Monday, September 17, 2012

Citizen Activist Files Lawsuit To Block Consideration Of Downtown TIF Expansion Proposal

A lawsuit has been filed today by citizen activist Clark Kahlo to block consideration by the Indianapolis City-County Council of a proposal that would expand the downtown TIF district to include parts of the booming Mass Avenue area and a several block area of the northwest part of downtown. Last month, the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee took up consideration of the proposal after the committee's chairman, Steve Talley, had gaveled the meeting adjourned following the conclusion of all items on the public agenda. Several remaining councilors on the committee who are controlled by the downtown mafia then moved to bring the proposal to expand the downtown TIF district that had been tabled last February. Under the revised municipal code, the proposal automatically died if the council failed to act on it for a period of six months. Nonetheless, the councilors went ahead and pulled it from the table upon motion of the remaining councilors after Councilor Mary Moriarty-Adams, an employee of the assessor's office whose husband works for Sheriff John Layton, took control of committee and entertained a motion by Councilor Vop Osili to pull the proposal from the table. Councilor Osili amended the proposal;  however, the committee did not first vote on the amendment separately before passing the proposal out of committee as amended. The amendment offered by Osili, a minority business contractor, included a small business loan program and other public handouts intended to aid minority business owners.

The lawsuit filed by Kahlo contends that the Proposal 15 up for adoption at tonight's council meeting was dead at the time it was passed out of committee last month and must be pulled from tonight's agenda. "I hope that Council President Lewis will do the right thing and pull the proposal from consideration," Kahlo's attorney Paul Ogden said. "In light of the City's ordinance limiting tabled motions to a life of six months, if the Council passes Proposal 15 the measure will be in legal limbo. The right thing to do is to remove the measure from consideration and have the councilors supporting it to reintroduce it if they so choose." The lawsuit notes that many of the 45 TIF districts in Indianapolis are underperforming and take property taxes away from schools, libraries, parks and public safety. The lawsuit also discusses that the Indianapolis-Marion County Tax Increment Financing Commission found that there is little transparency and oversight when it comes to the Indianapolis TIF districts. The Commission's several recommendations regarding the creation of TIF districts are on the agenda to be introduced at tonight's meeting, along with the adoption of Proposal 15 and the introduction of yet another proposal to create a new TIF district that will cover more than 700 acres of land assessed for tax purposes at more than $360 million on the city's northside.

UPDATE: The Star's Jon Murray has a story up late this afternoon that includes comments from Councilor Mary Moriarty Adams, who between her and her husband, draw three paychecks from the city-county government, defending the illegal action she and her fellow corrupt councilors took in passing the downtown TIF proposal out of committee:

The assertions by critics were disputed by Mary Moriarty Adams, who took over as chair of the Aug. 27 meeting after Talley's departure.
She told The Star that the meeting's draft minutes, as recorded by a council clerk, reflected that the committee properly voted to amend the proposal before it passed the committee 5-1. John Bartholomew, spokesman for the city's Department of Metropolitan Development, attended the committee meeting and said his own notes noted an amendment vote.
Adams also disagreed that the measure had been "tabled" earlier by the committee, saying that postponement was different. That would mean the rule requiring action on a dormant proposal within six months didn't apply.
"Normally when you postpone something," Adams said, "you usually have the intention as a committee of revisiting that issue."
But critics have charged that the council was showing inconsistency. Late last week, another proposal that had been postponed at the same meeting in February was removed from the list of pending proposals. It would have expanded a different TIF district to cover the Meadows neighborhood near 38th Street.
 The video tape of the meeting doesn't lie. It clearly showed that the committee failed to vote on the amendment. Instead, the councilors voted on the proposal as amended. I told others that the committee's clerk would change the official record to make it appear the proposal had acted properly. Like I sad, this is what happens when you have nothing but a bunch of crooks on the council who are totally beholden to the down mafia and could give a damn less what is in the public's interest.

UPDATE II: Councilor Adams moved to send Proposal 15 back to committee without explanation after she read a committee report that falsely represented that the proposal had been properly amended and adopted before being sent to the full council. Councilor Mahern raised an objection for the record to the report Councilor Adams read. Councilor Mike McQuillen, who is bought and paid for by the downtown mafia, urged his Republican councilors to vote against it because the pay-to-play crowd can't wait a few more weeks before they get their hands on tens of millions of your tax dollars that will be handed out to them as this year's Christmas presents. Five Republicans joined the 15 Democrats present in voting to send it back to committee where it will be heard at the committee's September 28th meeting.

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