Thursday, October 08, 2015

Straub Files $4 Million Claim Against City Of Spokane For Firing

The man forced out of his job as Spokane Police Chief just shy of three years after he was shown the door as Indianapolis' Public Safety Director has filed a tort claim notice with his former city employer seeking $4 million in damages according to the Spokesman-Review. Frank Straub claims city officials denied him due process in firing him without an explanation. Although news reports initially claimed Straub had voluntarily resigned his job based on statements from the mayor's office, the claim filed by his attorney says otherwise. “You fired Chief Straub,” the attorney's letter states. “His termination was already fact. … You had already buried him as the police chief.”

Straub was still officially on the city payroll drawing his annual salary of $180,000 until January 1, 2016, making him Spokane's highest paid official. “This is unfortunate as we would like to move the Spokane Police Division forward without distraction,” Mayor David Condon said. “We received a signed resignation letter Tuesday morning, but because of a pending claim cannot comment further.”

Straub's attorney states in her letter that Straub was an at-will employee who could be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with a three-year employment contract. Straub's attorney says he was contacted by a city administrator on September 21 and told of a meeting with the mayor during which he was told he was being terminated. When he asked for an investigation into the reason for his termination, his request was denied.

“Frank Straub was fired,” the letter from Straub’s lawyer states. “He was removed from the City website, and Rick Dobrow was out doing interviews as the new police chief before Frank was even able to turn in his badge.” “These actions show a premeditated and engineered plan to elevate the mayor’s ‘decisiveness’ quality at the expense of Frank Straub’s reputation,” the claim read. “It’s a very interesting time of year.” “The Mayor hired him to wade in and the Mayor mandated him to wade in,” the suit said. “Once he was in, City administration undercut his authority, coddled mutiny, and subversively managed cancerous factions to its own perceived advantage. This was an engineered process designed to damage Frank Straub and enhance the mayor’s standing.” Deja vu?

Former Chicago Schools CEO And SUPES Academy Executives Charged In Bribery Scheme

The controversial former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools named by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been indicted by federal prosecutors in Chicago for steering a $22.5 million, no-bid contract to her former employer, SUPES Academy, in return for a job promise to herself and cash payments of $250,000 for two of her relatives. Barbara Byrd-Bennett has been indicted in the bribery scheme, along with the two co-owners of SUPES Academy, Gary Solomon and Thomas Vranas.

According to the 43-page indictment, Solomon assured Byrd-Bennett there was a job waiting for her at his company when she completed "this stint at CPS." Solomon and Vranas agreed to deposit $250,000 into bank accounts of Byrd-Bennett's relatives as "a signing bonus," which the two then deposited to the relatives' accounts. Solomon also promised to arrange jobs for Byrd-Bennett's relatives and gave her free meals, airline tickets and tickets to sporting events.

"Graft and corruption in our city's public school system tears at the fabric of a vital resource for the children of Chicago," U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a statement. "School officials and city vendors who abuse the public trust will be held accountable." It's too bad our federal prosecutor in Indianapolis doesn't feel the same way. This kind of corruption Byrd-Bennett is accused of engaging in with these shady characters is standard operating procedure in government here. SUPES Academy, by the way, has contracted with Indiana schools in the past.

The federal prosecutor, Zachary Fardon, announced Byrd-Bennett has agreed to plead guilty to the charges. Solomon is married to the daughter of a prominent Chicago real estate developer, John Marks, who developed both the House of Blues and Hard Rock hotels. Solomon formerly taught school at Niles Township School District before he was forced to resign over allegations of having inappropriate sexual relationships with his students. Vranas is the son of the former head of the Chicago Association of Realtors, John Vranas.

McCarthy Drops Out Of Speaker's Race After Conference Chair's Eyebrow-Raising Letter

Renee Ellmers Kevin McCarthy
U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) left with U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers
UPDATED: Yesterday, an eyebrow-raising letter to the chairman of the House Republican Conference was sent by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) admonishing candidates for leadership positions who might have indiscretions in their past to drop their candidacy. In a shocking announcement, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced a short while ago he was dropping out of the Speaker's race, which he was expected to win. Let's take another look at Rep. Jones' letter:
"With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public," Jones wrote.
"Some of the most difficult times have been when our Republican leaders or potential Republican leaders must step down because of skeletons in their closets," Jones wrote.
"As members of the House of Representatives, we need to be able to represent the will of the people unhindered by potentially embarrassing scandals."
Was Rep. Jones' letter directed at McCarthy? Perhaps. A controversial blogger, Charles C Johnson, alleged at his website,, that McCarthy was having an affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers, who also hails from Jones' home state of North Carolina. Johnson posted a story on his blog earlier today about a "cease and desist" letter he received from Ellmers' attorney. Johnson didn't back down from his allegations about the alleged affair between McCarthy and Elmers.

Both McCarthy and Ellmers are married. In Jones' letter to his fellow caucus members, he cited the names of former Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Majority Leader Bob Livingstone, both of whom resigned successively over allegations of marital infidelity during the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings following the Monica Lewinsky scandal. As a result of McCarthy's announcement today, House Republicans are delaying the vote planned for today to replace retiring Speaker John Boehner.

It's getting close to Halloween and now it's starting to look like another nightmare on Elm Street. Newt Gingrich tells Sean Hannity he's willing to become Speaker of the House again if asked to serve. Technically, the Speaker of the House doesn't have to be a sitting member of Congress. Ugh! Hopefully, the GOP caucus isn't that stupid.

IU Bloomington's Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity Suspended After Oral Sex Video Is Posted On Reddit

Past ATO President Tommy Paslaski in front of ATO House (Daily Student Photo)
An Indiana University fraternity plagued with problems in the past has been immediately suspended by university officials after a NSFW video showing a fraternity pledge performing oral sex on a stripper while other fraternity members and half-naked pledges cheered him on was posted on Reddit. IU officials tweeted notice of the suspension of Alpha Tau Omega late last night.

According to an Indiana Daily Student investigative report on ATO, the fraternity has a long history of problems at the fraternity house known as "The Party House," "AT Blow" and "AT Snow." The fraternity's president told the Daily Student it's not true pledges are required to do lines of coke and take dildos up their butt as part of their initiation into the fraternity.

One female student recently claimed she was raped at a "Menage a Tau" party, an annual event where fraternity brothers invite two dates who are required to wear only lingerie and are provided lots of alcohol. It's apparently a status symbol for a girl to be invited to attend this particular party at the IU campus dressed like a slut.

In 1992, a pledge nearly died from alcohol poisoning when he was forced to drink alcohol from a funnel until he threw up. The pledge, Dennis Jay, Jr., had a blood alcohol level of .48. The fraternity was kicked off campus for a period.

ATO almost got kicked off campus again in 2010 for serving alcohol to minors. At a 2012 homecoming party, a drunken girl attending a party at the ATO house was sent to the hospital. During "Sorority Week" another girl was sent to the hospital after attending an ATO party. During a "Welcome Week" party the following year yet another girl was sent to the hospital after attending a party there.

UPDATED: This didn't take long. ATO's national organization has shut it down and revoked its charter.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Chicago's New FBI Head Plans To Target Public Corruption

Michael Anderson
Special Agent Michael J. Anderson (Times Picayune/Rusty Costanza Photo)
There's yet another reason for corrupt Illinois pols to relocate to Indiana to ply their trade here. The City of Chicago's FBI office has a new guy in charge who says the City is "target rich" when it comes to public corruption cases. "Chicago has always been in the forefront, unfortunately," Michael J. Anderson told the Chicago Tribune. "The corruption in Chicago is very diverse. Federal, state, municipal and law enforcement, you name it." Anderson comes to Chicago from New Orleans where he's been working the past three years.

Try to talk public corruption cases with our local FBI office in Indianapolis or the U.S. Attorney's Office. Their eyes roll as they essentially tell you to f _ _ _ off. They have more important things to do like tracking down pervs viewing child pornography that's easily accessible on the Internet. I'm really serious about this. These guys in Chicago don't realize how easy it is to operate organized crime rackets to defraud state and local taxpayers in Indiana. Some of the most powerful people in the state are a part of the racket, and as long as you're playing ball with the right folks, the sky is the limit. C'mon down. What are you waiting for?

IMPD Cop Who Shot Girlfriend In The Face Sentenced To Two Years Of Home Detention

IMPD Officer Justin Beaton (Photo Courtesy: IMPD)
It's just another example of why there is no equal treatment under the law when it comes to enforcement of criminal laws in the state of Indiana. Justin Beaton, a violent, drunken IMPD officer who shot his girlfriend in the face last year and then lied to police about the cause of her injuries, received a sentence of just two years of home detention. Good time credit will shave a third of that time off.

Marion County prosecutors originally charged Beaton with attempted murder and obstruction of justice, among other charges. In a plea deal, the charges were dropped to a single count of criminal recklessness, a low-level felony charge, after Beaton's girlfriend became an uncooperative witness. Marion Superior Court Judge Lisa Borges suspended two years of the four years of community corrections she ordered Beaton to serve. Beaton is required to serve one year of probation.

Beaton's sentence is just a little more harsh than the one year of home detention former Secretary of State Charlie White was ordered to serve by a Hamilton County judge after the Supreme Court upheld convictions against him for vote fraud and theft, legal rulings which cannot be squared with anything but the most tortured interpretation of Indiana law. Also contrast Beaton's sentence with that of Augustus Mendenhall, who was overcharged and convicted of attempted murder for beating up State Rep. Ed. DeLaney after DeLaney exploited the court system for his well-heeled client, the mob-tied DeBartolo Group, for years to destroy the legitimate business Mendenhall's father operated. Mendenhall received a 30-year sentence. Mendenhall never even fired a gun at his victim. I mention Mendenhall's case because he had the same criminal defense attorney as Beaton--Jack Crawford.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Scott County Woman Accused Of Paying Hitmen With NASCAR Memorabilia To Kill Step-Father

A 69-year old Scott County man, Bill Reynolds, beat cancer but not his evil step-daughter according to the local sheriff's department. Reynolds' step-daughter, Johnetta Hall and two men, Jacob Mathis, 21, and Kerry Heald, 22, are accused of killing Reynolds at his Scott Count home on September 27, the same day he returned home after a several month hospital stay for the treatment of esophageal cancer.

According to Scott Co. Sheriff Dan McClain, police believe Hall hired Mathis and Heald to kill her step-father and paid them with NASCAR memorabilia Reynolds had collected so she and her mother could inherit Reynolds' property and his collection of more than a dozen classic cars.

Surveillance cameras captured Hall exchanging the NASCAR memorabilia with Mathis and Heald at a storage unit in Austin shortly after the killing allegedly took place. Hall had been seen earlier that day with the two men at a Circle K where she made a purchase and retained a receipt for purposes of establishing her own alibi. Reynolds' family believes more people were involved in the conspiracy, and Sheriff McClain said more charges are possible in the case.

Kentucky Prosecutor: Powell Could Be Prosecuted For Human Trafficking

A Kentucky state prosecutor tells the Louisville Courier-Journal he will look at possibly charging Katina Powell, the woman Mickey Maurer's IBJ Publishing exploited for a tell-all book in which Powell implicates the Louisville Cardinals' basketball program of using her and other prostitutes, including her underage daughters, to provide sexual services to the basketball team's players and recruits. Andre McGee, the Cardinals' former director of operations whom Powell accused of hiring the services of her escort services, could also face charges as an accomplice if the facts laid out in the book Maurer paid former Indianapolis Star reporter Dick Cady to write for Powell can be corroborated.

The Commonwealth's prosecutor, Thomas Wine, said Powell's admissions alone in her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules," won't be sufficient to bring charges. If there is evidence corroborating her admission, Wine says he won't hesitate to bring charges. "If his office 'receives credible evidence of criminal activity involving minor children, we will vigorously prosecute those responsible for those crimes,'" Wine said. Suffice it to say, Powell may be using a substantial amount of the paltry 10% of revenues Maurer is sharing with her from the sale of her book on a criminal defense. The University of Louisville Police is working with the Louisville Police Department to review the allegations made in Powell's book.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Rolls-Royce Will Get $35 Million In State And Local Subsidies, Create No Jobs

Rolls-Royce will invest $600 million over the next several years to modernize its Indianapolis operations. State and local taxpayers will contribute about $35 million in economic development incentives to the British-owned company towards that investment on top of the nearly $17 million the company has received in economic development incentives since 2006. Half of that money will come from the City of Indianapolis, which says it lacks revenues to pay for basic city services.

Did I mention there are no new jobs, planned to be added by the company? We're supposed to just be gracious the company is investing in our state instead of somewhere else, even if tax revenues to state and local government take a big hit that either means budget cuts or higher taxes for other taxpayers to offset the lost revenues. We can hope Rolls-Royce prospers and adds more jobs in the future, but that would be hoping for more wars since the company derives its revenues from military contracts for aircraft and weapons systems.