Saturday, August 02, 2014

Ballard Blows $750,000 On PR Contract With Former Aide To Promote Foreign-Owned Criminal Justice Center

Mayor Greg Ballard's administration is moving rapidly through the process of outsourcing the construction, operation and maintenance of a new criminal justice center by a foreign-owned consortium. The goal of the plan is to move the two jails, the criminal courts and other criminal justice agencies out of the downtown area to free up prime real estate for redevelopment by Ballard's campaign contributors. Despite the City's claims of poverty when it comes to funding for public safety and other basic city services, leading to Ballard's call this past week for another $25 to $30 million a year tax increase, Ballard handed out a $750,000 no-bid contract to a former top aide in his office to perform public relations work on the criminal justice center project. The Star's John Tuohy reports on the obscene no-bid contract Ballard awarded to his former aide.
The surge is spearheaded by a government relations consultant and former Ballard aide who landed a $750,000 contract from the city to see that the project gets approved.
The one-year contract with the Bose Public Affairs Group instructs the firm to keep the Democrat-controlled City-County Council updated on the project’s progress, organize community meetings, seek media coverage, schedule news conference and maintain an e-newsletter.
“The ultimate goal of these efforts will be to gain Council approval of the project,” the contract’s scope of services says.
The amount of the contract stunned some City-County councilors, as well as a former public relations consultant.
“Lord have mercy, what a waste of money,” said Democrat Councilor Joe Simpson. “This is ridiculous. This tells me they know they don’t have any support for that center.”
The mayor’s office said the contract was part of doing business for a project as large as the planned justice center.
“Many big projects like this use outside assistance, and it is not unusual to include that as part of the project cost,” said Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Ballard.
The point man for Bose is senior public affairs consultant John Cochran, who managed Ballard’s 2007 mayoral campaign and was a special counsel to the mayor. The firm is a subsidiary of the law firm of Bose McKinney, which traditionally has received little city business under the Ballard administration . . .
I'm not sure which is more absurd: the size of the contract; or the fact that John Cochran, an attorney who has never practiced law, has absolutely no training or experience in public relations work. Even Councilor Jeff Miller, a fake Republican who never saw a tax increase or new government regulation he didn't like, had trouble defending the size of the contract. "That is a big number. Now I know why he’s so easy to get a hold of," Miller said. “I knew he was not doing it for free, but I did not know (his firm) was getting that much.” Miller said the meetings had been helpful in generating support on the city's near west side where the administration planned to build the nearly half billion dollar criminal justice system. Area residents see it differently. "Resident Rahnae Napoleon said the neighborhood near the proposed site is far from supportive," Tuohy writes. "We were basically told it was coming whether we like it or not," she said. "We never had voice. We are now trying to make the best of what they are serving up to us."

Does anyone else see the irony in Ballard throwing away $750,000 of our taxpayer dollars on a politically-connected firm which has just hired his likely Democratic opponent next year, Joe Hogsett, and which will in turn invest that money in doing all within its power to ensure that Hogsett defeats Ballard in next year's election?


Anonymous said...

Is the person handing out these outrageous no-bid contracts [and the person REALLY running this City] Greg Ballard or could it be his COS who was puffed, promoted and mentored heavily by David Brooks? The self-absorbed, thin-skinned, low-intellect, incredibly incompetent ex-marine just doesn't seem to me to have anywhere near the caliber of acuity for all the crony pay to play largess. Ballard seems to me to be more of a step and fetch it than a real leader who is an idea man with quick initiative and decisive action.

Oh, and what a PERFECT take on Jeff Miller. That faux Republican can straddle a horse hair better than a gnat. Just try and get a straight answer from the guy. He's all book cover and no story.

Gary R. Welsh said...

If you're referring to Ryan Vaughn, he's another one of Bob Grand's boys. Grand grooms all of these young boys who attend his alma mater, the all-male Wabash College, to do his bidding for him in government jobs he lands for them. David Brooks had nothing to do with Ryan Vaughn.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:45 here. My misconception, Gary. Appreciate the correction.

Anonymous said...

The inside money in Indianapolis will not allow Ballard to run again for Mayor. That decision has already been made.
With rising crime foremost among many other issues Ballard is a serious liability to the pay-to-play people now. They were not going to run the risk of of a Ballard defeat against someone not of their chosing.
This is when Hogsett entered the picture. This is the reason why Hogsett went to Bose and why Ballard awarded this no bid contract with Bose.
The deal was formally cut when Bayh just happened to stop by Indianapolis at the same time Hogsett announced he was leaving the Fed job. This was not an accident.
There were closed door meetings by the money in Indianapolis about the liability that Ballard had become with the crime situation and it was decided that Ballard had outlived his usefulness as a figurehead Mayor. The inside money had rode the Ballard horse until it was used up. They needed a fresh horse, one that could win and one that the money could control. Hogsett was their man. No one knew this more than Bayh. So the money had to agree to a package. That deal was thet they get Hogsett so long as they support Bayh's run for Governor. It was a logical choice and it had nothing to do with partison politics. Anyone who understands poilitcs in Indianapolis would know it's about nothing more than the money. No matter which party controls the Mayor's office there is really just one party in Indianapolis and that is the Money Party. I chuckle when some blogs get into a Republican and Democrat crap fest when the truth is that neither party matters. Only the money matters. Peterson was no more a Democrat than my dog just as Ballard was no more a Republican than my other dog. It doesn't matter. The Money Party always wins in this town. The political game is rigged in Indy and ain't rigged in your favor either. We all live in Indy but the Money Party doesn't. The Money Party lives outside of Indianapolis primarily in Hamilton County. Funny how all the movers and shakers that feed at the Indianpolis tax payor trough don't even live in Indianapolis. They couldn't care less about the neighborhoods and basic services in Indy because they don't live here. The inside money bleeds Indy while carrying mountains of our loot up across 96th street. Hogsett and Bayh know this and so does Ballard.

Ballard is not running for re-election and the cash that is in Ballard's war chest will selectively be used by inside money to stack the council in their favor.
Hogsett came as a package deal and if anyone really thinks that Indianapolis will change with Hogsett really doesn't know much about how Indianapolis is run.
So, it make perfect sense for Bose to get that contract because Ballard is as good as gone. A few people on the inside already decided who they want want to run this city. You just have an illusion of choice.
Until the laws change and some of the Money Party go to prison all you are left with is the right to complain. Ballard could have broken the system when upset Peterson but he didn't. Ballard's price was so cheap when he was first elected that the Money Party bought him less that 48 hours after he won.
It is useful to know that Mike O'Conner ran Peterson't ill fated campaign against Ballard took a job with Bose Public Affairs immediately after Peterson lost.It's also useful to know that O'Conner left Bose and is with Eli Lilly now, just as Peterson.
Ballard is not going to run for re-election and he will announce that right after Hogsett announces. The deal is done.
Hogsett is just a continuation of a system that has been in place beginning with Lugar. The Money Party put Peterson in just like they will Hogsett. The Hogsett-Bayh package deal is a win win for everyone except us. The Money Party keeps control with an untainted Mayor of their choosing, Hogsett is set up with a big future payoff and Bayh has his best buddy as Mayor of the largest city in the state to deliver votes in his race for Governor.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis, 9:22. I'm glad to see more people recognize just what Indy is, and you nailed it.

Will the Republicans even field a mayoral candidate?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:22 says the truth: “A few people on the inside already decided who they want to run this city. You just have an illusion of choice.” That is the truth I experienced. YOU JUST HAVE THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE.
I became politically active when I moved back to downtown Indy as Bart Peterson ran for re-election. Compared to my downtown home ownership during the Hudnut years, I was shocked as it did seem that the City was adrift. Downtown appeared so dirty and ignored, panhandlers physically accosted citizens, and to make matters worse, property taxes were going up; I went to E. Vermont Street literally demanding to be “signed up”. I thought I was enlisting for a cause, for a sound, Conservative political philosophy of governance in the best interests of the taxpayers. I thought “Republicans” were all about rights of the Individual being premier and the State having only those rights ceded to them by the People. In other words, I thought I was working for a philosophy along the lines of Mark Levin.
I would later wonder how I could have been so naive.
What at first seemed like a life changing participation in “the process” morphed into something akin to peeling an onion- layer by layer is removed until the core is exposed and what you see that the center is a different from what you see at the surface.
And to be “fair and balanced” I learned the Democrat Party is no better- possibly worse- if that could be while another portion of The One Party works the right side. What I witnessed … well, I never would have believed the extent of what I call underhanded dealings had I not watched it all unfold before my eyes.
I gotta stop because recalling all this really upsets me. I realize now that I never lived in a City- much less a Nation- as I dreamed both were. As a Constitutional Conservative, I feel as though I am waking up and finding a police state and a political process that is very remote from the Founders’ intentions. “The political game is rigged in Indy and ain't rigged in your favor either.”
Anon 9:22 has it nailed tight. I know because what I witnessed closely parallels what Anon 9:22 submitted.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The campaign finance reports don't lie. They show the same firms and special interests contributing the bulk of the campaign contributions to members of both parties who have people nominally with Rs and Ds behind their names to give the appearance there is a difference. Bose has Rs like Paul Mannweiler, Bill Hudnut, Michael O'Brien, and Jennifer Ping working for them in addition to Cochran. The Ds have Doug Brown, Greg Hahn and Sam Odle. Peterson's former chief of staff Mike O'Connor once worked there as did former Marion Co. Chairman Ed Treacy. It's an incestuous cesspool of people who do nothing but corrupt government in Indiana at all levels. Bose Public Affairs Group is the lobbying arm of Bose McKinney & Evans, which just hired Joe Hogsett. Everyone knows that Hogsett will be paid a large salary that will not be based on his billable hours but the decisions he will make with our taxpayer dollars once he's elected mayor that will line their pockets and the pockets of their clients just like Baker & Daniels did in paying Evan Bayh a million bucks while he campaigned for a U.S. Senate seat he had auctioned off before he was sworn into office. While I consider myself a Republican, I've come to despise it and the people who run it as much as the Democratic Party. Both parties are controlled by the same oligarchs. We don't have free elections in the United States anymore. Your right to vote means nothing because it doesn't matter which party is in power, the same results will be produced. The so-called partisan feuding is nothing more than a show for the public to make them believe they have choices.

Gary R. Welsh said...

As to Ballard not running again, I think there is a strong possibility of that happening but I believe he will pretend he is running for re-election and only pull out at the last minute so the party leaders can dictate their handpicked candidate to fill his spot on the ticket. There is only one legitimate Republican on the Indianapolis City-County Council, Christine Scales, and both political parties are doing everything they can to destroy her because her vote cannot be bought like the other council members.

Anonymous said...

The local GOP cares enough about keeping the high salaries of their wives and friends in place by having a Republican Mayor in office. God forbid Kyle Walker's wife loses her dependable monthly salary as a mayor's PR consultant. They will fight fire with fire. The wolf in sheep's clothing, Troy Riggs who has convinced everyone that he's an upstanding guy, will be put forward as " the real public safety advocate". Only problem is his history of trying to bribe a counselor and lying about it. Also, a check into his past will show little will to launch a formal investigation against an LMPD officer when evidence mounted about her embezzling funds from the Black Police Officer's Union. The LMPD chief, and yes man Riggs as assistant chief sat on the evidence for years. Riggs rose through the ranks in premier jobs in LMPD much due to his relationship with a judge-his aunt. He's always been more politician than cop, so the next step in a run for Mayor would be just what the current Mayor and his shadow government ordered.

Flogger said...

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident happened 50 years Ago, which triggered AmeriKa's massive activation of the War Machine. We now know the lies and deceit the US Government and Media of the time manufactured.

Fast Forward to GWB and his justification to attack Iraq, once again using not just a Big Lie, but several Big Lies.

We have in more recent times Clapper lying to Congress, and now Obama admitting some "Folks" were tortured. The CIA Director John Brennan lies about spying on Congress and remains in place.

The point to this is our Government from Top to Bottom, is engaged in deception. The Empty Suit - Evan Bayh will chair an accountability board for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Anonymous said...

For some odd reason, John Cochran did not possess a drivers license throughout the Ballard campaign and had to walk or be driven. Hmmmm? That's odd for an attorney.

Anonymous said...

Just watch his campaign finance reports!!! I bet there will be hefty contributions from law firm(s), construction firms, electricians, plumbers, paving companies, etc.

By the way, I'd like to set up a restaurant inside this place, since the lunch crowd will have no place to quickly go...does anyone know how much contribution I'd have to make to be considered?

Anonymous said...

Did Cochran not have a car or a license?

Some Downtowners give up on cars, but not necessarily their licenses.

Hernan Dough said...

Anon 5:37- You'll have to compete with the Sheriff's Department as a bidding "concessionaire"