hosts are not considered temporary residents like a U.S. rep. or someone away in college, and thus the residency rules apply.

Obviously Abdul is violating the BMV law about registering his plates in Indiana. He's undoubtedly violating the law too if he's voting in Indiana. I believe it's a felony in Indiana to vote someplace where you don't live. Don't know the law in Illinois.

Gary R. Welsh said...

If you are a driving a newer, more expensive car, Indiana's vehicle excise tax makes it considerably more expensive to tag your car here than Illinois. Car insurance is also more expensive in Indianapolis than Springfield, Illinois, at least it was when I made the move 20 years ago.

Cato said...

You're right, Gary. I exposed all this, years ago, on Jen Wagner's TDW, and elsewhere.

I don't even think he's practiced long enough in Illinois to qualify for reciprocity admission in Indiana.

Abdul has curried favor with the Indy power elite, so he's left alone.

By the way, he's also listed as "of counsel" at Lewis & Wilkins, Tom John's old law firm. Is that firm splitting fees with someone not licensed in the state in which the fees are performed?

Paul K. Ogden said...

FYI, I meant if he's voting in Illinois, not Indiana. Since Abdul most likely would be considered a resident of Indiana, it's would probably be illegal for him to vote in Illinois.