Saturday, January 30, 2016

Marion County GOP Slating Picks Freeman, Shreve For Senate Seats

The corrupt Marion County GOP's slating produced two winners for the title of slated candidate in Senate districts 32 and 35. City-County Councilor Aaron Freeman defeated State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer for the battle to succeed long-time Sen. Pat Miller in District 32. Kirchhofer earlier said she would run for re-election to her House seat if she lost the slating battle. Jefferson Shreve, the Democrat businessman from Bloomington, defeated City-County Councilor Jack Sandlin in District 35 for the battle to succeed Sen. Brent Waltz, who is running for the 9th District Republican congressional nomination this year.

Sandlin has hinted that he will challenge Shreve in the May primary even without the party's backing since Shreve has never won an election. Shreve was appointed by a rigged caucus vote to replace Jeff Cardwell when he stepped down from his City-County Council seat to join the Pence administration. Shreve opted not to run for election to the council after he was thrown into the same district with Jeff Miller. Shreve was trounced in the only election on which his name has appeared on a ballot when he unsuccessfully ran for state convention delegate. Party leaders have been pushing the Democratic campaign contributor and long-time Bloomington resident on Republican voters in Marion County after he started buying them all off with large campaign contributions a few years ago.

Here's the complete list of slating results:

State Senate District 30 – John Ruckelshaus
State Senate District 32 – Aaron Freeman
State Senate District 35 – Michael Young
State Senate District 36 – Jefferson Shreve
State Representative District 86 – Scott DeVries
State Representative District 87 – Connie Eckert
State Representative District 88 – Brian Bosma
State Representative District 90 – Mike Speedy
State Representative District 91 – Robert Behning
State Representative District 92 – Bradford Moulton
State Representative District 93 – David Frizzell
State Representative District 98 – Gary Whitmore
County Treasurer - Danielle Coulter
County Surveyor - Chic Clark

Rigged Hamilton County Vote Turns Out As Expected

Pete Peterson (left) and Laura Campbell

The Indiana State Republican Party allowed the outgoing county chairman, Pete Emigh, to make 71 last-minute PC appointments to rig the election to succeed him. Naturally, Emigh chose people guaranteed to vote for his handpicked replacement, Fishers Town Council member Pete Peterson. At today's caucus election, the PCs voted 151-115 to elect Peterson over Laura Campbell, who had been serving as the party's vice chair. So nearly fifty percent of Peterson's vote came from the appointments Emigh made at the last-minute in clear violation of state party rules. The state party, which conducted today's election, is now in the position of validating an election outcome that was clearly rigged from the outset.

UPDATE: According to figures provided to the Indianapolis Star's Chris Sikich, 52 of the 71 late-hour appointments made by Emigh showed up to vote. That means that if the state party had not ordered those votes counted, Campbell would have won the election by a 115-99 vote. Campbell is entitled to appeal the vote's outcome to the state party.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Star On The Ugly Hamilton County GOP Chairman Race

Apparently the stench coming out of Hamilton County from the race to become the next Hamilton County Republican Chairman reached a point that even the Indianapolis Star could no longer ignore it. Here's some of what Chris Sikich writes today:
Hamilton County politics have turned personal and divisive as Republican Party officials on Saturday seek to appoint a new chairman.
Fishers City Council President Pete Peterson and Carmel City Councilwoman Laura Campbell are vying for the position, which is crucial for organizing the party during elections . . .
The vacancy comes after Pete Emigh unexpectedly resigned Dec. 31 after about five years in the position. Emigh was criticized during his tenure for supporting some Republicans over others in primary races. Before leaving office, he quietly filled 71 vacant precinct positions.
Political insiders say the eleventh-hour appointments largely are among people likely to support Peterson, a political ally of Emigh's. The appointments include Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, Fishers city employees, business people who work with Fishers, and Peterson's daughter.
The situation gets more intriguing. Campbell, the county party vice chair, took over as acting party chair Dec. 31. She said she was surprised at that point to discover the late appointments had been made. She said Emigh did not follow the correct notification procedures to appoint precinct officials, an allegation he denied. She dismissed those 71 appointments.
But that decision did not stand for long.
Fadness appealed his dismissal to the Indiana Republican Party, which decided this week to reinstate all of Emigh's appointments.
But there's a catch. If the 71 appointments give Peterson the victory, Campbell can appeal the decision to the state Republican Party . . .
An anonymous letter was sent to county party officials this week detailing arrests and convictions for Peterson for giving fictitious information, resisting law enforcement, writing bad checks and driving on a suspended license in North Carolina. Allegations also have circulated about his bankruptcy, which was filed in 2011.
Peterson feels like he is being unfairly targeted for past mistakes. He sent out a letter to county party members that he is in his 24th year of sobriety and made bad decisions as a younger man that he regrets. He blamed the more recent bankruptcy on family medical issues. More than $50,000 of the $167,086 listed in his bankruptcy filing are directly related to medical expenses. The remainder are credit expenses.
He was surprised and disappointed by the letter . . .

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Indianapolis Bar Association Thinks Letting Lawmakers Pick Marion County Judges Is A Good Idea

I thought I had seen it all when the Indianapolis Bar Association without consulting its membership endorsed a corrupt plan pushed by former Mayor Greg Ballard to let a foreign consortium own, operate and maintain a new criminal justice center that promised to cost taxpayers at least double what they should be paying. Now they're backing a new system for selecting Marion County judges that's no better than the corrupt judicial slating system we now have under which judicial candidates are required to pay bribes to party leaders in exchange for a free-ride to being elected to the bench. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a federal district court that the current system was one of the nation's most blatant ever attempts to disenfranchise voters in declaring it unconstitutional.

State Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) has a plan contained in SB 352 under which an un-elected 16-member panel consisting of eight state legislators and eight members supposedly representing the public would get to pick out judges. The eight lawmakers from Marion County would be chosen by the four state legislative leaders. Six of  the public members would be appointed by the respective chairs of the Marion County Democratic and Republican Parties. The respective presidents of the Indianapolis Bar Association and Marion County Bar Association (membership limited to black attorneys just because they don't feel they're represented by the regular bar organization) would also serve on the selection panel to round out the eight public members.

Judges appointed under this corrupt alternative to the current system would be subject to a retention vote after serving a six-year term. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 to approve this lousy, politically-motivated system for choosing judges. In addition to Sen. Young, other Marion County senators putting their name on this lousy legislation include: Brent Waltz (R), Greg Taylor (D), Jim Merritt (R), Pat Miller (R), Mike Delph (R) and Scott Schneider (R). There's a pretense that this is a legitimate merit selection system. If that were truly the authors' intent, the legislation would be modeled upon the merit selection systems now in place in Lake and St. Joseph Counties for selecting judges. The Indianapolis Star reports that John Kautzman representing the Indianapolis Bar Association testified in support of the legislation, though he said he would like to see a greater representation of attorneys on the 16-member panel.

Days After "Sky Is Falling" Report Visit Indy Admits Record Hotel Bookings

If the people of this state haven't figured out by now that they're being played like a fiddle by dishonest leaders and their parrots in the media, they are beyond helping. On Monday, Visit Indy officials proclaimed dire economic harm had been inflicted on Indianapolis and state tourism because of the passage of a religious freedom law last year. We lost 12 conventions with an economic impact of more than $60 million they declared. The media reported the claims without an ounce of discernment. Four days later, the story is a 180-degree reversal.

The overly-paid CEO of Visit Indy, Leonard Hoops, now concedes Indianapolis experienced a record number of future hotel bookings last year of 904,717 rooms, up from 880,552 room nights in 2014. Hoops says the figures are "unbelievable given what we went through last year." Hoops tried to explain away the stark difference between the fiction reported and the truth of the matter by claiming the uptick in bookings occurred entirely during the first quarter of the year before the RFRA blow-up manufactured by the media, city leaders and gay rights organizations.

Here's the most telling admission by Hoops regarding the claim that Indiana's laws regarding LGBT rights deviate from the norm in other states. "At some point, we think planners started to think we were the only state without these (LGBT) protections," Hoops said. "There are 28 of them." And that's not the half of it. Most Indiana residents live within communities that offer legal protection under local human rights ordinances to the LGBT community from discrimination, including Indianapolis, which has had such a law for a decade now. What's also missing from these news reports singing the blues about how bad it is here in Indiana is the fact that the federal Civil Rights Act provides no protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That's the law that covers the majority of businesses and employees in this country and state,

Zionsville Will Get New Town Hall The Same Way Westfield Got Its Grand Park Soccer Arena

So much for the state law requiring units of local government to conduct a public referendum and allow voters to decide when government wants to borrow money and pledge tax revenues to build new buildings. Zionsville, like Westfield's grandiose decision to build an indoor soccer arena at Grand Park in a sweetheart deal with a politically-connected developer, will do the same thing to build a new town hall. Westfield turned to Holladay Properties to build its indoor soccer arena and lease it back to the city for 25 years at a cost of $53 million before taxpayers will take ownership of the facility that cost about $25 million to build. Zionsville is turning to the politically-connected Keystone Realty Group owned by Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir, to get its new town hall.

When Zionsville officials first started talking about plans for a new city hall, the building cost was estimated to be about $6.5 million. Now that they're closing to inking the deal, those costs have grown to $10.2 million. As Barnes & Thornburg's Bruce Donaldson explained the financing of the new town hall to town council members, "It would be sort of like if you bought a house on contract from a seller." What this deal actually involves is a build, operate and transfer agreement, which is governed by Indiana's Public-Private Agreements Act. That law requires these opportunities to be publicly bid through an RFP process. I've seen no mention of an RFP process that led to the selection of Ozdemir's Keystone Realty Group. But, hey, since when does a silly law get in the way when it's time to reward someone who has been very generous in contributing campaign dollars to the politicians? Keystone is also a client of Donaldson's law firm, but I'm sure the interim mayor/town council member, who is also a former partner of the same law firm, is aware of that.

A financial adviser at Crowe Horwath, Angie Steeno, told town council members the plan is to make biannual $284,572 payments to Keystone Realty Group, or about $570,000 annually. The funds, of course, weren't included in the town's 2016 budget. No problem, the town will tap county option income tax revenue, food and beverage tax receipts, its cumulative capital development and its TIF funds to piece together money for the payments. So at the end of the day a town hall that was originally going to cost about $6.5 million to build will in all likelihood cost at least $20 million. I suspect there's other payments beyond the lease payments that will accrue to Keystone Realty Group's benefit for operating and managing the building, but those details aren't mentioned in the Current In Zionsville report.

Sanders Worried Microsoft Will Rig Iowa Caucus Results

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has sounded the alarm bells over his recent discovery that Microsoft has partnered with both the Iowa Democratic and Republican Parties to provide a technology platform to conduct the caucus vote at hundreds of locations around the state next week. Aides to Sen. Sanders are worried that Microsoft is providing its services for free in order to hijack the Democratic process. Microsoft executives have contributed heavily to the campaign of his chief rival, Hillary Clinton.

This issue of election software being embedded with nefarious code to rig the outcome of elections keeps percolating to the surface in American elections. Anyone familiar with software processes understands the ease with which an election outcome can be fixed. The most troubling case I've observed is the unusual circumstances under which Chuck Hagel came out of nowhere to first win a Republican Senate primary in Nebraska and then go on to win a general election victory that propelled him to the Senate. In both races, Hagel was facing much better known opponents who had been favored to win the race. It wasn't until after the election that people learned Hagel founded and helped run a company whose voting machines were used to tally the votes cast throughout the state of Nebraska.

The manner in which the Iowa Caucus and other caucus elections first came into sharp focus in 2008 when many supporters of Hillary Clinton complained that Obama's campaign was busing in voters from out-of-state to cast votes at the caucuses. Virtually nobody who showed up to vote was turned away regardless of their voting status. Clinton's campaign faced the dilemma of being accused of disenfranchising voters, many of whom were minority voters, if they challenged their right to cast votes at the caucuses. Similarly, Ron Paul's presidential campaign supporters complained of rigged caucus votes in several of the Republican caucus states during the 2012 presidential election.

If Sanders is worried, Donald Trump should be equally as worried. The Bush family is as close to Microsoft executives as are the Clintons. Jeb Bush has been polling in the single-digits out of contention in the Iowa race with Cruz and Trump trading the lead according to recent polls. It would be impractical at this point to make Bush a winner, but the election could be rigged to take the winds out of Trump's sails headed into the New Hampshire primary. Iowa caucus-goers frequently choose a candidate who fails to secure his party's nomination. A scenario under which the vote was rigged to make Cruz the winner and have Bush posting a surprising third-place finish is a more probable outcome. This would better position Bush to make a come-from-behind win not unlike that of John McCain, who had all been written off before his upset win in the 2008 New Hampshire primary. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucus that year.

More Republican Party Caucus Shenanigans

Advance Indiana previously told you about efforts of Marion Co. GOP Chairman Jennifer Ping, Perry Township Ward Chair Kay Spear and other Republican leaders to slate former City-County Councilor Jefferson Shreve in the state senate district now represented by Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood) over City-County Councilor Jack Sandlin, a former Perry Township trustee and retired Indianapolis police officer. Shreve is a Bloomington businessman who only changed his voter registration to Marion County a short time before he was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Jeff Cardwell resigned to accept a job in the Pence administration. Cardwell, of course, has since become chairman of the Indiana State Republican Party. There are more developments that have come to Advance Indiana's attention.

Ward Chair Kay Spear has started retaliating against folks who aren't toeing the line. Sandlin's daughter, Carrie Coulter, is an incumbent member of the Perry Township Advisory Board. She learned only this week that Spear has fielded a candidate to oppose her for re-slating at this Saturday's slating convention. Spear's handpicked candidate to take on Coulter is Tim O'Connor, who owns Blue Line Security Systems, Inc. By coincidence, Blue Line Security Systems is a client of Spear's husband, attorney and Perry Township Small Claims Court Judge Robert Spear. Interestingly, Spear also recently secured the appointment of O'Connor to fill a vacant PC slot in Sen. Pat Miller's district. Spear is backing Rep. Cindy Kirchofer in her bid to succeed Sen. Miller. Kirchofer is facing off in slating against City-County Councilor Aaron Freeman, who is supported by Sandlin.

Spear has also found a candidate to challenge another township advisory board member at slating. That would be Michael Kalscheur, the same guy who infuriated Speak and other Marion Co. GOP leaders when he refused to step aside and let the long-time Bloomington resident Shreve be anointed as a member of the City-County Council after he showered a bunch of campaign contributions on various Republican candidates and committees. Shreve, a liberal Democrat, had previously made large campaign contributions to Democrats like Evan Bayh, former Bloomington Mayor John Fernandez and Linda Pence, a former candidate for Attorney General. It really became personal to Spear after both Coulter and Kalscheur both opposed a pay raise sought by her husband for his job as small claims court judge. And then folks wonder why so many long-time Republicans are getting turned off by the actions of their party's leadership.

Zoeller's Refusal To Investigate Clinic's Alleged Off-Label Prescribing Of HGH Hamstrings NFL's Investigation

Forbes' Alex Reimer has an interesting story on why the NFL will have a tough time conducting an investigation to determine whether Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning received human growth hormone treatment from an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis. As Reimer points out, Manning would have to fully cooperate and voluntarily turn over his and his wife's medical records. That's because the NFL lacks subpoena power, something Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has to investigate licensed medical professionals in Indiana.

"Given that the NFL lacks subpoena power, Manning and his wife will have to grant the league legal authorization to obtain the documents pertaining to the treatment they received at the Guyer Institute, the Indianapolis-based clinic that allegedly shipped HGH to Manning’s home under his wife’s name," Reimer writes. "The only way the NFL can acquire those records without Manning’s permission is if the Guyer Institute is prosecuted or faces civil litigation.

One of the worst kept secrets in Indianapolis is the long-term addiction Colts owner Jim Irsay has battled with prescription painkillers. In 2002, WTHR had a blockbuster report about Irsay's drug addiction problem that had resulted in his hospitalization on several occasions for drug overdoses. [Note: WTHR has since scrubbed that blockbuster report from its website] Way back then, Zoeller's predecessor, Steve Carter, launched an investigation of the physicians and pharmacists who had supplied Irsay with those those prescription painkillers. Formal charges were filed by the Attorney General against Dr. Gregory Chernoff for prescribing powerful prescription drugs like Hydrocodone and Norco to Irsay. The complaint alleged that Irsay was paying excessive fees to obtain the drugs, even after a stint in drug rehabilitation. The Attorney General also filed complaints against three pharmacists, who filled the prescriptions Dr. Chernoff wrote.

Flash forward to March 2014, Jim Irsay was stopped by a Carmel police officer after he was observed driving his vehicle in a residential neighborhood erratically. Irsay was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of controlled substances after a large amount of prescriptions pills and cash were found in his possession. Irsay later pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor DUI offense under a sweetheart deal his attorney worked out with the Hamilton Co. Prosecutor's Office.

Months following Irsay's arrest, Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced his office was teaming up with the Indianapolis Colts to heighten awareness of Indiana's prescription drug abuse epidemic. "I am enthusiastic about our partnership with the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force," said Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay. "The statistics related to this issue in Indiana are eye-openers, and we hope we can use the Colts platform to get the word out and raise awareness about prevention." "Teaming with the Colts and their professional athletes will allow us to focus public attention on this epidemic and the need to help those held in the grip of pain and addiction," Zoeller added. "My hope is that, with the support of the Colts we can save many lives from this growing problem." It's worth noting that in response to the allegations made in the Al Jazeera report that made headlines late last year, Manning noted that the Colts organization recommended and approved of all treatments he received at the Guyer Institute.

Yeah, you get the picture. Like I said yesterday, unless the Indianapolis media holds Zoeller's feet to the fire, this will be yet another scandal swept under the rug to protect persons too big to hold accountable to the same laws you and I are expected to follow. It is truly remarkable how little interest the Indianapolis media has shown in covering this story, even after it was revealed by one of their own, WTHR sports repoter Bob Kravitz, that he had been prescribed HGH by the same Indianapolis clinic at which someone in the Manning household was accused of being prescribed HGH for what sure seemed to be an illlegal, off-label use of the drug.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

House Republicans Overwhelmingly Pass Bill To Block Public Access To Police Videos

The House Republicans today struck a blow for government secrecy when it overwhelmingly passed HB 1019, legislation which essentially lets police departments decide whether the public should have access to videos police record of their interactions with members of the public. The 65-30 vote was largely along party lines. One of the bill's co-sponsors, Rep. Ed DeLaney (D), tried to offer an amendment to make the bill appear less Soviet-styled protection of a police state, which was voted down. DeLaney wound up voting against the bill on third reading Rep. Tom Saunders (R) and Rep. Bruce Borders (R) were about the only Republican lawmakers to cast a no vote. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kevin Mahan (R), a former sheriff.

Hogsett Turns To More Of The Usual Suspects For Top City Jobs

There's absolutely no reason to believe after nearly a month in office that Mayor Joe Hogsett has any intention of keeping his promise of putting an end to the downtown insiders who cheat the system and steal our tax dollars. Weeks into his administration, he finally got around to making a few key appointments that fail to impress.

For the important job as director of the Department of Public Works, he turned to a reliable battle ax that's bought and paid for by the contracting community. Lori Miser has had a revolving door relationship between city government and engineering firms for many years now. She did stints at Parsons Brinkerhoff and HNTB before she became administrator of the department of public works in the Peterson administration. She then went to work for a few years as executive director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization before coming back and serving another stint at the Department of Public Works as director in the Ballard administration. She then headed back to work at HNTB as an executive vice president and now she's headed back to the same department she left twice before. And did I mention her husband works for the Jim Brainard administration in Carmel?

Emily Mack is coming aboard to head up the Department of Metropolitan Development. She worked as a planner at IHPC and neighborhood liaison in the mayor's office during the Peterson administration before going to work for Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. She then came back to work as a deputy director at the Department of Code Enforcement in the Ballard administration while it was run by Rick Powers, who actually lived up in the Chicago suburbs with his wife--unless he didn't reside with his wife--during the time he spent working in that position. Powers now works for INDOT at its offices on Lake County where he presumably still lives with his wife in suburban Chicago. Mack left the department and went to work for CORE Planning Strategies as a Business Development Director. Jason Larrison, a former state architect, will become the director of the Department of Code Enforcement. 

Another Bose McKinney lobbyist, Camille Blunt, will join Hogsett's administration to lead up lobbying efforts at the State House and the City-County Council for his administration. The former CFO for the City-County Council, who seemed in over her head in that job, is heading up the Office of Finance and Administration. We previously mentioned Hogsett's choice of an FSSA consultant in the Daniels and Pence administrations, Faddy Qaddoura, as his choice to serve as City Controller. As a consequence, nobody with any serious knowledge of city finances is minding the store. Finally, Linda Broadfoot, a marketing director for Well Done Marketing will head up the Department of Parks & Recreation. She formally worked at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful before going to work as the executive director of the IPS Education Foundation. 

NFL Investigating Alleged HGH Use By Peyton Manning

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has dismissed an Al Jazeera report in which a former pharmacy intern for the Indianapolis-based Guyer Instititue alleged the clinic regularly shipped human growth hormone addressed to his wife Ashley Manning as "complete garbage." The accuser, Charlie Sly, later recanted his claims when he learned Al Jazeera was about to air his explosive allegations. In that Al Jazeera interview, Sly commented that he was surprised authorities had not shut down the Guyer Institute. The issue isn't going away with Sly's denials. The NFL announced today that it's conducting a comprehensive investigation of the Super Bowl-bound quarterback which will not be completed before the playing of this year's big event.

An interesting aspect to this story that has been overlooked by the Indianapolis media is why Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office is not investigating the allegations. Zoeller has told reporters this is a matter for the FBI, not his office to investigate, and that nobody has lodged a formal complaint against the Indianapolis-based physician at the center of the controversy. Zoeller's office has initiated investigations on its own under the powers granted to him under state law. This allegation involves an alleged off-labeled use of a prescription drug, something his office has pursued in the past. Does he think someone like a professional athlete being prescribed a drug for an off-label use is going to file a complaint against his doctor? Indianapolis reporters should be holding Zoeller's feet to the fire. His decision to ignore these allegations has more to do with politics than what he can or can't investigate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Another Chicago Pol Convicted For Crimes Not Prosecuted In Indianapolis

Chicago City Hall insider John Bills after a jury found him guilty (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Photo)
John Bills is a long-time Chicago City Hall insider who made the most of former Mayor Richard Daley's decision to install red light cameras throughout the City as a fast and quick way of raising hundreds of millions of dollars by issuing costly traffic tickets to unsuspecting motorists. Bill used his position to steer the contract to Redflex, which netted more than $130 million from the lucrative city contract over a nearly 10-year period. And Redflex executives showed their appreciation for Bill's efforts by bestowing things of value on him and another clout-heavy consultant totaling close to $2 million. It took only a few hours for the federal jury hearing Bill's case to return guilty verdicts on all 20 counts with which prosecutors charged him, including fraud, extortion and bribery. He now faces a potential prison sentence of ten years.

It's just all in a day's work in Chicago where federal prosecutors charge corrupt pol after corrupt pol with charges never prosecuted here in Indianapolis where federal prosecutors basically tell government whistle blowers to f _ _ _ off when they attempt to report crimes against the public, even when tens of millions of dollars are being stolen one at a time in plain sight by a small group of self-dealing insiders who pull the strings of the people we mistakenly believe represent the people when we elect them to office.

Bill's attorney insisted his client was innocent. He claimed he lacked the juice to accomplish what federal prosecutors accused him of doing, pointing instead to the real power brokers like his ward boss, the Speaker for Life Michael Madigan, former Mayor Richard Daley and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Bill's never took the stand, and his attorney didn't dare offer any evidence that would have implicated the real power brokers.

The evidence showed Redflex had used its local Chicago consultant to funnel $560,000 in cash bribes, in addition to more than $18,000 it spent entertaining him at posh hotels and fancy dinners, gifting him pricey cigars, computers, Super Bowl tickets and providing him free use of an Arizona condo put in the name of another person for his exclusive use. Bills' family and friends actually tried to convince the jury Bill's new-found wealth came from the sale of highly-sought tickets to sporting events and baseball memorabilia he accumulated over the years because of his insider access to all the Chicago White Sox games. The jury didn't buy it.

"When public officials violate the public trust to line their own pockets, we’re going to be there and we’re going to hold them accountable," U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said of today's verdict, who actually helped prosecute the case. It's too bad neither U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler nor Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry share Fardon's enthusiasm for prosecuting those who violate the public trust here.

UPDATE: The nearly bankrupt Chicago Public Schools system is now seeking as much as $10 million from its former CEO, Barbara Bird Bennett, who pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a company she awarded a no-bid contract, which is about triple the amount the school system paid in salary to her during her short tenure there.

Lawrence Elementary School Principal Tragically Killed In Bus Accident

Photo of Principal Susan Jordan courtesy of Amy Beverland Elementary School Facebook pagei
It's not clear what caused a Lawrence Township school bus to veer out of control in a loading zone in front and strike the principal of the Amy Beverland Elementary School and two ten-year old students, but the impact of this tragic accident is already being felt. The very popular principal, Susan Jordan, was killed almost immediately. The two students were transported to Riley Children's Hospital in serious but stable condition. The bus driver and the children on board the bus were uninjured. I found a special tribute video to Jordan put together by faculty and students at the school that was uploaded to YouTube last May, which is a testament to how much she was loved and respected by faculty and students.

Indiana State Republican Party Rewards Rule-Breaking, Reinstates 71 Mummy Dummies Appointed By Outgoing Chairman To Rig Election

The mouthpiece for the corrupt elements of the Indiana State Republican Party is reporting that the state rules committee has rewarded outgoing Hamilton Co. Chairman Pete Emigh and his handpicked stooge to replace him, Pete Peterson, by reinstating 71 PCs, some of whom didn't even know they had been appointed, prior to his resignation. The fact that Emigh broke state party rules and failed to provide proper notice of the appointment of the PCs is without consequence to the state party. It's fully committed to the corruption that has come to epitomize the Hamilton Co. Republican Party.

The party is also removing Laura Campbell, the duly-elected Vice Chair of the party, who became county chair automatically under state party rules when Emigh resigned his position in December. Campbell exercised her discretion as county chair to remove the last-minute appointees from the list of those eligible to participate in a caucus election to elect a new county chair, complaining that the appointments were done in contravention of state party rules and for the clear purpose of stacking the deck by diluting the voting strength of the elected PCs who've been toiling at the precinct level in some cases for years to help the party win elections. Many of these newly-appointed PCs have no prior association with the Republican Party.

Make That Seven Retailers Departing Circle Centre Mall In The Past 30 Days

Add Abercrombie & Fitch to the growing list of retailers exiting Circle Centre Mall. That makes it the seventh store since the first of the year to announce its departure from the taxpayer-subsidized mall. Johnny Rockets announced its departure yesterday. Gap and Gap Kids made earlier announcements, as did Johnston & Murphy, Yankee Candle and American Greetings. Simon Property Group is getting the exact result it desired. Jack lease rates, watch the retailers flee and then tell the city to either pony up tens of millions in new tax dollars to re-purpose the large downtown footprint or watch it become a blight on the area.

Park Tudor Officials Say Head Master's Suicide Unrelated To Child Porn Investigation

The Indianapolis Star's Vic Ryckaert says officials at Park Tudor released a statement saying the unfortunate suicide death of the school's headmaster, Dr. Matthew Miller, this past weekend was unrelated to an ongoing investigation of its former basketball coach for child pornography and child exploitation. The timing of his death two days after being questioned by members of the task force investigating the allegations is apparently coincidental.
"We have been repeatedly assured by law enforcement that neither the school nor any of its employees, including Dr. (Matthew D.) Miller, were targets of their investigation," interim Head of School Peter Kraft said in a message to parents emailed shortly before 5:30 p.m. Monday . . .
"We are continuing to work with law enforcement," Kraft said, "and Dr. Miller's interview was one of the standard witness interviews being conducted by the Cox investigators."
Police, Kraft said, are "not aware of any threats to the safety of our students."
The private school will host two meetings for parents on Thursday, which Kraft said will "provide parents with additional information regarding the recent events and our plans going forward."
"Be assured, we are committed first and foremost to the safety of our children and the entire Park Tudor community," Kraft said . . . 
It took a few days, but this story finally earned top billing at the Daily Mail.

Visit Indy And Media Shills Continue To Perpetuate RFRA Lie

Visit Indy made a spectacular claim yesterday just in time for this year's continued legislative debate over RFRA and LGBT rights. The taxpayer-financed nonprofit claims it lost out on 12 convention opportunities last year, which represented a $60 million financial impact, all because the state passed the same law the federal government passed decades ago and two thirds of the states already had on their books before Indiana finally passed its law last year. Visit Indy has zero proof to back up this claim, but their shills for social re-engineering in the media gladly pass these bogus numbers off to the public as fact without a scintilla of proof.

Naturally, Visit Indy refuses to identify the 12 groups it claims turned down Indianapolis as the site of a convention because of their supposed perception of Indiana as a place of intolerance based on its passage of a religious freedom law. The only group the media figured out on its own was a group that has been hosting its convention for the past 38 years in Las Vegas. What Visit Indy and their shills in the media won't tell you is why the International Association of Fairs and Expositions stated on its own website it was leaving Las Vegas and moving the convention to San Antonio. The IAFE moved its convention to San Antonio because it was miffed that Las Vegas presented a proposal with higher room rates than San Antonio and other competitors, including Indianapolis. Here's how the organization explained its decision to leave Las Vegas on its website:
Since the inception of the IAFE event about 38 years ago, according to Jim Tucker, CEO & President, Las Vegas has always hosted the annual gathering, although at different venues - first at the Stardust Hotel & Casino property, then in 1974 switching to the MGM Hotel (now Bally's) - then in 1995 switching to the Las Vegan Hilton before making a return to Paris & Bally's.
But it seems that Las Vegas has outgrown the IAFE and showed little interest in giving the IAFE an acceptable proposal. Las Vegas was named the Trade Show News Network's No. 1 trade show destination for the 21st consecutive year in 2014, which noted that Las Vegas hosted 60 of the largest trade shows in the U.S., up from 53 in 2013. Las Vegas is hot among trade show organizers, and a reported $9 billion is being invested in its meeting and convention properties and related infrastructure.
When the IAFE issued its RFP for the its meeting after 2017, Las Vegas was a reluctant suitor and the fair industry felt spurned.
In a letter to IAFE members announcing that the last Las Vegas IAFE convention will be held in 2017, Tucker somberly noted: "Only one Las Vegas hotel submitted a bid on the 2018-2019 Convention. That hotel's proposed room rate was the highest of all responding hotels in the final review."
Tucker told CarnivalWarehouse, that proposal from the MGM Grand, "was approximately 1-1/2 times the projected costs of any other location."
In addition, "the hotel demanded an unreasonable minimum guaranteed expenditure for food and drink at the convention," which he clarified to be " 2 times higher than current expenditures."
The most egregious deal breaker was a new stipulation - which Tucker admitted he had never received from a Las Vegas property - a penalty for members booking at non-convention hotels. According to Tucker, there was a non-negotiable clause that made the association liable for upwards of $250,000 if too many attendees sought less expensive rooms from non-MGM hotels. The stipulation is particularly problematic for the IAFE's Annual Convention & Trade Show. The event is operated concurrently with events by the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) and the Showmen League of America (SLA). Some conventioneers attend both events, although not renting rooms in the official convention hotel, skewing the room block numbers.
Do you see any mention of Indiana and intolerance in that passage? Only Advance Indiana has been telling you the truth about these ongoing wars between cities like Indianapolis which are hanging their economic growth model on building bigger and better convention facilities to compete in an increasingly competitive convention industry market. State and municipal governments are each investing tens of millions of dollars annually to lure conventions. It's become a bidding war, and the bribes groups like Visit Indy are paying to these convention planners for the opportunity to host these conventions is an outrage. The truth is that the IAFE chose to leave Las Vegas and move its convention to San Antonio because they got a better deal from San Antonio. It also probably didn't hurt that San Antonio's climate in December is a bit more favorable than Indianapolis' unpredictable winter weather.

Who knows why the other 11 conventions chose another city over Indianapolis. I guess Tom Brady could have told reporters after the Patriots' two-point loss to the Broncos on Sunday for the AFC Championship that his passing performance lagged because he doesn't cheat like some of his competitors and take performance enhancement drugs. If he had that competitive advantage, he would be looking at another Super Bowl. Similarly, Visit Indy could go to state lawmakers or city leaders and tell them they're losing out in the battle to host conventions because they don't have enough money at their disposal to bribe convention planners to host their conventions in Indianapolis. That would have probably been a more honest explanation for losing the 12 conventions, but the blame it on RFRA meme rules the day.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ball State University's President Abruptly Resigns

It came without warning and less than two years after he was installed as president of Ball State University. The university's board of trustees accepted the "mysterious, sudden and unexpected resignation of President Paul Ferguson" today as The Muncie Star-Press put it. Ferguson earned a base salary of $450,000 according to The Star, and he had a five-year contract. Because of the announcement in the middle of a semester, one can't help but speculate that there is more to Ferguson's resignation than the trustees shared with the media following their closed door, executive meeting accepting his resignation today.

Rubio Mocks Washington Post Story Discussing Misdemeanor Arrest As 18-Year Old

A few days ago, the Washington Post ran a rather lengthy story on Marco Rubio discussing what seems like a very benign misdemeanor arrest at a Miami park one night in the summer of 1990 after closing time with two other male teen-age friends, who were found in a car drinking beer. The two Post reporters put a lot of time into investigating an arrest that's not particularly unusual for teen-aged kids or offensive. Rubio's campaign wasted no time in producing an ad mocking his crime spree as a teen-ager. So it begs the question of why The Post felt compelled to write so much about it? Not surprisingly, there seems to have been a sub rosa purpose behind the story.

The reporters wanted you to know that the Alice C. Wainwright Park wasn't just any ordinary park along Biscayne Bay. The park was a "notorious locale in the late 1980s and early 90s, a haven for drug dealers, prostitutes (straight and gay) and gang members." The reporters describe this as being a bad period of time for Rubio, who had just finished his first year of college at a small Missouri college where his grades were poor and he suffered a neck injury playing football. "He was hurting for money," The Post reporters declared. Reading between the lines, the reporters were trying to hint of a possibility Rubio was doing more than just hanging out drinking with his buddies trying to pick up girls. Perhaps he was cruising the park for "gay for pay" sex with the older men who frequented the park looking for sex with young male prostitutes. The reporters didn't miss pointing out that Rubio's brother-in-law had been convicted the previous year for his role in a major cocaine drug ring based in Miami.

Doing a quick Google search, it didn't taken long to find a lengthy discussion at the Reddit social media site discussing the arrest in greater detail. Someone did further digging and disclosed that one of the young men with whom Rubio was found sitting in the car drinking beer with Rubio was Angel  Barrios, who it turns out later owned property where a business making gay pornography was made. According to the Reddit post, Barrios was sued by the city of Miami in 2007 for  illegally allowing a gay porn business to be operated out of house he owned in a neighborhood strictly zoned for residential use. The gay porn site operated out of Barrios' property at the time is (NSFW). Flava Works, incidentally, is the same porn site where an 18-year old Indianapolis male teen, Kameryn Gibson, went to work as a porn actor in 2011 after he made headlines by accusing a former Indianapolis lawmaker of hiring him for sex at the J.W. Marriott, Flava Works primarily markets black and Latino gay pornography. As the Reddit post sums it up:
So, in 1990, Marco Rubio was found by the police “hanging out” in a parked car, in a dark and secluded park with a reputation as a gay cruising spot, with another young man who he was very very close to, who he lived with after high school, who went on to run a gay pornography studio out of one of his properties. Obviously, nothing is definitive here; unfortunately there is no photo of Angel and Marco caught naked together. But all the facts added together, along with the fact that Rubio has been dogged with rumors about his sexuality for his entire career, do seem to be awfully, awfully suspicious.
Is there more to these rumors? If a blind item at an infamous Hollywood gossip website, "Crazy Days and Nights" is to be believed, there may be. "This presidential candidate, who still has a good chance of winning, made a gay porn back in the day," the blind item reads. You can guess who the most popular guess is with Ted Cruz running a close second.

Barrios, by the way, spoke to The Post reporters about his relationship with Rubio. Barrios, who is described as the owner of a coin-operated laundry business, told The Post they were "just messing around, partying . . . trying to pick up girls." The Reddit post claims the Barrios who owned the coin-operated laundry business is the same Barrios who owns Flava Works. The company is actually owned by a Chicago businessman, Phillip Bleicher, who rented Barrios' property. Barrios, who was a year behind Rubio in school, spoke approvingly to The Post reporters of his "old friend" whom he says he still runs into occasionally. He claims Rubio harbored presidential ambitions at that young age. "I remember Marco Rubio saying he wanted to be the first Hispanic president of the Untied States. Rubio wrote a senior year dedication to Barrios, bequeathing him his "ability to avoid getting killed."

During the 2008 presidential election, there was more than just idle gossip about Barack Obama's gay past in Chicago and even Hawaii. Two weeks before the Iowa Caucus vote, Donald Young, the gay choir director at Obama's church who had spoken about his gay relationship with Obama, was found shot to death in his South Side apartment. Chicago Police made no effort to solve that crime, and Young's mother had been warned by police not to make waves about the investigation of her son's murder. Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen was the only reporter on the national scene who went into the weeds in Chicago and uncovered Obama's notorious proclivity for cruising a gay bath house in Chicago, Man's Country, for gay sex on the down low. Madsen's reporting was dismissed by the mainstream media just like his reporting many years ago before Dennis Hastert was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives that Hastert had been asked to leave his job as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois because of inappropriate relationships he had with male students. Madsen was vindicated when Hastert was charged and pleaded guilty last year to making illegal hush payments to a man he had sexually abused decades ago when the man was a teenager.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting local TV news story that aired in Miami at the time when residents of the neighborhood were demanding the gay porn business run out of the home owned by Rubio's friend, Angel Barrios, be shut down: It turns out there is a Chicago connection to it. The man who founded Flava Works, Phillip Bleicher, originally ran it in Chicago before health department officials there sought to close it down.

Would The Last One Out Of Circle Centre Mall Kindly Turn Out The Lights?

The number of retailers pulling out of Circle Centre Mall within the past month has now grown to about six with today's announcement that Johnny Rockets restaurant will close. The irony of the heavily taxpayer-subsidized mall hemorrhaging tenants as we're treated by the local news media to daily doses of good news about how downtown is booming because of all the thousands of new millennials moving into the cheaply-built apartment buildings springing up all over the mile square.

It looks like the landlord's endgame here is pretty obvious. Jack lease rates for existing tenants which choose to exit rather than pay more to operate in a dying shopping mall. Landlord tells City it had better pay up and infuse tens of millions in new tax dollars to "re-purpose" the property's use so it doesn't become a blight on the neighborhood as so many of its malls have become in places like Lafayette Square and Washington Square. We have a new mayor who couldn't possibly be more under the thumb of the landlord. A plan to rescue the property will be forthcoming before year's end. You can count it.

Thirty Apply For Indiana Supreme Court Vacancy

The Judicial Nominating Commission will have no shortage of candidates from which to select a new member of the Indiana Supreme Court to take the place of retiring Justice Brent Dickson. The Commission announced today that it had received applications from the following 30 individuals:

  • Hon. James R. Ahler, Jasper Superior Court 
  • Hon. Vicki L. Carmichael, Clark Circuit Court 4 
  • Hon. Paul R. Cherry, U.S. District Ct., Hammond 
  • Eugene N. Chipman, Jr., Plymouth 
  • David E. Cook, Indianapolis 
  • Hon. Kit C. Crane, Henry Circuit Court 2 
  • Hon. Darrin M. Dolehanty, Wayne Superior Court 3 
  • Hon. Thomas J. Felts, Allen Circuit Court 
  • Thomas M. Fisher, Indianapolis 
  • Elizabeth C. Green, Indianapolis 
  • Hon. Frances C. Gull, Allen Superior Court 
  • Lyle R. Hardman, South Bend 
  • Hon. Steven L. Hostetler, St. Joseph Superior Court 
  • Hon. Matthew C. Kincaid, Boone Superior Court 1 
  • Mark A. Lienhoop, La Porte 
  • Hon. Sally A. McLaughlin, Dearborn Superior Court 2 
  • Hon. Larry W. Medlock, Washington Circuit Court 
  • Hon. Steven R. Nation, Hamilton Superior Court 1 
  • Jaime M. Oss, Michigan City 
  • Bryce D. Owens, Pendleton 
  • Peter J. Rusthoven, Indianapolis 
  • John H. Shean, Bloomington 
  • Curtis E. Shirley, Indianapolis 
  • Geoffrey G. Slaughter, Indianapolis 
  • Ted A. Waggoner, Rochester 
  • Rep. Thomas W. Washburne, Evansville 
  • Leanna K. Weissmann, Lawrenceburg 
  • Thomas E. Wheeler, II, Indianapolis 
  • Karen A. Wyle, Bloomington 
  • Thomas P. Yoder, Fort Wayne
If Barnes & Thornburg partner Peter Rusthoven makes it to the final three nominated by the Commission for consideration by Gov. Pence, you can take it to the bank that he will be named the next member of the Indiana Supreme Court. Regardless, the Commission has an impressive list of applicants to consider. Initial interviews are scheduled to take place on February 17-19. A second round will take place on March 3-4. Justice Dickson plans to step down on April 29, 2016. 

Acting Hamilton Co. GOP Chairman Cries Foul As Outgoing Chairman Appointed More Than 70 PCs Prior To Resignation

A battle for control of the Hamilton Co. Republican Party was set in motion late last year when Pete Emigh informed party leadership of his plan to resign as the county chairman. Nobody was more surprised than the party's vice chairman, Laura Campbell, who automatically succeeded Emigh as acting county chairman upon the tendering of his resignation to state and local party officials. Campbell was even more surprised at Emigh's desire to hastily convene a party caucus to elect a new chairman to fill out the remainder of his term. Emigh desired to hold the caucus election on the first day of the legislative session. Campbell, who was interested in running for chairman, also learned from Emigh that the party's treasurer, Pete Peterson, desired to succeed him as chairman and that the two of them should talk.

Things got more interesting days later when Campbell learned from a party source while attending a political function that Emigh had recently appointed many PCs shortly before he resigned. Campbell sought a list of the PCs from Emigh and, much to her surprise, discovered he had appointed as many as 71 PCs on November 29, 2015, including his daughter, his mortgage broker who co-signed on his family home, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, vendors who do business with the City of Fishers, a number of Fishers city employees and other persons clearly disposed to casting votes in favor of Peterson. According to Campbell, most of the newly-appointed PCs have had little or no past involvement with the Hamilton Co. Republican Party organization.

As acting chairman, Campbell knew state party rules required her to convene a caucus to elect a new chairman within 30 days of Emigh's resignation. Campbell also knew that party rules allowed her to remove from their positions any PCs or vice PCs appointed by Emigh. As it turned out, Emigh had not notified either the state party or the Hamilton Co. GOP's secretary of the 71 appointments he made on November 29. Under state party rules, appointed PCs serve at the pleasure of the county chairman. Campbell exercised her authority under state party rules and terminated the appointment of the 71 PCs appointed by Emigh.

Peterson's camp rushed to radio talk show host Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, who quickly broadcast the termination of the appointments as "firings" and reported that Mayor Fadness had filed a formal complaint with the state party, claiming Campbell lacked authority to terminate the appointment of him and 70 other pro-Peterson persons as PCs. The Indiana State Republican Party is meeting in an emergency rules committee meeting today to rule on the matter.

Campbell maintains that state party rules require PCs to have been a PC or a vice PC at least 30 days prior to a vacancy in order to participate in a caucus election and the persons must be a PC or vice PC at the time the caucus election is held. Campbell claims some of the 71 appointed by Emigh had no idea they had even been appointed as a PC or vice PC. In a letter to Indiana Republican State Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell, Campbell claims that the last-minute maneuver by Emigh was intended to dilute the vote of the elected PCs and their vice PCs in order to stack the deck in the county chairman's race for Peterson. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

Classes Cancelled At Park Tudor Following Head Master's Suicide

School officials at the prestigious Park Tudor private school have cancelled classes and extracurricular activities today following this weekend's news that the school's headmaster, Dr. Matthew Miller, had taken his own life. Dr. Miller's death came just days after he was reportedly interviewed by a law enforcement task force investigating allegations of child pornography and child exploitation involving a former school official. One source says law enforcement seized a laptop computer used by Dr. Miller during its interview with him on Thursday.

The story began last December when the school's highly-successful basketball coach, Kyle Cox, resigned abruptly after two back-to-back state title championships for an undisclosed reason. It would not be until weeks later that the special task force responsible for investigating crimes against children would descend on the campus to execute search warrants. Unconfirmed rumors surfaced that someone associated with the school may have attempted to scrub material from the school's computer hard drives.

The Park Tudor scandal comes on the heels of the investigation that snared former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle and the former executive director of his nonprofit foundation, Russell Taylor. Fogle was sentenced to 15.6 years in prison for possession of child pornography and having sex with at least two female minors as part of a plea agreement in the federal court for the Southern District of Indiana. In December, Taylor was sentenced to 27 years in prison as part of his plea agreement for a dozen counts of producing and distributing child pornography. He sentence could have been more severe but for his cooperation in the ongoing investigation.

There now seems to be some belief that the investigation at Park Tudor didn't happen by chance; rather, it was an outgrowth of the investigation that began with Russell Taylor. Interestingly, Taylor has more recently been tied to an international spice drug trafficking ring based in Indianapolis that involved several area residents, including two former Hendricks County deputy sheriffs, Jason and Teresa Woods, and a fundamentalist minister, Robert Jaynes. Another local businessman, Doug Sloan, who once ran for the state senate seat now held by Sen. Jim Merritt as a Libertarian, has been indicted for his role in the drug ring as well. Taylor, formerly of Mooresville, was reportedly friends with both Jaynes and the Woods.

An interesting aspect of the Taylor-Fogle relationship were reports the two and a group of other men who reportedly hung out together in Broad Ripple frequently took sex tours to Thailand where a little money is all it takes for pedophiles to find available children with whom to have sex. Whether any officials of Park Tudor might be tied to Taylor or Fogle remains to be seen, but it's a thought that has crossed many people's minds over the past few days. Some are even beginning to worry whether Indianapolis has a scandal as big as the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky pedophile ring.

UPDATE: The Marion Co. Coroner's Office officially ruled the cause of Dr. Miller's death as a suicide by hanging.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ted Cruz World Domination Aspirations At Age 18

So apparently Ted Cruz has always been a bit creepy.

Pence Playing Politics With Education

The following article authored by Ken Davidson has been reproduced with the permission of Northwest Indiana Gazette

January 24, 2016-Governor Mike Pence took a hit in the polls when he signed a bill that removed Glenda Ritz as Chair of the State Board of Education. Now he continues to play partisan politics with the appointment of Nipsco’s Eddie Melton. Nipsco’s Eddie Melton was appointed to the Board on June 1, 2015. It was just a matter of weeks until word got out that Melton would seek higher office. While Nipsco’s Melton may be a perfectly fine candidate for the State Board of Education, it is clear that he does not want that position.

Melton has recently announced that he will run for Indiana Senate. It is incomprehensible that Pence did not know of Melton’s political aspirations when he appointed him. Especially at this point in time, the State Board of Education deserves an appointment that is more than a fly-by resume building position. The State Board deserves an individual who is committed to working long term for the success of Indiana’s most disadvantaged youth.

Among the primary functions of the State Board is overseeing chartered school funding and school improvement grants. These issues are far too important to be left to one who will be in and out of the office in a matter of months or even a year. This is particularly the case when Nipsco’s Melton comes to the Board with no background in education. While a business background is welcomed on any board, it is clear that there would be a learning curve to adapt that experience to the role at the State Board. Unfortunately for the children of the State of Indiana, Melton will be long gone before he has a chance to gain that experience.

The relationship between Pence and Nipsco is no secret. The Governor has zero time for Northwest Indiana unless it is at an event promoted or sponsored by Nipsco or another large donor. Governor Pence even utilized Nipsco offices to make a state highway announcement recently. On June 30, 2015, shortly after Melton was appointed to the State Board, NiSource PAC donated $5,000 to Mike Pence for Indiana. NiSource is the parent corporation for Nipsco.

If education is so important to Governor Pence and Nipsco’s Eddie Melton, we should ask them why they have not yet visited the Gary Schools to see what the issues really are.

Mary Ann Sullivan Morphs Into Suzanne Crouch

Mary Ann Sullivan with Rafael Sanchez (WRTV Photo)
I saw this photo on WRTV's website of what I thought was State Auditor Suzanne Crouch being interviewed by Rafael Sanchez. Upon closer examination, I realized Sanchez was interviewing Mary Ann Sullivan, the former state lawmaker-turned IPS board member, who was just elected as the board's new president. I thought it could not possibly be Mary Ann Sullivan. Here's what she looked like when she ran for the IPS board a couple of years ago, followed by a picture of State Auditor Suzanne Crouch. See what I mean? She doesn't look like the same person. BTW, Advance Indiana is still watching the education profiteers like Sullivan, who seized control of our local school board and are doing everything they can to exploit it for the commercial benefit of their campaign benefactors under the false pretense of education reform.
Mary Ann Sullivan (two years ago)
State Auditor Suzanne Crouch

Gannett Backs Clinton And Rubio In Iowa Caucuses

The CIA newspaper chain of record weighs in on the Iowa caucuses with just a little more than a week away before the first voters in the nation cast ballots in this year's presidential election. The Gannett rag in the Hawkeye State is the Des Moines Register. The leftist editors in Des Moines tap Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio as the candidates they prefer for the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively. The leading Republican candidates, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, refused to even meet with the leftist editorial board. The only surprise is that eggheads didn't support Jeb Bush since the newspaper has always favored Bushes over other Republican candidates in the past. Presumably, even they've given up on any hope of another Bush being nominated by the Republican Party.

The editors at The Register have to live in a parallel universe to muster up the effusive praise they had for Clinton, whom they described as an "outstanding candidate" with unmatched "depth or breath of her knowledge and experience." Clinton is described as a "thoughtful, hardworking public servant who has earned the respect of leaders at home and abroad." "She stands ready to take on the most demanding job in the world." Her shifting opinions on gay marriage, immigration and a myriad of other issues is a "virtue" the other candidates lack according to the editors.

Yeah, she was well-prepared for her demanding job as Secretary of State when Ambassador Chris Stevens telephoned to say he was going to die if he didn't get help right away in Benghazi when the American diplomatic post there came under attack on September 11, 2012. She went to bed while terrorists killed the ambassador and three other Americans without lifting a finger to help them. She was quite effective at using the State Department like an ATM machine for the Clinton Foundation and the clients of her husband, who earned tens of millions in speaking and consulting fees courtesy of her actions at the State Department. There's not a single acknowledgement by The Register editors that Clinton is under investigation by the FBI and quite obviously guilty of committing felonies for her reckless and illegal handling of the nation's most sensitive classified documents by using a private server to conduct official government business. And ISIS (or ISIL, if you prefer) never rose up on her watch.

The editors say the Republican choice offers a choice between "anger, pessimism and fear" or a new path of "restoring the American dream," which Rubio's candidacy supposedly represents, presumably because he's "the son of an immigrant bar tender and a maid." They acknowledge he lacks the executive experience of "John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush," but they prefer Rubio because Republican voters seem to want someone who is "new or different." "He shares his compelling story and calls for a referendum on the nation's identity," the editors opine. The only criticism they had of Rubio were recent remarks he made claiming President Obama "had deliberately weakened America." Remarkably, the editors never once mentioned by name the two front-runners, Cruz and Trump, presumably because they refused to meet with them.

The general consensus by political pundits is that The Register's endorsement carries more baggage than value in Iowa because the newspaper, like all Gannett newspapers, is so void of any serious content. That is particularly true of Republican voters in the state, who share little in common with the out-of-state management staff Gannett ships in to run the newspapers the corporate media giant had gobbled up in red state America for the purpose of engaging in blatant social re-engineering. It clearly doesn't buy these newspapers to earn a profit. Every newspaper Gannett has acquired has seen its readership plummet as local content is jettisoned and converted into the ugly step-children of it flagship newspaper, USA Today.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Park Tudor's Head Master Dies Unexpectedly

Just weeks after law enforcement served warrants on Park Tudor Academy in connection with a child pornography investigation, the headmaster of the prestigious private school has unexpectedly died. A source tells Advance Indiana that the school sent out an e-mail earlier this evening announcing the death of Dr. Matthew Miller, 46, who had served as the school's headmaster since 2011. The statement read:
“The entire Park Tudor community is deeply saddened by this sudden loss,” the statement read. “We ask that you keep Dr. Miller’s family, our students and our community in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”
The cause of Dr. Miller's death was not disclosed in the e-mail. Advance Indiana has been able to determine that a 911 call was made at 11:55 a.m. for a report of an attempted suicide at a residence located at 444 Pennridge Drive in Meridian Hills. Tax records show that residential estate is owned by the Park Tudor Foundation. The residence is located adjacent to the school's grounds.

Jan 23, 2016 11:55:00 AM
Number: 160231002 
Call Received: 
Location: 444 Pennridge Dr Meridian Hills, IN
Description: Attempt Suicide
Status: Active
Agency: Indy, IN
Park Tudor's highly-successful boys basketball coach, Kyle Cox, shocked many observers when he abruptly resigned his position with the school during the middle of the season last December. When a team of federal, state and local law enforcement executed a search warrant at the school on January 7, law enforcement sources confirmed they were seeking information on the school's former basketball coach. Rumors began circulating that someone had attempted to erase information found on computer hard drives at the school before law enforcement executed the search warrant. Park Tudor is viewed as the most exclusive and costly private school to attend in the state of Indiana.

Jennifer Wagner, a Park Tudor alumnus and owner of Mass Ave PR, posted a condolence message to Dr. Miller's family on Twitter.
UPDATE: Fox 59 News is now confirming that Dr. Miller died as a result of a suicide. According to their report, Dr. Miller had been interviewed by law enforcement on Thursday in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation of child pornography and child exploitation. One source tells Advance Indiana that investigators seized Dr. Miller's laptop when they interviewed him on Thursday.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Guess Where Illinois Lawmakers Looked For Money To Bail Out Chicago Schools

A group of Democratic Chicago lawmakers found a pot of money to help bail out the Chicago Public Schools from its half billion dollar shortfall. They found about $350 million. You will never guess where they found it. Yeah, laying in a TIF slush fund. From the Sun-Times:
Chicago’s Democratic legislators want to use the city’s extra tax increment financing money to help Chicago Public Schools.
And as the governor threatens the district with bankruptcy, a North Side alderman suggested a second property tax hike is needed, in addition to the $588 million just enacted.
A swath of Democratic representatives joined Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie on Thursday morning in asking that the extra TIF money — an estimated $150 million to $350 million — go toward helping CPS plug its $480 million budget hole.
It gets better. The City's budget director say they've already been doing that to the tune of $700 million since 2011, including $113 million this year alone. Virtually every newer skyscraper in downtown Chicago is located within a TIF district, which is the same problem we have here in Indianapolis.  Incredibly, they're already talking about another property tax increase in Chicago on top of the more than half billion dollar tax increase they just passed.

Since When Is A Sponsorship Deal For The Indy 500 Breaking News?

Yesterday's news coverage was another example of the embarrassing prostitution of our local print and TV news organizations for anything related to sports. The owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had snagged what is called a "presenting sponsorship" for a price tag of $5 million over three years. The taker of this sponsorship was Penn Grade Motor Oil.

The IMS had this big unveiling ceremony at which local TV stations were providing live coverage as "breaking news" and the headline got top billing at print news sites, including the Indianapolis Star and the IBJ. It's actually pretty pathetic that what is supposed to be such an iconic sporting event around the world could only snag $5 million over a three year period for a top billing sponsorship spot. The only media type to rain on their parade was WTHR's Bob Kravitz, who called it a bit of a sell-out, while begrudgingly acknowledging it was probably the right thing to do because $5 million is $5 million.

Here's a tip to this folks in the media. If you want to pretend to be a world class city, then start behaving like one. A sponsorship announcement for a motor sport racing event that's been in decline for decades is not breaking news that should lead off a local news broadcast. Any visitor to the city sitting in their hotel room watching this media cluster [blank] would immediately conclude we're nothing but a backwater franchise town.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chicago State University Now Preparing For Bankruptcy, May Skip Bond Payments

The news coming out of next door Illinois keeps getting worse. Now Chicago State University is drawing up bankruptcy-like contingency plans to remain solvent, which may include skipping bond payments. From Bloomberg:
A university in Chicago’s South Side is on the brink of running out of money as soon as March because of Illinois’s budget impasse, providing the most prominent example yet of the consequences of the seven-month political standoff.
Chicago State University, a 5,200-student institution founded in 1867, is considering drawing up a financial exigency plan, equivalent to college bankruptcy, as soon as next month, according to Tom Wogan, a spokesman. The move would be a first step to keep the school afloat as it hemorrhages cash to cover the loss of state funds. All options are on the table to get through the current semester, including missing payments on $12 million of outstanding tax-exempt bonds, he said.
The school, with a 70 percent black student body, would become the most visible casualty of the stalemate between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, a former private-equity executive, and legislative Democrats, with leaders from Chicago, over a spending plan for the year that began July 1. While other public universities can draw on endowments or raise funds from alumni as the impasse persists, that’s not the case at Chicago State, whose students count on federal and state grants.
“A place like Chicago State University doesn’t have the same political clout of other institutions,” said Howard Cure, head of municipal research in New York at Evercore Wealth Management, which oversees $5.9 billion. “They serve a segment of the market that’s often overlooked, and some of the people who can benefit the most from a higher education degree. It’s a completely different -- and completely vulnerable -- business model.” . . . 

"See Something, Say Something" Gets Innocent Muncie Welder Fired From His Job, Branded ISIS Terrorist

This is the world in which we now live thanks to the fabricated ISIS threat our U.S. government and its allies created as an excuse to strip everyone in the free world of what few individual rights they have left. Some workers at Muncie's Progress Rail, a locomotive manufacturing subsidiary of Caterpillar, made up a rumor of a welder being an ISIS supporter. Despite there being no evidence to support the rumor after questioning by the company's HR personnel and even a visit and an intrusive interrogation by a local FBI agent, Tim Simmons is out of the job he held for the past four years. Here's how the Muncie Star-Press explains Simmons' ordeal:
Simmons said he was aware of ISIS and its role in worldwide terror last September, when he said a co-worker at the Cowan Road plant approached him during a cigarette break and asked about ISIS.
"He was like, 'Man, have you seen what's going on?'" Simmons said, adding that the coworker — who The Star Press attempted to contact through a Facebook message — claimed that ISIS had training camps in Indiana.
"He started smiling and laughing and said, 'Tim, you're probably in with them,'" Simmons said. "I look at him and say, 'OK, what if I am?' We all started laughing and joking."
Simmons said the co-worker continued to talk to Simmons and other welders about ISIS between September and December. Simmons said he also declined to help the co-worker move, saying that he didn't want to get his new pickup truck scratched.
On Dec. 14, Simmons said, he was called into the human resources office at Progress Rail.
"When they had me in the office, (they) asked, 'Did you say you were in with (ISIS)?'" Simmons said. "'Did you say anything about blowing up the building?' I said no."
Simmons said he was told that someone had sent a text message to a plant official "saying I was ISIS and I was going to blow the building up. I said, 'You're kidding me.'"
He was escorted from Progress Rail that day and was told he would be contacted by the FBI.
"I'm looking out my window, waiting for somebody to show up at my house," Simmons said. "I hear a car door, I look out. This made me nervous."
On Dec. 16, Sheridan went to the northside Muncie house where Simmons and his wife, Paula, live.
Simmons said Sheridan, a two-term Delaware County sheriff who has long been known by The Star Press to work with the Department of Justice, introduced himself and made small talk about Simmons' Harley-Davidson shirt and admired Simmons' motorcycle, parked in his garage.
"He asked me if I had Facebook or Twitter and he took all my passwords and user IDs," Simmons said. "He asked if I had a passport, if I had ever flown, if we've been on vacation this year, if I thought about building a pipe bomb, do I have electrical certifications." Simmons said he showed Sheridan around his house and maintained that Sheridan quickly determined there was nothing suspicious there.
Later that night, Simmons said, he was contacted by a Progress Rail representative and told that he had been fired.
"I told (the HR officer) that they found nothing, that they cleared me," Simmons said. "She said, 'Due to our internal investigation, you are terminated.'"
"After almost four years out there," he said. "I never clocked in a minute late. I worked all the overtime they needed when they couldn't get anyone else to do it." . . . 
So just like that, an innocent American is branded a terrorist, escorted from his job and fired. Adding insult to injury, Simmons can't find a job and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development has deemed him ineligible to receive unemployment benefits based upon the lie told by one of his co-workers. And may Komatsu continue to kick Caterpillar's butt if its HR department is this f _ _ _ ed up.

Ironically, Democrats in the U.S. Senate, including Indiana's Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) voted yesterday to block enhanced background investigations for the more than 100,000 Syrian refugees President Barack Obama plans to resettle in the United States. because it would be politically incorrect to ask these refugees about any possible ties to terrorism they have. They only come from a country in which arms and weapons  were funneled by the United States to topple President Assad have been used to kill and maim hundreds of thousands of Syrians, wipe out their homes and communities and subject to almost every conceivable human deprivation known to mankind.

Yet innocent Americans like Simmons are being subjected to enhanced interrogations by their own government and having their lives destroyed because of a terrorist threat our own CIA funded, armed and trained to wreak havoc in the Middle East and elsewhere as part of their sick and twisted agenda to allow the global elites to become richer while they enslave the masses. It's absolutely sickening, and it's why so many people have lost total faith in their government and see little hope for the future of this country.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kudos To Kenley For Telling Ozdemir What Other Lawmakers Are Afraid To Say

Luke Kenley
Sen. Luke Kenley
I've often disagreed with Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) on a lot of issues, but I have to hand it to him today for saying to Ersal Ozdemir and his plan to force taxpayers to build a new soccer stadium for his minor league soccer team, Indy Eleven, what other lawmakers are afraid to say, or won't say because they're on his payroll. Kenley told the IBJ that Ozdemir's taxpayer-funded stadium deal is dead this year and successive years as far as he's concerned until he mans up and puts his own money on the line.
"I keep telling him to stand up and be a man," Kenley said. "If you’re a real capitalist, you should have money of your own in this. He’s one of those developers who’s had a little success and who realizes if he can get government to pay for this or that, then that’s a good deal for him. He acts like that’s pro forma."
Last year, Kenley had suggested $20 million in state-backed bonds to fund the renovation of IUPUI's Carroll Stadium where the Indy Eleven currently play as a bone to Ozdemir, inviting him to kick in more money if that wouldn't get him the stadium he wanted. The Turkish immigrant who comes from a country where paying bribes to politicians to get what you want is pro forma turned his nose up at that plan, insisting on a brand new $75 million plus stadium to be constructed elsewhere in downtown Indianapolis.

I wish I could say this is the end of this matter, but it won't be. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is in Ozdemir's back pocket. That was self-evident when he blocked a public corruption probe of Ozdemir's influence peddling while he was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Hogsett has already privately committed himself to support his project by placing his own handpicked stooges on the Capital Improvement Board who will find a way by hook or crook to give Ozdemir the stadium he wants for the Indy Eleven. I'm sorry, folks. You don't matter. Only the people stuffing money in the politicians' pockets matter, and we don't have any prosecutors in this state on our side to stop it from happening.

Indiana Campaign Finance Law Has A Big Hole When It Comes To Caucus Elections

Advance Indiana has recently discovered a major hole in Indiana's campaign finance laws with respect to persons elected to office via party caucus elections. An increasingly common practice in Indiana is for a sitting officeholder to vacate his or her office before the end of a term in office. Under state law, the county party chair of the resigning officeholder's political party convenes a caucus meeting of the precinct committee persons elected or appointed within that officeholder's political boundaries to elect a candidate to fill out the remainder of the resigning officeholder's term in office. Incredibly, any receipts or expenditures made to elect a person at a caucus election is not subject to reporting under Indiana's campaign finance laws.

Ordinarily, Indiana's campaign finance law requires a candidate for political office to form a campaign committee and begin reporting receipts and expenditures made in support of his or her candidacy when either $100 is raised or spent for the campaign. Under Indiana's campaign finance law, the term "elections" does not include a caucus election to fill an office vacancy according to Dale Simmons, co-counsel of the Indiana Elections Division. "Procedures to fill office vacancies are better understand as 'appointments pro tempore,'" Simmons said. Simmons went on to explain:
For purposes of argument I will assume an individual has made expenditures exceeding $100 in an effort to be appointed in a caucus to fill an office vacancy. To determine if this individual must file a statement of organization, I would look first to IC 3-9-1-5(c)(2) and conclude nothing in this subsection applies to the individual since all of these filings are related to getting on the ballot in an election set forth in IC 3-5-1-2 (a primary or genera/municipal election).
The triggering event listed in IC 3-9-1-5(c)(1) would require that the candidate receive more than $100 in contributions or make more than $100 in expenditures. While the threshold would be exceeded in our example, there is a more fundamental question as to whether the individual’s expenditures are considered expenditures in the election code. Contributions (IC 3-5-2-15) and expenditures (IC 3-5-2-23) are defined in a way to make clear that the contribution or expenditure must be for purpose of influencing the nomination or election to office of a candidate. These definition sections do not include reference to money raised or spent with respect to the procedure to make an appointment pro tempore to fill an office vacancy.
Therefore, the individual who exceeded the $100 threshold with respect to the caucus to fill an office vacancy would not, in my opinion, be required to file a statement of organization (CFA-1) by noon 10 days of reaching that threshold.
Simmons contrasted a caucus election to fill a vacancy on the ballot as opposed to a vacancy in an office. Indiana law specifies that the filing of a certificate of candidate selection to fill a ballot vacancy triggers the filing and reporting requirements under Indiana's campaign finance law.

This hole in Indiana's campaign finance law is very troubling. Increasingly, we are seeing members of our state legislature, city and county councils and other important state and local offices ascend to office not through the ballot box filled with votes cast by voters but by ballot boxes cast by a handful of elected and appointment precinct committee persons.

My interest in this issue was piqued when I noticed that Jefferson Shreve, a long-time Bloomington resident who came out of nowhere to get elected by a handful of Republican precinct committee persons in Perry Township in January 2013, had never established a campaign committee or reported any receipts or expenditures as a City-County Council candidate. Shreve won that caucus election after the incumbent City-County Council member, Jeff Cardwell, resigned to take a job with the administration of Gov. Mike Pence. Shreve upset Michael Kalscheur, a long-time Perry Township resident, financial advisor and former at-large candidate for City-County Council. Shreve had stated at that time his intention to seek election to the seat at the next election if chosen by the precinct committee persons.

Shreve, the owner of a self-storage business, had been a liberal Democrat appointed to serve on the county hospital board in Monroe County and a large campaign contributor to several prominent Democrats like Evan Bayh, John Fernandez and Linda Pence before he suddenly decided he was going to be a Marion County resident and started making large campaign contributions to various Republican organizations and candidates. This loophole in Indiana's campaign finance law essentially gives a green light to a wealthy businessman like Shreve to spend all kinds of money to influence a handful of precinct committee persons in order to win an election. Precinct committee persons in that race faced incredible pressure by Marion Co. Chairman Kyle Walker and ward chair Kay Spear to back Shreve despite his questionable Republican credentials and weak ties to that City-County Council district.

As it turned out, Shreve got thrown into a newly-drawn district with incumbent City-County Councilor Jeff Miller. Shreve, who was pretty much an empty suit on the City-County Council who never saw a tax increase or taxpayer giveaway he wouldn't support, opted against running in last year's primary against Miller, but word quickly began spreading that he might contest State Sen. Brent Waltz in this year's primary. Waltz, who has never been popular with party bosses after he toppled former State Sen. Larry Borst, the long-time powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, decided to seek the 9th District congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Todd Young, who is running for the Senate seat now held by retiring Sen. Dan Coats, instead of seeking re-election.

Shreve is now facing off against City-County Councilor Jack Sandlin, a long-time Perry Township resident, former township trustee and retired Indianapolis police officer, for the Republican nomination to succeed Waltz in the Senate. Once again, party bosses have entered the fray and started twisting arms to force Republican precinct committee persons to back Shreve during a slating caucus meeting for the Senate seat. Part of the district is in Johnson County where party leaders will have no part of a rigged slating process. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, GOP national committeeman/Ice Miller lobbyist John Hammond, Marion County GOP Chairman/Bose McKinney lobbyist Jennifer Ping and ward chair Kay Spear are all trying to cajole precinct committee persons into backing Shreve. Sandlin is expected to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat even if Shreve is slated. Sandlin, unlike Shreve, has appeared on the ballot on multiple occasions and won several elections within the district. Shreve lost the only contested race he's faced when he got trounced in an election for state party convention delegate a couple of years ago.