Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Council Democrats Threaten To Delay Vote On Criminal Justice Center Until ROC Answers Provided

The corrupt Ballard administration has stonewalled a council investigating committee for the past year in providing documents and answers requested about a one-sided 25-year lease it entered into with a politically-connected campaign contributor for the Regional Operations Center. Even after the council went to court and obtained an order from Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg in July compelling it to turn over all relevant documents, the administration has furnished only part of the documents in drips and drabs. Still missing from the production are invoices documenting all expenditures made to date to support the troubled facility.

The latest documents turned over to the council confirm at least part of what the administration has been hiding for the past year. Former Public Safety Director Frank Straub, former Controller Jeff Spalding and other key city officials expressed grave doubts about the suitability and cost of locating the ROC at the former Eastgate Mall site. Former EMS Director Jim White likened the condition of the property to buildings he encountered during his tour of duty in war-torn Iraq. Despite valid concerns raised about the site, Mayor Greg Ballard exerted so much pressure on Straub, he relented and reversed his decision to choose another location. Documents also establish that City-County Council members were provided misleading information about the project's costs and sustainability in order to obtain their approval. An oft-repeated claim by the administration that the City's agreement to host the 2012 Super Bowl required the ROC be built turned out to be a patent lie.

Several council Democrats who serve on the ROC Investigating Committee now say they will seek to delay any action on the Ballard administration's proposal to award a public-private partnership agreement to a foreign-led consortium to build a new criminal justice center complex at the site of the former GM Stamping Plant, which could cost upwards of $1.75 billion over 35 years, until the Mayor forces his staff to turn over all court-ordered documents and provide answers to lingering questions about the problem-plagued ROC that Public Safety Director Troy Riggs at one point ordered vacated for months because of the unsafe conditions of the building. City employees moved back into the ROC more than six months later after numerous repairs were made but only after the Mayor's Office signed a settlement agreement holding the City liable for the costs of most of those repairs and reaffirming the "hell or high water," one-sided terms of the long-term lease favoring the landlord, which essentially leaves no out for the City.

We will not allow the City to be fooled again," the Indianapolis Star quoted Councilor Joe Simpson as saying at a press conference called by him and his fellow councilors, Vop Osili and Monroe Gray." "It would behoove all of us to learn how we got into this, to learn the processes that ensure we don't repeat these actions, and then to move forward with a clean set of guidelines and understanding of how we consider long-term contracts," Osili added.

Incredibly, Republican council members still don't get it. "I don't know where they think they got bamboozled," said Councilor Jack Sandlin, a Republican member of the ROC Investigating Committee. It's particularly troublesome to hear those words from Sandlin, a retired Indianapolis police officer who makes his living as a private investigator. Whether you believe the council got bamboozled, Republicans and Democrats alike who voted for the ROC lease, the fact is the public got bamboozled. Nonetheless, the Republican members can only chastise the Democratic members for trying to get to the bottom of the matter, as if the blatant misappropriation of public dollars is perfectly okay as long as it's benefiting a large Republican campaign contributor.

UPDATE: Radio talk show host Amos Brown has uploaded a segment of his show today in which he interviewed Councilors Simpson and Gray, as well as the council's financial adviser, Bart Brown, which you can hear by clicking here. They have an interesting discussion of the ongoing ROC debate and the criminal justice center project, which includes a discussion of some of the topics I've raised on this blog.


Anonymous said...

Sandlin... are you kidding us???

"I don't know where they think they got bamboozled," said Councilor Jack Sandlin (R).

Here is what we "don't get" Sandlin: The Council wastes millions of our tax dollars for the ROC white elephant [with strong behind-the-scenes help of Ben Hunter (R) and Mary Moriarty Adams (D) among others] and look at that POS site which wiser heads attempted in vain to warn about as sure-fire failure. There is hardly one Democrat not as guilty as the Republicans (except for Scales) who has dirt on their hands concerning the ROC scam. The former Eastgate Shopping Center looks like a Syrian village after years of nonstop bombing.

Ballard LIED through his teeth about this foul deal from the get-go and now cries on local television to Gelardi that "everybody wanted it there" so he also "wanted it there"... the logic of a certified moron.

And wasn't it REPUBLICAN operative DAVID BROOKS who wrote the deal for his client who owned Eastgate that SCREWED Marion County taxpayers??? Thanks, David. Good to see you're still a gem. Now that you and Susie have a national money source, rather than merely local tax funds to award/to work with, I can't wait to see what other great "public works" plans you and Susan will help put in motion.

Flogger said...

Call me a Cynic, with apologies to Herman Melville. Are the Democrats simply looking for bigger piece of the new "Justice" Center??? I wonder if the Democrats will quietly let the ROC Investigation slip under the waves, if they have to reveal all of the Democrats in their party had a piece of the ROC??

Given the past in Marion County I tend to agree with Eugene Debs - The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles.

Anonymous said...

ANON 7:15, Thank you for pointing out Sandlin’s false assertion "I don't know where they think they got bamboozled." Sure he was kidding us. This private investigator knows where the dead bodies are buried and has profited from his connections on the City Council. He made more than enough to pay for his luxury second home on the Ohio in Madison. He just traded up for an even larger second home in Madison that is larger than the primary home of most taxpayers.

Sandlin... are you kidding us???

Butler University’s Ben Hunter is another Ballard fraud enabler who has helped block the truth from taxpayers. Sandlin, Hunter, Brooks and Vaughn are again trying to bamboozle the taxpayers on the Criminal Injustice Center. They are not kidding. The taxpayers will be taken for tens of millions $$$. Brooks needs a DC home and Sandlin wants a newer BMW.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that in saying, "We will not allow the City to be fooled again," Democrat Councilor Joe Simpson implies he and Democrat Vop Osili and Democrat Monroe Gray and the others are
guilt-free of being asleep at the wheel as they watched ROC happen from their perches in the Council room.

It is too late to try to lead voters to believe that electees who watched ROC happen should be reprieved "...to learn how we got into this, to learn the processes that ensure we don't repeat these actions, and then to move forward with a clean set of guidelines and understanding of how we consider long-term contracts,"

If Simpson et al still don't understand how they allowed this Ballard lie to continue, they should all be kicked off the CC Council for their sheer stupidity. What is the saying... zebras can't change their stripes?

Anonymous said...

Given the serious corruption issues at the forefront of the ROC, there should be NO approval on any Criminal Justice Center activity until it is carefully reviewed.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of this type of politics. It seems no matter which party has control, the other party then resorts to crying foul about every project until they regain control. Then, once they regain control they get to be the corrupt politicians for a while to get their own slush funds refilled. Each cycle the taxpayers get to pick up the tab for the next 35 years. No worry though since they simply need to change the tax laws every now and then to cover the shortfall. I guess it doesn't matter if it's the city county council or all the way up to the president. They have ALL lost my respect!