Monday, August 04, 2014

Hogsett Dodges Answering Questions About Worthiness Of $750,000 No-Bid Contract Ballard Awarded To His New Firm

Now former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett was still unpacking boxes in his new office at Bose McKinney & Evans today when he told reporters that he was going to be forming an exploratory committee as the first step in launching his campaign for the Democratic nomination for Indianapolis mayor next year. While other reporters treated Hogsett with kid gloves in interviews today, radio talk show host Amos Brown wasted no time in putting Hogsett on the spot over news reported in the Star this weekend that incumbent Mayor Greg Ballard has awarded a $750,000 no-bid contract to a member of the public affairs arm of Hogsett's new law firm who formerly served as a top aide in the mayor's office to handle public relations for a proposed half billion, privatized criminal justice center being pushed by Ballard on behalf of the downtown mafia, whose members stand to profit in the tens of millions from insider real estate deals made possible if the proposal moves forward.

Brown could not have found a more difficult question to toss at Hogsett on his first business day as a private citizen working at a large downtown Indianapolis law firm. Naturally, Hogsett skirted answering the question directly. Instead, he deflected attention away from the issue by discussing his record of reducing the size of his office budgets each year when he served as Indiana Secretary of State and U.S. Attorney. He said he had always been an advocate for transparency and openness in government when Brown pressed him on whether more information should be made available to the public to explain exactly what services Bose Public Affairs Group performed for the outrageously large $750,000 consulting contract, a figure some public relations representatives thought was probably as much as five times higher than what would have been a reasonable fee to charge for similar services.

Hogsett did hit on a theme I've emphasized to readers of this blog in noting that the past three tax increases enacted by the City of Indianapolis all promised more money to hire additional police officers. Yet the number of police officers has actually shrank rather than grown despite taxes being increased for that purpose. He hinted that his support for raising taxes to hire more police officers at this time is not a given until he is convinced all is being done to squeeze enough revenues from existing sources to adequately fund IMPD.

Hogsett wisely cancelled an interview he was scheduled to give later today to radio talk show host Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, who is nothing more than a paid mouthpiece for Mayor Greg Ballard. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Kyle Walker was quick to take a swipe at news of Hogsett forming an exploratory committee to run for mayor. Walker criticized Hogsett as "a career politician" who broke his pledge to serve the remainder of his term as U.S. Attorney. "Just a few months ago, Joe Hogsett declared he had a 'moral obligation' to serve his full term as U.S. Attorney and now he turned his back on that commitment," Walker said. Hogsett told Brown that he decided to step down as U.S. Attorney and run for mayor because he thought he could do more to address the city's crime problem, which he saw getting increasingly worse during the past few years, as mayor rather than as U.S. Attorney. 

1 comment:

Flogger said...

Smoking Joe Hogsett did not nothing as a US Attorney so why would anyone expect him to accomplish anything as Mayor. I figured Hogsett would bust some Biker Gang, just to go out with a bang and prove he was tough on Crime, and let Curry stand next to him, but I was wrong.

Mayor Blowhole was just a guest diner at the Crony-Capitalist 5 Star Restaurant. The Mayor would leave just as Smoking Joe walked in, with a nod and a wink.