Friday, February 28, 2014

Gary Airport Consultants Set To Score $2 Million From Privatization Deal

It's one of the main reasons corrupt people in power push for privatization of government assets. There are always the usual suspects who cash in big time from the consulting work that occasions the execution of a privatization agreement. The magical number for the pay day to the consultants for the 40-year privatization deal with Aviation Facilities for the Gary Airport is $2 million, which is about the same amount Indianapolis spent on consultants for its corrupt parking meter privatization deal with ACS.

The Northwest Indiana Times says the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels is set to be paid $1 million, which is the exact tab paid to Ice Miller for Indy's parking meter deal. A firm owned by the ousted former head of the Indianapolis International Airport Authority, John Clark, could score a $500,000 pay off on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he's already been paid by the airport authority to steer contracts to pay-to-play contractors. The authority plans to use TIF funds to pay the fees.
The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority is considering using its taxpayer-financed Airport Development Zone fund to pay consultants who arranged the 40-year privatization deal signed last month.
Total fees for those consultants could approach $2 million, but Thursday the airport panel deferred action on a resolution to make the payments . . .
The Airport Development Zone fund receives about $4 million per year from a tax increment financing district on the west end of Gary. A slice of property tax collections from both homeowners and businesses go into the fund . . .
The issue of who will pay consultants for the airport's privatization has been a thorny one for the authority because it does not have money in its budget to pay them.
The law firm on the project, Faegre Baker Daniels, has estimated its bill alone at close to $1 million, Cooper said.
The three other advisers on the privatization deal were JClark Aviation, of Atlanta, a firm headed by former Indianapolis CEO John Clark; A.C. Advisory Inc., of Chicago; and Hawthorne Strategy Group, of Chicago.
JClark Aviation stands to win the biggest single paycheck of those three. If the privatization deal is valued at $100 million, the firm will reap a $500,000 payday. At the least, JClark Aviation will be paid $200,000.
A.C. Advisory Inc. is due to get $250,000 for its services and Hawthorne Strategy Group $67,500. The three advisers combined also have a running tab for $60,000 in expenses.
The Airport Authority on Thursday authorized paying JClark Aviation $25,000 for expenses it incurred.
The Northwest Indiana Times notes that the authority has also hired an accounting firm to look into $10.4 million in over payments made to the authority by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development  Authority as a result of over billing by the authority. That over billing was uncovered by a State Board of Accounts audit. The story doesn't indicate who was responsible for the double-billing. The authority's interim director, B.R. Lane, wanted to assure members that there was no indication that the double-billing represented wrong-doing on anyone's part. Yeah, right.

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