Center Township Trustee Eugene Akers used taxpayer dollars to purchase a $37,000 Dodge Charger for his personal use as a deputy constable. Someone in his office then improperly registered the vehicle with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as a law enforcement vehicle so it could be plated with law enforcement license plates. The BMV discovered after the license plate was issued in 2011 that it had been improperly issued and asked Center Township to return the license plate. It never did. According to the IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin, someone working for the business publication noticed earlier this year that Akers was driving a car with a law enforcement license plate and began asking questions of Akers' office.
Akers told the IBJ that he has a side job working as a deputy constable for Center Township Constable Tony Duncan, which raises an entirely different question: Can the elected trustee, a full-time job paying $92,000 a year, hold a second job working for another township official? The township constable is responsible for serving civil court papers filed in the Center Township Small Claims court. Akers had a lengthy and costly legal battle with the Small Claims Court judge over attempts to move the court out of the City-County Building into the Julia Carson Government Center, a township-owned building on Fall Creek Blvd., that went all of the way up to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court sided with Judge Michelle Scott. Akers and Duncan retaliated against Scott by backing her opponent in this year's primary election, Brenda Roper, who easily defeated Scott.
Ethical lapses in the Center Township Trustee's Office is nothing new. Akers' predecessor, Carl Drummer, used township property to store his collection of Corvette racing cars and conduct business for a hobbyist group of black Corvette owners. Drummer's Chief Financial Officer, Alan Mizen, was recently charged with the theft of more than $340,000 he acquired by overpaying his services to the township. Akers claims he didn't complete the application made out to the BMV which misrepresented the Dodge Charger he drives as a law enforcement vehicle. The BMV redacted the name of the person who completed the application according to the IBJ; however, the person's name had a title that began with the word "chief." After the IBJ told the BMV about the license plate, a member of the BMV's fraud unit went to the township offices and recovered the license plate from Akers' car.
In Indiana, township constables earn their salaries from fees they charge for each civil document they serve. So why is Center Township paying to furnish Akers with a car he uses to moonlight as a deputy constable serving court papers for Tony Duncan? Akers told the IBJ that his "safety officer" also works part-time for Duncan as a deputy constable. Akers told the IBJ that township-owned vehicles were already licensed with law enforcement plates when he took over the trustee's office from Carl Drummer, who resigned to become a lobbyist working for Ice Miller's Lacy Johnson. The BMV stopped issuing law enforcement license plates to township constables in 2009 after the bribery scandal involving Perry Township Constable Roy Houchins. Houchins sold law enforcement badges to various members of the downtown mafia out of the Columbia Club for about $2,000 a piece. Houchins dropped dead in March, 2010 as he walked out of a southside pub just days before he was scheduled to appear in federal court and cop a plea with federal investigators on racketeering charges brought against him in exchange for his cooperation in an ongoing investigation. Houchins' convenient death effectively ended the investigation. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the investigation of Akers to go any further.
The investigation might go further if we kept up the pressure on the news to report it and the Mayor for ignoring it.
Obviously these positions need tighter reins that are enforced.
Another reminder that Kernan-Shepard should have had its pieces in acted by now
We don't need these townships. They cost us a lot of money, they're rife with fraud, the township small claims courts don't operate efficiently or fairly, and many of us wonder why we have to pay for township trustees and the gifts they bestow on some "poor" while others go without. Nobody is surprised we're in another "township" scandal. The taxpayers don't matter. This whole patronage township system is set up to line the pockets of the various small time politicians that bounce from office to office. Those of us who want Indiana to come into the current century look with amazement on these township abuses. Its really sad, and we should all be embarrassed to let it continue.
Whatever fraud and theft is taking place at the township level pales in comparison to what is going on in the consolidated city-county government of Indianapolis. No consolidation has ever achieved a dime of savings to taxpayers in past consolidation efforts in this county. We're only shifting who controls the money and the size and magnitude of the unchecked public corruption taking place here.
There are a couple of talking points here.
1) Akers tries to rationalize the failure to register his car by saying he has a side job as a "deputy constable." What does that have to do with registering his car? Does a part-time janitor for the city get to have a free "Municipal" license plate? NO!!! This is fraud. He has not paid taxes on his vehicle, and we all my affirm under penalty of perjury each year that our vehicles are registered with The BMV. So there may be perjury and failure to pay tax by a government elected official.
2. This is another in a long list of Center Twp corruption issues over the years. We need to accept the Commission on Local Government Reform's report and act on it to ELIMINATE township government. It is costly and full of corruption.
Bunch of thugs in Center Township.
"Corruption is as Corruption does."
-The Democrat Machine
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