Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Vaughn Appointment As Ballard Chief of Staff Confirmed

You read it here first last week. The Star today confirms that Ballard's chief of staff, Chris Cotterill, is stepping down and is being replaced by former City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn, who will have to resign his seat on the council just months following his election to a four-year term. His replacement on the council will be made by precinct committeepersons in the district, most of whom are appointed by the county chairman. Cotterill is a former Barnes & Thornburg attorney, and Vaughn currently works as an attorney/lobbyist for the firm. The law firm exercises total control over Mayor Greg Ballard, who takes all of his orders from Bob Grand and Joe Loftus. Let's face it. The City of Indianapolis is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Thornburg. Sources say the Cotterill/Vaughn switch has been in the works for some time. Cotterill isn't saying who is new employer will be, but if the past is prologue, he will be accepting a position that will allow him to cash in on his role as a senior adviser to Ballard. His predecessor, Paul Okeson, accepted a six-figure job with Ersal Ozdemir's Keystone Construction, which has been awarded tens of millions of dollars in city contracts and $6.5 million in public funds to build its parking garage/retail project planned for Broad Ripple, which Vaughn played an instrumental role in securing.

UPDATE: Ballard's press release making the announcement cites as Cotterill's greatest accomplishment the Citizens Energy deal:
“Chris Cotterill’s leadership on the Citizens Energy transaction will save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Mayor Ballard. “I often joke that service in my administration is like the song Hotel California in that ‘you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.’  That is true in the case of Chris Cotterill as I will continue to seek his advice and service in other ways for the betterment of Indianapolis.”
When Cotterill brokered the deal, he concealed from the public the fact that he had secretly agreed to use $29 million of the proceeds from the transaction to pay as a break-up fee to Veolia, the French-owned company that operated the water company despite widespread reports of the company's mismanagement of the water company, which included problems with over billing water utility users, and the payment of unearned bonuses totalling tens of millions of dollars made to the firm over the objection of the city's contract manager, a point that even caught the attention of IURC regulators. The law firm that coincidentally represented Veolia was Barnes & Thornburg.

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