Friday, January 30, 2015

Republican Council Members Push Approval Of Controversial Criminal Justice Center Project While Key Documents Still Are Being Withheld

The administration of Mayor Greg Ballard has still not made public key documents for the 35-year public-private partnership ("P3") agreement it wants to enter into with WMB Heartland Justice Partners, LLC to construct a new criminal justice center at the site of the former GM Stamping Plant, which could cost taxpayers at least $1.75 billion over the life of the agreement. That includes the proposals submitted by the three competing vendors, scoring information regarding those three proposals, an executed agreement with the P3 vendor, and a financial analysis demonstrating that the use of a P3 is a financially better model for Marion County taxpayers than a traditional publicly-financed and constructed project. Nonetheless, all of the Republican council members except for Councilor Christine Scales, are pushing for immediate approval of the costly, long-term deal despite the absence of key information required to evaluate what on earth it is on which they are voting based on artificial deadlines set by an administration this blog has demonstrably proven engaged in a rigged bidding process.

“Council Republicans just filed the new Justice Center Proposal w all 13 Republicans sponsoring,” Minority Leader Mike McQuillen wrote on his Twitter account. "No more time 4 Democrat stalling! #Progress." As an illustration of just how biased and inaccurate the reporting is by the Indianapolis Star's city beat reporter, check out how Brian Eason opens his story:
After weeks of inaction by the City-County Council on a proposed criminal justice center, Republicans are pushing the plan forward, whether Indianapolis’ Democratic majority is ready or not.  
Democrats in December announced that they would delay a vote on the massive public project until their probe of a controversial Regional Operations Center lease had concluded. 
But facing deadlines that the administration says could threaten the project’s financing, 13 Republican council members on Friday sponsored a measure to introduce the proposal at the council’s Feb. 9 meeting . . . 
First of all, how can the reporter accuse the Democratic-led council of "weeks of inaction" when the administration is still blocking access to all of the critical information the council would require in order to consider the complex and costly 35-year agreement, which will consume close to $50 million a year of the city-county budget when the complex opens for business? If someone is trying to sell you a new home and the seller refuses to provide you a written contract and allow you to independently inspect the home and otherwise carry out the necessary due diligence, is it your fault as the buyer that a closing on the sale of the home hasn't occurred?

Would it also not seem logical to tie up loose ends on the investigation of the costly Regional Operations Center, particularly since the same administration trying to sell the council on the criminal justice center project has stonewalled the administration for more than a year in turning over key information the council needs in order to determine why Marion County taxpayers got taken to the cleaners by entering into a long-term credit-tenant financing agreement that left no outs for the county after it was discovered the building wasn't suited for its intended purpose? It was only recently that we discovered the administration's claim that the city had no other choice than to build the ROC to comply with its agreement with the NFL to host the Super Bowl in 2012 was an outright fabrication.

It is the height of hypocrisy for the Indianapolis Star to bash Gov. Mike Pence's administration the way it did this past week for its efforts to create a centralized news agency website to allow the public easier access to a wealth of information emanating from dozens of state agencies when this newspaper seems to care so little about transparency in any number of governmental decisions, whether it be public financing for a new sports stadium and hundreds of millions in subsidies for their billionaire sports team owners, or the ROC and the criminal justice center project, all of which the newspaper's editorial writers endorsed site unseen with nothing more than a cursory review that largely regurgitated the talking points of those who benefited financially from these public transactions.

The Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star has forfeited the public's confidence altogether. Many like to condemn the political bias of the newspaper's former owners, but at least the Pulliam family required its reporters to dig and dig until every possible stone was overturned on any number of major public matters regardless of the opinions of the editorial page writers. Reporting by the Star's reporters today merely reflect the narrow-minded views of the newspaper's top management, who are made up entirely of out-of-state transplants who have few long-term ties to the community and share few, if any of its values.


Anonymous said...

I concluded a while ago that no matter how filthy this deal is, regardless of how many facts Welsh adeptly serves up that contradict the lies made in favor of this scam time and again, no matter how much faux opposition our useless local liberal Democraps put up (doubtless some D's have their fingers in the payola pot too),it is going to happen.

The bloated and bloviating Ballard is again being used by his masters; Greggie just doesn't have the intellectual capacity to dream up this scheme. HOW MUCH DID THEY PAY YOU TO BUY YOUR OBEDIENCE, FAT BOY?

But Lady Justice will smile in the end insofar as Greggie will be left twisting in the wind the way every other local tool (D or R) has been left twisting. And fat bastards swing hard and swift.

Anonymous said...

Right, they want to TAX AND SPEND on a Criminal Justice Center after all the dirty politics at the Regional Operations Center, including shredding of documents & refusal to comply with requests for production of documents until a court ordered it.

Sorry, that Regional Operations Center stinks of corruption and pay-offs.

It's exteriour appearance today looks more like a military stronghold in Iraq, complete with large concrete defensive barriers.

I vote NO to a Criminal Justice Center as proposed.

Anonymous said...


Which documents are being withheld?