Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Colts Player Arrested

Colts linebacker Andrew Jackson, a rookie this past season, was arrested early Friday morning in Bowling Green, Kentucky for driving while under the influence of alcohol and driving carelessly. According to a Daily News report, the arrest took place at 4:15 a.m. after a police officer observed a car driven by Jackson swerving from one side of the street to another. The arresting police officer wrote in his report that Jackson had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and the odor of alcohol on his breath. A breathalyzer test showed his alcohol level to be .088.

Last May, Jackson was arrested in Muncie for driving while under the influence. As a high school student, he was arrested for attempted burglary. During his senior year at Western Kentucky University he was suspended for not complying with team rules. The Daily News, citing court records, says Jackson has already pleaded guilty to the charges and been sentenced to 14 days of home detention and had his driver's license suspended for one year. That seems like awfully swift justice.

Who's Paying For Added Security At Castleton Square Mall?

An Advance Indiana reader sends a tip that if accurate raises some serious concerns about who is paying for beefed up security at Castleton Square Mall. The tipster claims Marion Co. Sheriff John Layton's department is providing extra deputies to police the mall, some of whom are receiving overtime pay. The reader wants to know why taxpayers are paying to provide extra security to the Simon-owned mall.

The reader notes that the sheriff's law enforcement responsibilities were taken away from his department with the merger of deputies who formerly provided policing services with the former Indianapolis Police Department to become IMPD back in 2005. Remaining deputies in the sheriff's department act only as "special deputies," which provides them law enforcement duties limited to their assigned duties. "If they are assigned duties for which the sheriff does not have, are they law enforcement officers," the reader asks.

All good questions. Perhaps someone from the Sheriff's Department can respond to them. Various news reports following the weekend brawl that broke out earlier this month quoted mall officials as saying the mall was paying for extra security at the mall, along with some additional IMPD officers who would be assigned to patrol the area.

The public should also be very concerned that it appears the extra $29 million you're paying in higher taxes this year to hire more police officers is being spent elsewhere. Despite claims money was set aside in last year's budget to hire more police officers, the net increase in staffing was fewer than 10 police officers because of the high attrition rate attributed to retirements and voluntary and involuntary terminations. I've said all along the tax increase was nothing but a bait-and-switch just like the massive 2007 tax increase supposedly intended for public safety. If a $90 million tax increase resulted in fewer, not more police officers, doesn't anyone believe a tax increase a third that size will result in the hiring of hundreds of additional police officers?

The administration is banking on having those additional tax dollars to pay for the costly new criminal justice center it is proposing, which will require additional payments of close to $50 million a year. I continue to hear rumors that City-County Councilors are being bribed, if not heavily coerced by threats, into supporting the controversial P3 project, which I've already proven to our readers was a rigged bidding process no matter how much our useless local media chooses to ignore that fact.

Swarens Likes Brewer

The Indianapolis Star's opinion editor Tim Swarens sat down with the little-known businessman local Republicans have anointed as their Republican candidate for mayor and gives him his seal of approval. Swarens quick take on Chick Brewer is predictable, if superficial.

He ticks off a checklist of requisites that make Brewer the ideal candidate: a decorated Marine veteran with combat leadership experience from two tours of duty in Iraq; impressive education credentials; management experience with a Fortune 500 company; and downtown small business owner.

The fact that Brewer only recently moved to Indianapolis (a little more than three years ago) doesn't bother Swarens in the least. How could it? Most of the Star's high turnover staff are recent Gannett transplants who lack any historical knowledge of the city. "But really, that should be a minor factor at most for a city that needs to welcome fresh talent and avoid erecting artificial barriers to advancement — even advancement to the mayor’s office," Swarens opines.

Brewer tells Swarens he's "a big fan of Ballard." "And a lot of folks will look at the similarities between the two — Marine officer, unconventional candidate, new face to Indy politics — and conclude that a Brewer administration would be an extension of Ballard’s eight-year tenure in city hall," Swarens said.

Attracting and retaining talent to the city top Brewer's list of goals. Improving public safety, creating jobs, promoting excellence in education and redeveloping neighborhoods is how he intends to accomplish that goal. Swarens admits Brewer was lacking in details on how to achieve that objective, but he tells us his likely Democratic opponent, Joe Hogsett, who has been running for office much longer, didn't offer many details when he recently sat down with him either.

Swarens says Brewer is ready "for the personal, often unfair, attacks that come with running for political office, especially from partisans on the other side," which Ballard didn't handle well. "My perspective on management, on leadership is inclusiveness," Brewer said. "I don’t know how it’s been handled in the past, but I would meet regularly with Democrats and Republicans to ensure that all voices are heard. Good ideas always have a seat at the table."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

CNBC's American Greed Tim Durham Episode A Total Whitewash

The "Playboy of Indiana" episode featured tonight on CNBC's American Greed was pretty much what you would expect from a GE-produced media story--a complete whitewash of events from start to finish. Feed the sheeple what you want them to believe by covering up the real story behind Tim Durham's more than $200 million Ponzi scheme.

To buy the load of crock CNBC fed you tonight required a suspension of disbelief. Durham acted alone driven by raw greed we're told. Nowhere mentioned are the names of the politicians who curried his favor and helped protect him, in particular the corrupt former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who remains at large for his long-running crime spree, thanks in large part to the same law enforcement folks taking bows in tonight's broadcast. His stable of attorneys and accountants played no small part along the way as well.

The infamous Pajama Party was titillating to viewers, but what happened to that list of prominent politicians, civic and business leaders who enjoyed the entertainment of the working girls and boys? That was buried just like the video recordings made by the sophisticated surveillance system installed throughout Durham's palatial home, including the guest bedrooms, which come in handy when a little extra convincing is needed to get someone to do what you expect of them. Beurt SerVaas' introduction of the dirty world of using front companies to launder the CIA's ill-gotten proceeds to his former son-in-law and spreading the wealth around to a select few likewise got lost on the cutting room floor.

The illegal boiler room stock-pumping operation on Bright Point stock that made tens of millions for not only Durham but a large cast of Indianapolis' ruling elite who regularly engage in illegal stock trading with impunity was portrayed as a legitimate stock investment that helped launch Durham's meteoric business career. Please. The fact that Dan Laikin, the brother of Bright Point's CEO, wound up as CEO of Durham's National Lampoon and got caught engaging in the same illegal stock price manipulation got lost somewhere in production.

To believe the disingenuous FBI agent, federal law enforcement officials acted immediately based solely on the information it had been provided by Laikin on how Durham used Fair Finance like a Ponzi scheme to bankroll his lifestyle. The reality was that complaints of whistle blowers alerting the SEC, the FBI, the Indianapolis U.S. Attorney's Office and the Ohio Securities Division to Durham's fraud had been ignored for years, allowing more innocent Ohio investors to be lured into investing their life savings in Fair Finance. When the feds finally moved after it was too late, the U.S. Attorney's Office withdrew a critical civil forfeiture action, allowing Durham's equally as corrupt enablers the time they needed to ensure those defrauded investors would never see a dime of their money.

And about the fellow from Indianapolis Monthly featured prominently in tonight's broadcast, the one who drooled all over Durham before his downfall. How much money did Durham spend entertaining you for writing those puff pieces about him? Aren't you the same guy who refused to speak to whistle blowers? Yeah, I thought so.

So the "Playboy of Indiana" was entertaining, part reality and part fiction, just like the news fed to us by the lamestream media. As long as it entertains while re-directing your attention from the real story, that's all that really counts.

New York's Long-Time House Speaker Arrested, Accused Of Taking Millions In Bribes Over A Decade

Sheldon Silver facing reporters following his arrest (New York Times/Sam Hodsgon Photo)
Manhattan federal prosecutors took New York's long-time Speaker of the House Sheldon Silver (D) into custody this morning to formally charge him with accepting millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for legislative favors over the past decade. According to federal prosecutors, Silver used his law practice to mask bribes paid to him as legitimate income earned as referral fees. From the New York Times:
 . . . “For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question — how could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in all of New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents?” Mr. Bharara said at a news conference. “Today, we provide the answer: He didn’t.” 
Mr. Bharara said Mr. Silver had produced “a nice profit on being a public official.” He added, “Politicians are supposed to be on the people’s payroll, not on secret retainer to wealthy special interests they do favors for.” . . . 
“As alleged, Silver took advantage of the political pulpit to benefit from unlawful profits,” he said. “When all was said and done, he amassed nearly $4 million in illegitimate proceeds and arranged for approximately $500,000 in state funds to be used for projects that benefited his personal plans.” 
The criminal complaint outlining the charges accuses Mr. Silver of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.” 
He is charged with honest services mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, extortion “under the color of law” — using his official position to commit extortion — and extortion conspiracy. 
The complaint maintains that for more than a decade, Mr. Silver devised a scheme “to induce real estate developers with business before the state” to use a real estate law firm controlled by a lawyer who had once worked as Mr. Silver’s counsel. That lawyer, according to the complaint, orchestrated payments to the speaker for referrals to the firm . . 
I'll let you in on a secret. This same practice has taken place in Indiana for decades; it's just that the corrupt politicians are lucky only political hacks are appointed as federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Indiana, who effectively insulate the ruling corrupt establishment from prosecution for their criminal transgressions.

Former Hawaii Governor Picked By Rauner To Be His Chief Operating Officer

Obama posing with former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle while both mockingly display the horns of Satan
For those of us who knew Obama presented a phony biographical narrative when he first ran for president in 2008, his Hawaiian home state's then-Republican governor, Linda Lingle, will never be forgiven for the key role she played in the cover up. She was a vocal critic of anyone who questioned Obama's biographical narrative despite overwhelming evidence that virtually his entire life story as described in his autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," had been concocted out of whole cloth by ghost writer and renowned terrorist Bill Ayers.

Lingle claimed her administration had confirmed a record in Hawaii's vital records documenting Obama's birth in Hawaii, although the state kept all of those records under lock and key and the short-form birth certificate produced by Obama was exposed as a bad forgery. In April 2010 after Donald Trump took up the so-called birther cause, Obama produced for the first time an alleged long-form birth certificate issued by the state. Document experts soon established that document was a forgery as well, and the state's Health Department officials, who answered to Lingle's successor, long-time Obama friend Gov. Neil Abercrombie, refused to document its authenticity, only saying there was a recording of his birth in the state's health records, which means little since Hawaii law, unlike other states, permitted parents to record births of children that had occurred outside the state. Later, Abercrombie's health director, Loretta Fuddy, the first non-physician to hold that post, turned up dead from a suspicious, soft plane crash landing on the water near the shore, which claimed her life while the pilot and every other passenger aboard the plane escaped with only minor or no injuries at all.

Lingle was Hawaii's first governor of Jewish ancestry, who served as Maui's mayor before her election as the state's first Republican governor in 2002, a post she held for two terms. The former St. Louis resident is now turning up in Chicago politics where she has been named as chief operating officer for the administration of Gov. Bruce Rauner, a nominal Republican with very close ties to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), Obama's first White House chief of staff. Rauner, of course, was Emanuel's chief benefactor, helping him score a nearly $18 million fee on a business transaction he steered to a Chicago investment firm where Emanuel was employed for a mere 18 months between serving in the Clinton White House and succeeding Rod Blagojevich in the House of Representatives when Blavojevich gave up his congressional seat to become Illinois' governor. Emanuel scored the multi-million dollar investment banking fee despite having zero prior business experience prior to joining the investment firm. It looks like Rauner is now taking care of Lingle just like he did Emanuel for her role in paving the way for Barack Obama.

Media's Gay Rights Darling Busted For Drunk Driving

The local news media kept this story under wraps for quite some time. The Indianapolis Star told us their anointed star in the gay marriage battle, political consultant Megan Robertson, was on their list of fifteen people to watch in 2015--just not the reason we were told. It turns out that Robertson had been busted weeks before for drunk driving after she smashed her vehicle into a Hardees restaurant on East Washington Street. A blood alcohol test found she was more than double over the legal limit. The irony is that Robertson is helping lead the legislative effort this year to overturn the state's law banning Sunday alcohol sales. The Star's Tony Cook provides these details:
Megan Robertson, the Republican political operative who was hired to run the campaign to legalize Sunday carryout alcohol sales, is facing drunken driving charges after police say her vehicle crashed into a Near Eastside fast food restaurant on Christmas Eve. 
Robertson, 32, lost control of her Chevrolet Equinox and struck a Hardee's restaurant at 921 E. Washington St., according to a probable cause affidavit. Robertson told police she was on her way home from a Fountain Square bar at about 1 a.m. after drinking two beers. 
A breathalyzer test later showed she had a blood alcohol content of 0.168 percent, the affidavit said. That is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving in Indiana. 
"I am incredibly ashamed of my poor judgment in this situation," Robertson said in a statement to The Star. "I am very grateful no one was injured, and I am very sorry to those I have let down. This lapse in judgment should not reflect on the causes that I have worked on over the course of my career." 
She is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to 0.15 percent or more. Both charges are class A misdemeanors and carry a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $5,000 fine . . . 
Robertson has a string of prior traffic arrests for speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and operating a vehicle while her driver's license was suspended, the most recent of which occurred on September 25 of last year. That case was still pending when she was charged with drunk driving on Christmas Eve. She is represented in both cases by Jennifer Lukemeyer of high profile attorney Jim Voyles' law firm. Robertson managed Mayor Greg Ballard's 2011 re-election campaign before she headed up Freedom Indiana as a paid lobbyist to fight the passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in Indiana.

Former Employee Of Mayoral Hopeful Speaks About Her Former Boss

Sarah Hoyt is a 32-year old life-time Indianapolis resident who didn't shy away from commenting on political newcomer, Chuck Brewer, when media reports on Monday revealed he was the candidate the leadership of the Marion Co. Republican Party had anointed as the party's candidate for mayor to succeed Mayor Greg Ballard, the accidental mayor who is retiring after two terms as the city's mayor. "I wouldn't call his businesses very successful," Hoyt, a former general manager of the Potbelly Sandwich Shop owned by Brewer on Monument Circle wrote in the comments wall on an Indianapolis Star online story touting the former Sears executive and Iraqi War veteran. "As the general manager for one of his businesses for 2 years, his leadership is definitely questionable," Hoyt said. "He will not be receiving my vote."
Sarah TheFunone Elizabeth I wouldn't call his businesses very successful. As the general manager for one of his businesses for 2 years, his leadership is definitely questionable. He will not be receiving my vote. 
Reply · Like · 3 · January 19 at 9:16pm
To this long-time political activist and GOP precinct committeeman, Chuck Brewer's name and face was a completely new one to me. Media reports touted the New York native's impressive business degrees from Harvard and Northwestern University, as well as his experience working for Sears Holding Corp. in Chicago where he rose through the corporate ranks to a division vice president before striking out on his own in a move to Indianapolis to pursue his own dreams as an entrepreneur. Brewer opened Indianapolis' first Potbelly franchise on Monument Circle before launching a second self-branded concept restaurant around the corner on East Market Street, Soupremacy. Brewer is also a decorated Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq in a combat role as a Lt. Colonel in the Marine Reserves. I reached out to Hoyt to learn more about what she could share with Advance Indiana readers about Brewer after reading her comment on the Indianapolis Star's website.

Hoyt, who has held numerous jobs in the hospitality industry since graduating from Ben Davis High School in 2000, first crossed paths with Brewer when she started working at his Potbelly franchise as a cashier about two and a half years ago. Within three months, Brewer promoted her to assistant shift lead. As fate would have it, she was quickly elevated to a new role as assistant manager when a general manager quit working for Brewer. By this same time last year, Hoyt had become general manager of Potbelly as he was launching his second restaurant, Soupremacy. Hoyt left her job in September to begin classes full-time at Ivy Tech, where she is studying to become a substance abuse counselor.

Hoyt had the opportunity to interact a great deal with Brewer over the past two and a half years. Brewer, a single divorced father of a pre-teen son, travels back and forth frequently between his Indianapolis home and a Chicago home he continues to maintain according to Hoyt. Brewer, who has been engaged in contentious litigation over child custody matters over the past several years with his ex-wife since his 2010 divorce became final according to Cook County Circuit Court records, shares custody of his son with his ex-wife. According to Hoyt, Brewer often travels to Chicago to exercise his parenting time rights with his son, in addition to his ongoing reporting duties as a reserve officer in the Marines. Occasionally, she said Brewer brought his son with him to Potbelly when he was exercising his parenting time, whom Hoyt described as a very well-mannered and behaved child.

One of Hoyt's frustrations working for Brewer was her belief that he treated male and female workers differently. Small talk between fellow employees upset her when she realized some male employees spoke of earning higher wages than female counterparts performing the same job, although Hoyt said she knew of no formal complaints ever filed against Brewer for discrimination. She became particularly upset when she learned Brewer was paying college tuition for a male counterpart, a benefit never offered to her. Like many hospitality workers, Brewer offered no health care benefits to his employees, even for the full-time general manager position she last held. Hoyt said Brewer insisted that no hourly employees be permitted to work over-time hours because he did not want to pay them over-time pay as required by law.

Hoyt also described Brewer, who was normally a pleasant person for whom to work, as having a short fuse. His management style typically left it to his general manager to work out problems with employees, but she observed instances when he became angry with an employee and began yelling and spewing four-letter words at them. She recalled one instance where he became infuriated because a manager had allowed an employee to take a smoking break outside. The manager was so overcome by his anger that he left, only later returning to work after Brewer smoothed things over with him. When Hoyt was promoted to her job as general manager, Brewer neglected to reflect her higher wages on her first paycheck following her promotion, which became a problem for her as she was attempting to secure credit to purchase a car. Hoyt said Brewer showed no sympathy for her plight when she was forced to make a higher down payment based on lower wage earnings, telling her she should have waited until he corrected her pay on the next paycheck.

One of the questions I asked of Hoyt was where she believed Brewer lived. Although she never visited his home, she knew carry out orders had been delivered to it by the restaurant's bicycle delivery workers. She understood he lived in a condo not far away on Meridian Street. That is consistent with my own research, which found a Charles W. Brewer listed as the owner of a condominium in the Athletic Club at 350 N. Meridian Street. Marion County Assessor records show Unit #607 at the Athletic Club was transferred to a "Charles W. Brewer" on April 19, 2011. A homestead exemption has been claimed on the property for tax years 2012 through 2014 according to the assessor's records, which has a current assessed value of $342,700.

The question of Brewer's residence is intriguing. Before he announced earlier this week he would be running for mayor, Brewer filed a statement of organization indicating he planned to run in District 23 for a seat on the Indianapolis City-County Council. On the form he filed with the Marion Co. Election Board, he listed an address at 623 Slate Drive, Apt. B, which is located on the city's south side in Perry Township. If Brewer is the owner of a condominium in the Athletic Club, which is consistent with Hoyt's understanding of where he resided, why would he have been seeking election to the City-County Council in District 23? As Brewer explained to various reporters, he sought out GOP party leaders for their support for mayor after filing paperwork to run for a seat on the City-County Council when he learned they were having difficulty finding someone to run for mayor.

According to Hoyt, local Republican Party officials frequently dined at Potbelly and conducted meetings there while she worked for Brewer. Hoyt said Brewer was always very friendly with these Republican officials and sometimes furnished lunch to them for free. She was not familiar with these individuals by name other than Denise Moe, who has served as campaign manager and treasurer for State Sen. Pete Miller (R-Avon). Hoyt had no knowledge of Brewer's personal finances, although he seemed to her to be very frugal in how he spent his money. He had originally planned to open other Potbelly restaurants in the area but those plans fell through. That's when he decided to launch Soupremacy. Hoyt said he was very secretive about his plans to open up the second restaurant. She didn't even learn of his plans to open it until about a week before it opened for business. After it opened, she said she felt pressured by him to improve sales at Potbelly because of lagging sales at Soupremacy.

Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me. I regrettably backed Greg Ballard for mayor in 2007 based upon a total bunch of lies he fed to me about his political views. I won't make that mistake again. The Marion Co. GOP may not have bothered to take the time to vet this unknown candidate they've anointed as their candidate for mayor, but his blog will do it whether they like it or not. We know the fawning Indianapolis media can't be expected to do their job either.

Coons' Political Activity May Have Violated Federal Hatch Act

As director of Homeland Security for the City of Indianapolis, Gary Coons' salary is paid, in part, by federal funds. Earlier this month, fellow blogger Paul Ogden  raised concerns in a blog post about Coons' role chairing "Vote Yes for Perry Township Schools," a political action committee set up to advocate for passage of yet another property tax increase in Perry Township that will not be subject to the state's property tax cap law. Ogden noted that Coons listed his city e-mail account and telephone number on campaign finance paperwork filed for the political action committee.

Fox 59 News is now reporting Coons' actions may have run afoul of the federal Hatch Act because of the source of funding for his job. The Hatch Act prohibits certain state and local employees whose salaries are paid in whole or in part by federal funds from engaging in political activities. Indiana University School of Law Professor David Orentlicher told Fox 59 News Coons may have crossed the legal line set out in the law.

The PAC's website included an endorsement of passage of the referendum invoking his public safety position. "Going on the website and now saying I’m supporting this, and I hold the office as chief of Homeland Security, that I think goes a step beyond and is not just a technical violation," Orentlicher said. "That goes to the spirit and the concerns of the law." "If Coons’ official government title and contact information weren’t used, Orentlicher said there’d be no problem." Coons declined to speak to Fox 59 on camera but was told he planned to change the PAC filing and website material to remove references to his city job.

As Ogden notes in his blog post, when Coons was first appointed to the job as homeland security director, he tried to hold on to his job as the elected trustee of Perry Township until news reports raised concerns about him holding both jobs, whereupon he reluctantly resigned his post as township trustee.

Another Candidate With A Residency Problem: Watch Him Not Get The Charlie White Treatment

John Perkins served as a Democratic member of the Clark Co. Board of Commissioners representing District 3 until the end of last year, claiming as his residence a home he owns in Bethlehem, Indiana on which he's claimed a homestead exemption since 2011. When he voted in the November 2014 general election, he claimed that residence for purposes of casting an absentee ballot. So far, so good.

Here's where it gets dicey. Perkins filed earlier this month to run for city council in Jeffersonville's District 1, now claiming as his residence a condominium owned by Diane Swank. A complaint has been filed by Keith Levell challenging Perkins' residency. "He is not a resident and has not been a resident of the first district," Levell wrote on the form he filed with Clark County Voter Registration according to The News & Tribune.

That's not all. While serving as a member of the county board of commissioners, Perkins voted to name Swank, the woman with whom he now claims to reside, as the agent of record for Clark County's health insurance. The News & Tribune says he has denied in past newspaper reports that he has a romantic relationship with Swank. Perkins tells the newspaper he only moved in with Swank earlier this month. He says the home in Bethlehem he's been using as his primary residence for voting purposes and to serve as a county commissioner is really just a vacation home.

The residency requirement to run for city council is one year, a date which references the November election according to Dale Simmons, co-counsel of the Indiana Elections Division. Clark Co. Clerk Susan Popp, who sits as a member of the election board which will hear the complaint filed against Perkins' candidacy, is a first cousin of Swank and may decline to participate in the case based upon that family relationship, which could result in a 1-1 deadlock.

Here's the part that will drive Charlie White crazy. Perkins' attorney is relying on Evan Bayh's case to save him, the same one the Indiana Court of Appeals pretended didn't even exist when it affirmed three vote fraud-related convictions against the former secretary of state because he used his ex-wife's home as his voting residence for a several month period while he was in between homes and still a member of the Fishers Town Council. "I think ultimately it’s going to come down to a legal question of Mr. Perkins’ residence and whether he’s in fact been a Jeffersonville resident based on his long-standing residence within the community and his intent to return to his residence," Mickey Weber said. "I’ve kind of formed the impression that Mr. Perkins never meant to abandon his residence in Jeffersonville altogether."

Sorry, Charlie, you really are a class of one when it comes to interpreting Indiana's voter residency laws.