Monday, February 08, 2016

Pot Calls Kettle Black: Bill Clinton Thinks Sanders' Backers Are Sexists

The serial rapist, sexual harasser and former President who turned one of his White House interns into a human humidor has the audacity to claim people who support Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are sexists.

IPS Board Giving School Superintendent Retroactive Pay Raise For Doing A Poor Job

Supt. Louis Ferebee
Enrollment is plummeting and school performance is flat or worse, but your esteemed members of the Indianapolis Public School board think it's time to revamp Supt. Louis Ferebee's contract to reward him with a big pay raise. Chalkbeat reports that the board plans to boost Ferebee's base pay from $198,000 to $209,880 a year, made retroactive to July 1, 2015. He will also be eligible for a bonus of $35,000 a year instead of $25,000, plus the board plans to make $30,000 a year in new contributions to Ferebee's retirement package.

It's a bit puzzling to understand why he was given any bonus at all last year, but these out-of-touch board members voted to award Ferebee a $21,000 bonus last year for a job not well done. I guess he's entitled to a pay raise because he's not making a stink about the efforts by the education profiteers who populate the board from driving a stake in the public school system through its accelerated privatization efforts that benefit only the education vendors who are stuffing money in their campaign pockets.

IPS Board President Mary Ann Sullivan can't find enough good things to say about Ferebee's performance. "It was a very positive, positive review and positive conversation," she told Chalkbeat. "We have high expectations. … (But) I think I would be proud to get the evaluation he got for his work." Chalkbeat says Ferebee's pay, even with the big adjustment, is still below the average paid to urban school superintendents with more than 50,000 students enrolled, which it says is $211,000. The board also plans to throw in a big bonus pool that will match the bonuses paid to Ferebee for other members of his leadership team.

Why Peyton Promoted Budweiser

Peyton Manning had three things on his mind after winning Super Bowl 50 that he had to share with the tens of millions of Americans tuned in and watching his Denver Broncos celebrate their win over the Carolina Panthers: kissing his wife Ashley, kissing his twins and drinking a lot of Budweiser beer. Wait, he just plugged a beer product for free after other companies spent millions advertising during the most costly advertising bonanza in television?

Active NFL players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. He's a man with a plan, and it usually involves his own wallet, even if it means violating NFL rules. Yes, Peyton Manning owns an interest in two Budweiser distributorships in his native state of Louisiana. Budweiser claims it knew nothing about the promotion in advance, but it had 50 cases of its product ready to be shipped over to the Broncos after party. It probably also doesn't hurt that Peyton's BFF, country music star Kenny Chesney, pitches one of the company's products, Corona beer. Just wondering whether Ashley or Kenny got the first kiss after the big win.
There was also a kiss for Papa John's founder John Schnatter. Peyton owns a slew of Papa John's franchises and gets paid to pitch their pizza.

The entire Manning clan was very proud at Peyton's fete. Or were they?
 His facial expressions didn't go unnoticed on social media, where football fans were quick to post memes 
And Carolina's quarterback Cam Newton wasn't putting on any pretenses.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Financial Disclosure Statement Filed By Greg Zoeller Comes Up Short

Attorney General Greg Zoeller (Star Photo)
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller frequently conducts press conference where he touts his office's efforts to curb consumer fraud and various scams. Yet when he filed a financial disclosure statement with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives required as a candidate for Congress in Indiana's 9th congressional district, he was less than candid about his financial holdings.

According to the financial disclosure statement he filed on October 9, 2015, Zoeller reported owning no assets. That's zero, zilch, zip, nada. He reported the $98,399 he earns from his state office and $3,000 he earns as an adjunct professor at Indiana University, as well as $9,528 in income his wife earned from Meridian Street United Methodist Church. The only other disclosure was a mortgage with Chase Bank between $100,000 and $250,000 on his Indianapolis residence on E. 56th Street, which is valued at $411,300 according to the Marion Co. Assessor's Office. He claims a homestead exemption on that residence, which is not located in the 9th District. Zoeller and his wife own a second parcel in Marion County valued at $24,400. Zoeller hasn't lived in the 9th District in decades, although he claimed a voting registration there at his parents' home when he worked in Washington for Dan Quayle. Congressional candidates are only required to reside somewhere in the state; they are not required to reside in the district where they are a candidate.

The financial disclosure statement Zoeller filed with the Indiana Inspector General's Office is a tad different than the one he filed with the House Clerk. On that form he claims an ownership interest as a partner in 2010 Investment Group, Inc. According to the Secretary of State's website, that company's registered agent is some character by the name of David Njoroge with a business address listed as 3131 Springbrook Drive in South Bend. That's a residential address, not a business address. The company was established on February 2, 2010. Njoroge identifies himself as an account manager at Easy Access, LLC,  a software solutions firm located in South Bend according to his Linkedin listing. Why did Zoeller not disclose this asset on the financial disclosure statement he filed with the House Clerk? Does Zoeller not have any retirement or investment accounts? Interesting.

Zoeller's primary opponents provided more information on their financial disclosure forms. State Sen. Erin Houchin disclosed rental property in Campbellsburg that she and her husband owned worth less than $50,000, two College Choice accounts worth less than $50,000 and one worth less than $15,000, a PERF tax-deferred retirement account worth between $100,000 and $250,000, a legislative retirement account worth less than $15,000, two IRA accounts worth less than $15,000, assorted bank accounts with less than $100,000, a Raymond James investment account worth less than $15,000 and a Washington County retirement fund worth less than $15,000. She also listed liabilities in the form of two student loans (one between $50,000 and $100,000 and one between $15,000 and $50,000) and a home mortgage with Mid-Southerns Savings Bank of between $15,000 and $50,000.

State Sen. Brent Walz also listed extensive holdings on his financial disclosure statement he filed with the House Clerk. Those included: shares of Velox Express worth between $5 million and $25 million; stock options in Raydar, Inc. a veteran-owned defense-related contractor at Crane worth between $1 million and $5 million; a Las Vegas condo worth between $250,000 and $500,000; shares of The Baron Group, Inc. worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000; art and collectibles worth between $1 and $5 million; Atlantis Investments, LTD shares worth between $100,000 and $250,000 and a Huntington Bank account worth between $15,000 and $50,000. Waltz reported income of $55,000 from his senate job; $62,000 in partnership income from Velox Express; and $62,000 in professional fees from Raydar, Inc. Remarkably, Waltz, who is single, has no debts. He inherited his wealth from an unrelated, wealthy gay man while he was still in college.

Waltz is probably not the wealthiest candidate in the 9th congressional district. That honor belongs to Trey Hollingsworth, a Jeffersonville businessman. He has not filed his financial disclosure form yet. On November 16, 2015, Hollingsworth filed a statement requesting an additional 90 days to file his disclosure statement, which is now due on February 18.

Bern Your Enthusiasm

Larry David really nailed Bernie Sanders on SNL last night. Hilarious. The introduction of the Republican presidential candidates at the debate on ABC wasn't an SNL skit, but it could have been.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The Cover Up Is Always Worse Than The Crime

Michael Felger seems to get what others in the media are missing about the Peyton Manning/HGH story. Complete story here. For those of you reading this blog from outside the state of Indiana, please be advised that our law enforcement is blocking an investigation of the clinic at the center of this controversy. Please bring pressure to bare for answers from our law enforcement officials, specifically our Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who is now running for Congress. Our news media is more interested in protecting the Indianapolis Colts and their beloved Peyton Manning than learning the truth of this matter.
The Manning clan with convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham, Carl Brizzi and Shannon Frantz in the Bahamas after 2007 Super Bowl in Miami

Friday, February 05, 2016

Star Report: Ice Miller Attorney Could Face Criminal Charges Over Handling Of Park Tudor Child Abuse Case

The Indianapolis Star to my surprise took direct aim at the venerable Ice Miller law firm and its high-profile labor and employment law partner for possibly breaking state law by not immediately reporting a crime he knew had happened the day he met with the father of the 15-year old victim of the school's fired boys basketball coach with the headmaster of the elite Park Tudor private school and received evidence the former basketball coach and student had exchanged sexually explicit images of themselves.

In a federal complaint filed in the U.S. district court in the Southern District of Indiana, law enforcement investigating the case were clearly perturbed to learn that Michael Blickman, the school's attorney from Ice Miller, and the headmaster, the late Dr. Matthew Miller, had known about the sexually explicit images for three weeks prior to their execution of a search warrant on the north side school's campus but had failed to report the definitive evidence they took into their possession from the victim's father on December 14, 2015. Blickman even took the victim's computer back to his office and downloaded images from it to the firm's computer system. Compounding the problem, school officials gave Cox permission to take his laptop computer home with him after he was fired and given 24 hours to remove anything "personal" from it before returning it to the school.

When initially asked by investigators looking into the report made by the school to the Department of Child Services, Blickman had claimed any evidence he had obtained or discussed with the fired former basketball coach was privileged information protected by the attorney-client privilege. It wasn't until after a team of federal, state and local law enforcement officials executed a search warrant on January 4, 2016 that Blickman came to the school, told police about the images he had copied to a computer at his law firm and then turned over that evidence to police, nearly three weeks after first receiving the evidence from the victim's father.

The Star draws attention to a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision where a Muncie school official was found to be criminally liable for failure to report suspected child abuse--in that case a rape--for a period of four hours after the school's principal first knew the crime had occurred. A criminal lawyer, Jack Crawford, explained the legal liability Blickman could face:
One legal expert said Blickman could be at risk of facing criminal charges. Federal court records indicate Blickman made copies of the explicit messages and images, including at least one explicit photo of the girl, and kept them at his office.
“This gets really dicey,” Indianapolis attorney Jack Crawford said. “That’s child pornography. You cannot possess it even if it’s for a legal purpose.”
Crawford told IndyStar that he cannot get copies of photos when he is representing a client in a child pornography case. He said he has to go to the U.S. attorney's office to look at them.
Tim Horty, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said the Park Tudor case remains under investigation. He said more people could be charged if detectives find enough evidence . . .
Court records show Park Tudor officials also allowed Cox to take a school computer home on Dec. 15 to remove "personal" content.
When police started to investigate the allegations against Cox, Blickman told them he would not offer any information because his conversations with school officials were “privileged communications,” court documents state. Blickman said he believed Park Tudor officials had done everything that they needed to do.
The Star says there is also an issue of how DCS responded to the original report given to them by the school on December 15. According to their sources, DCS did not immediately initiate an investigation upon receiving the report from Park Tudor. The initial report made by the school, however, downplayed what had transpired.  It indicated Cox had sent  messages to a 15-year old student that was "suggestive and not appropriate for an adult teacher to send to a student." The school omitted the fact it knew Cox had sent pictures of his penis to the girl and she had shared nude sexual images of herself with him. It wasn't until after an outside counselor for the school sent a report to the state on December 22 that DCS initiated its investigation.

It would surprise me if Blickman actually faced any legal consequences as a result of his actions. The most immediate consequence to Ice Miller and Blickman has been the loss of a client. According to The Star, the school is now being represented by Barnes & Thornburg and Frost Brown Todd. There is also the tragedy of Dr. Matthew Miller taking his life two weeks ago. School officials claimed at the time his suicide had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation. This week's events cast serious doubt on that conclusion. The sad thing is that Dr. Miller trusted the advice he was given by his attorney, which in this case, created a major problem for the school that could have been easily nipped in the bud had the right thing been done on December 14 when school officials first learned what their misbehaving basketball coach had done to one of their students.

Here's a copy of the Complaint against Cox filed in federal district court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Manning Sicced Private Eyes On Sly Before HGH Allegations Aired

Well it looks like our beloved Peyton "I play by the rules" Manning has ethics more akin to Bill and Hillary Clinton than our favorite sports hero. Manning had no scruples about sicking two private investigators on the family of Charles Sly, the pharmacy intern who made accusations about him regarding the use of HGH in an Al Jazeera report late last year. The Washington Post is reporting that the private investigators, who lied and claimed they were cops, showed up at Sly's parents' home seeking information on their son five days before the Al Jazeera piece aired. Deadspin shares the gist of the report:
The parents of a former Indianapolis anti-aging clinic employee who made hidden-camera accusations about Peyton Manning’s alleged HGH use called 9-1-1 after goons turned up on their doorstep seeking information about their pharmacist son, Charlie Sly.
That’s just one of the revelations in a Washington Post report today in which, for the first time, a Manning spokesperson admits that part of Sly’s story was true: that the Guyer Clinic in Indianapolis did indeed ship drugs to Manning’s house as alleged by Al-Jazeera America’s documentary and later by the documentary’s producer. Manning had previously called those claims “completely fabricated.” The Manning camp refused to discuss the issue further with the Post, citing Ashley Manning’s medical privacy.
But back to that 9-1-1 call. The Washington Post reports the investigation, which was funded by Peyton Manning, featured two private dicks knocking on Randall and Judith Sly’s door—with one of them, according to the call, falsely claiming to be a cop.
The Washington Post reports Manning’s private investigation into Sly began before the documentary aired, as the network sought responses from those alleged by Sly to have used performance-enhancing drugs. The paper also reports that Al-Jazeera failed to adequately protect the identity of its sources, which led Manning’s camp (led by former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer) to the Slys’ doorstep. Manning’s spooks refused to reveal their employer to the Slys, according to the Washington Post.
Charlie Sly recanted his claims the next morning in a video filmed at his parents’ dining room table. The private investigators claim they did not impersonate law enforcement officers upon arriving at the house.
The Big Lead discusses how The Post report makes clear that Manning's team was in damage control mode weeks before the Al Jazeera report aired after being tipped off by the Guyer Institute that it suspected Sly had been talking to the media organization:
What does the rest of this new information mean? Well, it means that Manning and his group were not caught off-guard in the least the day after Christmas. Ari Fleischer was already deeply involved for weeks. Manning’s representatives had a chance to review what appeared in writing in the medical records at Guyer Institute. They had an opportunity to track down and locate the source, and question him, and knew he recorded a recantation. So when Manning gave his emotional denial on Sunday, December 27th, that wasn’t a function of someone who had been blindsided.
Here's how The Post described Sly's parents' frightening encounter with Manning's hired goons at their Brownsburg home:
Five days before a documentary alleged that quarterback Peyton Manning and other star athletes had used performance-enhancing drugs, two men hired by Manning’s lawyers visited the parents of the documentary’s key witness. Both men wore black overcoats and jeans and, according to a 911 call from the house that evening, one initially said he was a law enforcement officer but didn’t have a badge. 
After they told their daughter to call 911 the night of Dec. 22, Randall and Judith Sly stepped outside to talk to the strangers, who clarified they were private investigators, not cops. They had come to this red brick house with a well-manicured lawn looking for the Slys’ 31-year-old son, Charlie, a pharmacist who was the primary source in the upcoming documentary . . . 
The Slys, who refused multiple requests for an interview and referred all questions to their lawyer, started to realize this was not a scam when private investigators Brian Bauer and Ben Ford arrived at their home just before 5 p.m. on Dec. 22. Initially afraid, the Slys told their daughter Kaitlyn — Charlie’s younger sister, home from North Carolina for Christmas — to call 911. But by the time a police officer arrived a few minutes later, the investigators had allayed Randall and Judith’s fears.
The Slys told the officer the men could stay, dispatch notes show.
Charlie wasn’t home yet; he was due to fly in later. On Dec. 23, Bauer and Ford returned and — after the Slys put their lawyer on speakerphone — the investigators asked Charlie some questions.
As Bauer and Ford probed Sly’s background, asking about his connections to various athletes, Cohron couldn’t figure out who they worked for. “They refused to say . . . other than a party interested in the Al Jazeera documentary,” Cohron said. He added: “It was a very cordial discussion.”
Sly told the investigators what his lawyer has said since the documentary aired: He made up everything regarding performance-enhancing drugs. Later, Sly and the lawyer Cohron decided they should come up with some kind of statement to rebut the upcoming documentary.
The next morning — Christmas Eve — Sly sat at the dining room table of his parents’ home. His father recorded the 55-second statement with an iPhone.
“My name is Charles Sly,” he began. “It has come to my attention that the broadcaster Al Jazeera has somehow obtained recordings or communications of me making statements concerning a number of athletes . . . There is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air.”
Like I've said before, Manning has nothing to fear. Does anyone think law enforcement here in Indiana is going to bring harm to his reputation, particularly given the risks a serious investigation could mean for the Indianapolis Colts organization?  The good 'ole boys like Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller have their backs.

Note: Bauer denies in The Post story that he identified himself as a law enforcement officer when he went to the Slys' home, which he noted is against the law.

Long-Time Gaming Lobbyist Takes Over Indiana Horse Racing Commission

Only a corrupt state like Indiana would tap a long-time lobbyist for the gaming industry to become the executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. Yeah, the Pence-controlled body selected Mike Smith, a former insurance salesman/state lawmaker and long-time head of the Indiana Gaming Association as the commission's new executive director. Back in the day, Smith's family owned thoroughbred horses and he was a harness racing jockey so I get that he knows the ends and outs of horse racing. That was many years ago, and he's spent a good part of his life schmoozing it up with the gaming industry, whether as a state lawmaker or as its top lobbyist at the State House. This is just another example of the piss poor government Mike Pence has ushered into state government to our disappointment. We expected that from Mitch Daniels. Pence's corrupt commission members fired the commission's long-time executive director, Joe Gorajec, because he was honest.