Thursday, April 29, 2010
The number of undecided Republican primary voters isn't as large as I expected. Stutzman seems to be the biggest gainer in this poll, although he still has a lot of ground to make up. I can't imagine that Coats is resting very comfortably on this poll result. He has the best name recognition by far in the field, and media coverage of the belated filing of his financial disclosure form hasn't been doing him any good in recent days. The same poll shows Coats beating Democrat Brad Ellsworth handily in the general election, 47%-31%.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department likely will have to return more than $273,000 in cash seized as part of a racketeering investigation after the Marion County Prosecutor's Office missed a civil forfeiture deadline.The prosecutor's office's attempt to lay blame at Garrison's doorstep isn't playing with me. A source close to the investigation informed me at the time that Garrison was ready to go gangbusters against OmniSource but was ordered to stand down by the prosecutor's office after Mackey started representing the company and tried getting the lead investigator in the case fired or demoted for speaking too candidly to the media. Schouten's report notes the letter Mackey sent to Capt. Boomershine's superiors at the time:
Law enforcement officers from IMPD, the FBI, Indiana State Police and other agencies in February 2009 raided six Indianapolis scrap yards operated by metal recycling powerhouse OmniSource, collecting evidence and seizing cash and property.
The raids were the culmination of a year-long undercover investigation into the company's purchase of stolen ladders, boats, gutters, wiring and other items as scrap metal prices boomed.
Law enforcement officers turned the case over to the Prosecutor's Office Grand Jury division, which continues to investigate. And the locally based Garrison Law Firm, which Prosecutor Carl Brizzi hired several years ago to handle select forfeiture cases in exchange for 30 percent of the take, began working on a case under federal racketeering statutes.
But no one—not Garrison nor anyone at the Marion County Prosecutor's Office—filed the paperwork necessary to keep the seized cash within 180 days, as required under state law. Each party blames the other for the oversight.
Law enforcement sources said the case never was referred to the internal Prosecutor's Office forfeiture unit, and that Garrison took responsibility from the start. A series of e-mails among Prosecutor's Office officials, obtained by IBJ, say the civilian employees who run IMPD's forfeiture division were told Garrison was handling the case and were never notified of a change.
A spokesman for the IMPD referred all questions to the Prosecutor's Office. Police haven't discussed the case publicly since IMPD Maj. Chris Boomershine told industry newspaper Platts Steel Markets Daily in February 2009 that OmniSource kept documents on how to avoid antitrust violations, hired off-duty IMPD officers to target competitors and bought cars altered to appear stolen from undercover police officers.Schouten's quote from me pretty much sums up what I think about the handling of this case.
Mackey blasted Boomershine's disclosures in a three-page letter to top officials at IMPD and the Prosecutor's Office in March 2009.
"Divulging confidential information in and of itself was wildly inappropriate," Mackey wrote. "Divulging it to Platts Steel Markets Daily constituted a purposeful effort on the Major's part to publicly damage OmniSource and its publicly traded parent."
The fact no action has been taken against OmniSource 14 months after the raid is no surprise to Republican blogger Gary Welsh. He predicted in May 2009 on his Advance Indiana blog that the case would go nowhere under Brizzi.
“These cases drag on and on and when nobody’s looking, they quietly announce there are no charges and is no evidence of a crime,” Welsh said.
Here's what really happened. OmniSource, the giant scrap metal dealer, hired Barnes & Thornburg attorney Larry Mackey to defend it. He's the former campaign chairman for Carl Brizzi and former law partner of then-Public Safety Director Scott Newman. He's also an attorney for alleged Ponzi scheme operator Tim Durham, also a one-time major employer of off-duty cops at his Geist mansion. Mackey immediately fired off a letter to Brizzi and Newman demanding the firing or demotion of the lead investigator of his client's scheme because he spoke too candidly to the media about the stolen scrap metal purchases made by their yards in Indianapolis.
It comes as no surprise that I should read in the Indianapolis Star this morning that there will be no prosecutions in the OmniSource case. It's amazing that IMPD's own investigators could uncover incontrovertible evidence of stolen scrap metal purchases by OmniSource scrap yards but the prosecutor's office would find no crimes committed. In other words, your local criminal justice system is more about protecting the powerful than the little people who had all of that scrap metal stolen from their homes and businesses over the last several years. Welcome to Indianapolis.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
While the mainstream media has positively portrayed Newman over the years, I've been a frequent critic of his after once being a big supporter. Newman's tenure as prosecutor was marked by the awarding of gaming licenses for the state's riverboats and horse race tracks. Newman adeptly picked up on the backroom deals taking place up and down the state. Rather than sit on the sidelines and take in the rumors, he dug right in and tried to root out corruption. Newman set his sights on House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Sam Turpin (R-Brownsburg), who basically conducted an auction during his brief tenure as the powerful House committee chairman. He indicted Turpin, along with Willis Connor and James Wade, who owned a politically-connected engineering firm that performed work for prospective gaming licensees, on bribery charges. That case fell apart when an Indiana court dismissed the charges based on its interpretation of Indiana's bribery statute. Newman had to settle for a plea agreement with the three on lesser charges.
What really caught every one's attention in the gaming investigation was a subpoena Newman's office issued to Bob Grand as the managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg's Indianapolis office. Newman sought billing records for a client of the firm, which was part of the gaming company that was awarded the Lawrenceburg riverboat. Peter Rusthoven of Barnes & Thornburg represented the gaming client. I suspect his relationship was tied to the gaming company's William Cellini, the powerful Illinois political broker who engineered the awarding of the first riverboat license in Illinois for Argosy. Cellini is currently facing a public trial in Chicago this summer for public corruption charges, along with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
I distinctly recall attending a fundraiser for Newman at Rick's Boatyard Cafe a short time after Newman's office issued the subpoena to Grand's firm. I recall being taken aback when Bob Grand entered the fundraiser rather late and pulled Newman aside for a lengthy conversation. The investigation of the firm's client and the Lawrenceburg riverboat license by Newman's office faded and no subsequent charges were brought. When Newman left the prosecutor's office after eight years a short time later, he emerged as a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. Later, Newman and several other local business leaders, including some Barnes & Thornburg partners and the chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, founded a new start-up company that specialized in DNA testing. Not surprisingly, the company got a jump start when it quickly won contracts with the Indiana State Police and Marion County's forensic lab.
Based on these series of events, I was not at all excited when Mayor Greg Ballard named Newman as his first public safety director. I believed that he had used his position as prosecutor to parlay a lucrative legal career for himself in a less than above board manner. Ironically, Newman is now calling on his successor to resign from office for doing the very same thing. Newman has good reason to want Brizzi to resign. His own ties to Brizzi crony John Bales are raising some eyebrows. Interestingly, it is Newman who is acting as Bales' attorney defending him against findings of an IBJ investigative report by Cory Schouten. It is Newman who Brizzi pointed out initiated what some are calling a sweetheart deal with Bales on his way out of office eight years ago to procure office space for the prosecutor's office. That deal helped launch Bales' meteoric rise in the real estate world. It also appears that Newman invested in a failed company with Brizzi, Bales and others to invest in troubled real estate assets in Florida.
Newman is currently acting as chairman of Mark Massa's GOP prosecutor campaign. While Massa has sought to distance himself from Brizzi and called on him to resign, he may want to consider his relationship with Newman. He carries the same baggage as Brizzi carries, notwithstanding the fact that he no longer works in the public sector.
Monday, April 26, 2010
It's clear Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp won't get around to investigating Stoesz' allegation. The FBI should step in and take a look at these allegations. If the recorded phone call exists, it is a serious criminal matter and another black mark on the administration of Carl Brizzi.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Democratic mayoral hopeful Brian Williams releases this new ad questioning the math being tossed around repeatedly by Mayor Greg Ballard concerning the amount of money the sale of the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy will generate for the City of Indianapolis. I don't understand why Ballard insists on using his bogus numbers, but this is the same guy who claimed the City would lose 66,000 jobs if we didn't bail out the CIB. Hat tip to IPOPA.
Debt service on Conseco is currently $13 million a year and is expected to climb to $24 million a year by 2027 when it is to be paid off according to WTHR's Mary Milz. That should give the CIB pause when it comes to offering a $15 million a year subsidy to the Pacers, but it doesn't. The CIB's Paul Okeson only wants to talk about the "$60 million economic impact" the Pacers bring to downtown. Of course, he throws in the impact of concerts and other non-Pacer events into that figure, which will still occur long after the Pacers are gone. And then there's this. Conseco has used up over half of its useful, life expectancy for the Pacers. These sports arenas are viable only for about 20 years.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Constantino's name also surfaced in the corruption investigation of former Perry Township Constable Roy Houchins. According to Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid, Constantino played a role in retrieving guns seized in a domestic dispute on behalf of the constable's office that McQuaid later traced to a dumpster. McQuaid's report suggested money had been offered in exchange for the guns. It's amazing that Constantino remained employed with the prosecutor's office until a month ago given the controversy surrounding him.
UPDATE: Fox 59's Russ McQuaid reports on a guilty plea entered against Michael Sherfick, the former deputy constable with the Perry Township Constable. He admitted in federal court to taking $30,000 in bribes for handing out deputy constable badges. His boss, Roy Houchins, dropped dead a few weeks back after leaving a southside restaurant. Houchins had faced similar charges and had been scheduled to go on trial the week he died. Early indications of the toxicology report on his death indicate he had ingested a lethal dose of drugs.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen broke this story. Indianapolis media have been silent on the issue up until now. The Star has a story online today commenting on the Sun-Times' story. It's been long understood that law enforcement in Indianapolis, including the prosecutor's office, goes out of its way to protect the professional sports team players from legal problems. Local law enforcement covered up a prescription drug fraud investigation of Colts owner Jim Irsay several years back. It usually starts with law enforcement claiming there will be no special favors for the player. The player hires high profile lawyer Jim Voyles. Months later when nobody is paying much attention the case will be dismissed or the charges reduced.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The editorial raises a good point about how the taxpayers' representative in this negotiation, Paul Okeson, seems to be negotiating against the side he is supposed to be representing. The IBJ's Anthony Schoettle has an excellent story today about the hefty price the Simons will have to pay to the CIB if it wants to move its franchise to another city. Schoettle discusses the lease agreement between the Pacers and the CIB with fellow blogger Paul Ogden, who has concluded that the agreement will require the Pacers to pay a break up fee of at least $150 million. Ogden points out that the Simons must sell the team first before it can break the lease; it simply cannot move the team to another city and retain ownership of the franchise. Forbes magazine estimates the value of the franchise at $281 million.
Instead of using the penalty provision to its full advantage in negotiations, Okeson insists on mitigating its impact. “When you peel it all back, the penalty isn’t as substantial as you might think," Okeson told the IBJ. "City officials don’t think the penalty would be big enough to impede the sale of the team to an out-of-state group, but said penalty proceeds would be enough to operate the fieldhouse without the Pacers for at least three or four years," Schoettle writes. As the Star editorial notes, Okeson's view of the situation is simply "mindboggling." Why is this man sitting at the table as our representative when he so clearly is working against our interests?
Schoettle's article goes on to discuss the bad timing of a sale of an NBA franchise. He says the number of potential buyers and interested cities is very limited. He cites sources who say the value of NBA franchises is currently in decline. Further, he notes that the CIB has a right of first refusal to purchase the franchise if the Simons elect to sell it. Observers think it highly unlikely that Herb Simon would sell the franchise on the cheap. Anyone can see that the CIB is the one holding all the cards in this negotiation. Why we're forfeiting our rights to the Simons is any one's guess.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The IBJ's Cory Schouten has broken another story of how a criminal defendant avoided prosecution in Marion County by calling on Brizzi business partner and criminal defense attorney Paul Page to make a special plea to Brizzi. Brizzi then promptly contacted his deputy prosecutor and ordered him to dismiss the charges against Page's client. Schouten says the message that is being sent loud and clear is that if you want a criminal case fixed in Marion County, then you should call Paul Page.
Next up is the approval of the deal by the Water Works Board. It is chaired by college professor and perennial congressional candidate Marvin Scott. A couple of months ago I noticed while watching one of the Board's meetings on WCTY that Scott at the end of the meeting asked the record to reflect that a vote on an earlier resolution be revised to show that he abstained from voting. He said the staff had raised a conflict of interest concern with him that he wanted to address. I asked Scott after the meeting what his conflict of interest was. Scott told me that he could not recall. He said he would get back to me with an answer. I'm still waiting for his answer.
The biggest joke on the board is lobbyist Frank Short. Short actually lobbied for the passage of the original purchase of the water company from NiSource while serving as a City-County Councilor. Short, in addition to serving as Washington Township Trustee, is currently paid to lobby for such entities as the Marion Co. Superior Courts, Marion Co. Recorder's Office, ICVA, Cash America, 21st Amendment liquor stores, Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police and the Indiana Apartment Association. Short is originally from the Chicago area and brings with him all of that baggage. Whoever decided to appoint Short to this board must have real contempt for good government.
The Water Works executive director, Matt Klein, boasted at the last meeting about all the attorneys, consultants and experts the City has hired to make the sale of the utilities possible. Klein, a former attorney for Bose McKinney who was cited in a multi-million dollar sanction handed down by Judge McKinney in the Southern District for his role in withholding critical evidence in an environmental liability case, doesn't mention that a lot of those same attorneys and consultants reviewing this deal were the same firms that made millions off the original purchase of the water company by the City. That's the deal that had the City paying about double what the utility was actually worth.
Instead of doing what makes sense economically for the City, the CIB's leadership is talking about a deal with the Simons whereby the CIB would take over the management of Conseco but still allow the Simons to pocket all of the revenues from the facility. In other words, we're going to give the Simons the same deal we gave Jim Irsay with Lucas Oil Stadium. You may recall that the state bailout of the CIB was prompted because the CIB failed to budget the additional cost of running Lucas Oil Stadium, along with the loss of revenues it had previously earned from operating the RCA Dome. Ann Lathrop, the CIB's president, claims the CIB will achieve operational efficiencies if it assumes control of Conseco, in addition to the convention center and LOS. This would be the same CIB leadership which just months ago said it was considering privatizing the operation of those facilities in an effort to save money. Sen. Luke Kenley isn't worried. He says the CIB can simply raise visitor taxes again to pay for the added cost.
All of these discussions are based on a dubious claim by the Simons that they are losing tens of millions annually under the current lease agreement. Not once during the history of this lease have the Simons been required to publicly disclose the audited financial statements for the Indiana Pacers and its entertainment affiliate. How do we know these claims of losses really exist? Further, it's time for Ann Lathrop to fully disclose all of the clients of her accounting firm, Crowe-Horwath. I have strong reason to suspect that she has major conflicts of interest that she has never disclosed to the public. Show us the list, Ann.
Meanwhile, the widow of Mel Simon has listed her Bel Air mansion for sale at $50 million. She'll need that money to pay all of the attorney fees she will face as she defends herself against the accusation of Simon's children that she manipulated her late husband while he was suffering from dementia to rewrite his will to leave her everything. The loss of the Bel Air mansion will be no big deal. Bren Simon still owns a $50 million home in Carmel and condominiums at a Colorado ski resort and Manhattan.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This guy should be fired right now. It's obvious he is all about the glitz and glamour of the job and doesn't have a clue how to run an airport. When you're spending all your time after taking a new job travelling around the world at taxpayers' expense, you can't be devoting your energies to figuring out how we're going to pay for this $1 billion-dollar airport. Revenues are plummeting as costs skyrocket. The only reason Clark was hired was because Lacy Johnson, the former President of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, demanded that an African-American be hired to run the airport. Johnson's objective is to make sure he has someone in charge who will dole out MBE contracts to firms that he and his friends control. After all, shouldn't Lacy be able to afford another Bentley?
Milz then interviews Paul Okeson, Mayor Ballard's former chief of staff who traded his city job for a high-paying job with a major city contractor, Keystone Construction. Ballard promptly appointed Okeson to the CIB. He tells Milz the City can't afford to lose the Pacers. Ergo, we must find the money to subsidize them. He tells her the City is already losing hotel revenues because of the Pacers' slump. Is that our fault? Is it our fault the team hired a bunch of thugs to play for it a few years ago who ran around town shooting off guns and generally engaging in gang-banging activities? Can they blame area residents for not purchasing expensive tickets to see their team play? I've already said it, and I will stand by it. Mayor Ballard fully intends to divert some of the money he expects the City to receive from Citizens Energy if the sale of the water and sewer utilities is carried out to pay for this new subsidy for the Simons. That's what he calls economic development. Mayor Ballard scoffed at that notion during one of his puff ball interviews with radio talk show host Abdul Hakim Shabazz this morning. We've got your number, Greg. You have lied to us so many times you don't deserve the benefit of the doubt on this one. You're only interested in getting your free courtside tickets to the Pacers games. You could give a damn less about the taxpayers who foot the bill for your excesses.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Through months of committee meetings, presentations and debates on the trash proposals, the waste management district used the Indianapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg to help analyze the companies proposing to consolidate county trash processing.Here's what Chase had to say about Pannos' role in the deal (check out the photo in Chase's story of the the lake-front mansion owned by Pannos):
Powers, the winning bidder, acknowledges that same law firm represented his business interests for about 18 years prior to making his Lake County trash processing bid, including work to incorporate his financial firm, World Net Capital 1 LLC.
Langbehn said the county used Barnes & Thornburg as an additional set of legal eyes to complement the waste district's own attorney, Clifford Duggan. The county also hired a Wisconsin-based engineering firm and a separate consultant to analyze the financial plans and proposals of the three bidding companies.
"We stayed away from any conflict that anybody might have by not hiring anybody locally who might lean towards different people," Langbehn said. "We told Earl (Powers) this had to be the most honest thing he has ever done because this is Lake County, Ind. We set the standards right away."
During his second presentation to the full Lake County Solid Waste Management District board, Powers divulged that Barnes & Thornburg had served as his attorney.
Because the relationship was disclosed, no state ethics rules were violated, said Seth Pruden, interim executive secretary for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
Representatives from Barnes & Thornburg did not return calls from The Times seeking comment on the matter.
In a recent interview with The Times, Powers said he severed ties with the law firm six or seven months prior to signing a contract with the county. That contract was approved by the waste management district board in November 2008, more than a year after Powers disclosed his connection to Barnes & Thornburg to the board.
Both Powers and Langbehn deny that Powers Energy received any preferential treatment in the bidding process because of the connection between the district and Powers' company to Barnes & Thornburg.
Langbehn noted that Powers' specific attorney -- though within the same firm -- did not perform any of the legal work for the county.
Though very little was made of the Barnes & Thornburg connection throughout the bidding process, county officials concede that ties between the trash-to-ethanol plans and a well-known region political and business figure raised some eyebrows.
In a November 2009 interview with The Times, Powers said Northwest Indiana lawyer Michael Pannos did legal work to help secure the site in Schneider -- a small southern Lake County town -- where the trash-to-ethanol plant is to be built.
It was a revelation that sparked speculation throughout Lake County political circles that Pannos, a former Indiana Democratic Party chairman, had a financial stake in the trash-to-ethanol plan -- a contention Langbehn, Scheub and Powers all deny.
Repeated attempts by The Times to reach Pannos at his Merrillville home and by phone were unsuccessful.
In an unrelated matter, the Indiana attorney general and city of East Chicago have been locked in a legal battle with Pannos and fellow political insider Thomas Cappas, alleging they have reaped "enormous" salaries while at the helm of East Chicago Second Century Inc. The for-profit firm is accused of squandering millions in local casino revenue it received under an agreement brokered by the administration of former Mayor Robert Pastrick.
In a more recent interview with The Times, Powers acknowledged Pannos worked as a lawyer for a Merrillville financial firm that Powers was trying to use to aid in the financing of the Schneider trash-to-ethanol plant. However, he said the firm failed to deliver, and he severed ties with the company.
The questions came after The Times learned that Pannos had entertained Powers at Pannos' Culver, Ind., lake home sometime in mid-2009. Powers and Scheub both acknowledge that, during that visit, Pannos and Powers also visited Scheub at the commissioner's nearby Culver farm property.
"That was the first time I knew Mike Pannos had anything to do with this -- when Earl stopped by my house with him," Scheub said.
Following Pannos' name association with Powers' efforts, Langbehn said county officials told Powers he could not involve Pannos in any way with the project.
"Earl (Powers) was told on no uncertain terms Mike Pannos will have nothing to do with it," Langbehn said. "I don't care how far removed it is."
Langbehn, who in addition to Scheub remains one of the most staunch government supporters for the trash-to-ethanol plant, acknowledges his own ties with Pannos.
Langbehn described Pannos as among his "best of friends." Langbehn is godfather to Pannos' daughter, and the men's wives also are close friends, Langbehn said.
In an Aug. 21, 2008, district board meeting, Langbehn also revealed to the board that he had become aware of connections between Pannos' cousin and the second trash-to-ethanol bidder, Indiana Ethanol, the company Powers was affiliated with when he first spoke to Scheub about bringing such a plant to Lake County. Langbehn disclosed he had learned that the Pannos' cousin was an investor with Indiana Ethanol.
But Langbehn said none of those affiliations matters, and he dubbed those who attempt to link Pannos with the trash-to-ethanol project as sabotaging naysayers.
"You can spin anything negative on anything you want," Langbehn said. "If anyone had a problem with this plan, they had board meetings over a 3 1/2-year period in which they could have stepped forward and addressed these concerns."
Brown: Indianapolis Fire Department
Day: State of Indiana
Lewis: Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
Mahern, B.: State of Indiana
Mahern, D.: City of Indianapolis
Malone: State of Indiana
Minton-McNeill: Indianapolis Public Schools
Moriarity-Adams: Marion County Assessor
Nytes: Mapleton-Fall Creek CDC
Councilors are required to dislose the source of any gift of $100 or more or aggregate gifts during the year of $250 or more. Note that most councilors did not disclose the value of the gifts. The only thing we can conclude from their filings is that the gift was for more than $100 or there were combined gifts during the year of $250 or more. Most of the gifts involved sporting event tickets or dinners. Here's a look at some of the gift givers and who they were gifting:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Caine, Cardwell, Coleman, Day, Hunter, Lewis, Lutz, Mahern, B., Mahern D., McHenry, McQuillen, Moriarty-Adams, Nytes, Pfisterer and Speedy.
Pacers: Cardwell, Cochrum, Day, Hunter, McHenry, McQuillen and Vaughn.
Colts: Cochrum, Hunter, Lutz, McQuillen and Nytes.
IPL: Caine, Cardwell, Coleman, Hunter, Lutz, Scales and Vaughn.
Indianapolis Airport Authority: Cardwell, Cochrum, Day, Hunter and Sanders.
Hunt Construction: Bateman, Lewis, Mahern, B. and Mahern, Dane.
Capital Improvement Board: Cochrum and McHenry
Citizens Energy: Hunter, Lutz and Moriarity-Adams.
AT&T: Cain, McHenry and Moriarity-Adams.
ICVA: Cardwell & Vaughn
Short Strategies: Lutz and Vaughn
United Consulting: Hunter
United Water: McHenry, Moriarity-Adams and Pfisterer.
Mayor Greg Ballard: McHenry, Scales and Vaughn.
Keystone Construction: McQuillen
Milestone Construction: Hunter
R.W. Armstrong: Cochrum
Mays Chemical: Lewis
French Lick Resort: Cochrum
A number of councilors also have an interest in businesses that solicit or do business with the City of Indianapolis. Those include:
Cardwell: Cardwell Do It Best Home Center
Lutz: Legal services for the City of Indianapolis
Nytes: Printing Partners, Inc.
Oliver: Oliver Janitorial Services
Smith: RBS Consulting (contract with the Department of Workforce Development)
Vaughn: Barnes & Thornburg legal services for City of Indianapolis
Friday, April 09, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid has another shocking story from the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office. His latest story tells how Carl Brizzi cut a deal with an accused rapist that allowed him to get off with a mere misdemeanor charge. The accused rapist is an employee of Paul Page, a business partner of Brizzi's. Amy Lindsey, the victim in this case, believes Brizzi sold her out.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Councilor Robert Cockrum represents the affected residents. He sided with the landfill's owners. The MDC voted 5-3 in favor of the zoning variance. Remonstrators pointed out to the Commission numerous misrepresentations made by the Petitioner's attorney, Mary Solada, a local zoning attorney known for her ruthlessness in pursuing zoning law changes. The case points up the total disregard the unelected MDC members have towards the comprehensive plan that is supposed to protect landowners from such unintended uses of their property.
Seeking to put distance between himself and Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, GOP prosecutor candidate Mark Massa outlined a series of ethics reforms he will implement if he is elected prosecutor. At a press conference this morning, Massa called on Brizzi to resign his office. "I'm very concerned about what reports like this do to public confidence," he told the Star. "Very simply, you cannot have a prosecutor taking a 50-percent interest with no money down on a $1 million office building (in a deal with) a defense attorney." "This is not simply an academic question. We're starting to see the consequences of this in court," Massa said,
The ethics reform plan outlined by Massa includes:
- Creating and overseeing a Public Integrity Unit within the Prosecutor’s office (Massa is a former federal prosecutor).
- Establishing a hotline at Grand Jury Division to report malfeasance by public employees or officials and aggressively prosecute it if/when found.
- Working with Mayor and City-County Council to make Prosecutor’s office subject to the county ethics ordinance, like all other city and county offices (Marion County Prosecutor’s Office currently exempt.)
- Will not have any outside business interests.
- Will not serve on boards of for-profit companies.
- Will not allow deputy prosecutors to pursue outside employment without authorization.
- Will not accept gifts of any kind as Prosecutor.
UPDATE: Brizzi reacted angrily to Massa's call for his resignation, calling it a "political stunt." He vowed to stay and fight the bad guys until his term expires. It's about time the Indiana Supreme Court stepped in and used its authority to discipline attorneys who misbehave and take appropriate action against Brizzi. How can they expect us to respect our criminal justice system with Brizzi acting as the state's top prosecutor?
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
McQuaid confirms my earlier report that Mobarecki's customers included some prominent professional athletes. He also notes that a local high school coach was one of Mobarecki's customers as well. If you check Brizzi's campaign finance records, you will discover that one of his largest campaign contributors is a prominent plastic surgeon who wrote prescriptions for pain killers to Colts owner Jim Irsay. Brizzi swept that investigation under the rug several years ago in order to protect Irsay. Irsay had an addiction to prescription drugs and several local doctors were writing prescriptions for him knowing that he had an addiction. Irsay had to be treated for drug overdoses on several occasions.
Mayor Ballard appeared on the Morning Show with WIBC's Terri Stacy and Steve Simpson this morning. Ballard used the opportunity to promote his tax, spend and borrow bailout of the CIB as the reason our city was able to host a Final Four this weekend. Naturally, Stacy and Simpson threw only softball questions to the mayor. Ballard likes to brag about how transparent his administration is. Let's get a full accounting of just who all got those Final Four tickets doled out by his office, the Indiana Sports Corporation and the Indiana Convention & Visitors Association. Our taxpayer dollars were used to purchase those tickets. Let's see who got them.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
According to a police source, I learned more than a year ago that police were wanting to investigate Mobarecki's customer list. Police believed that Mobarecki had been selling the steroids to some prominent professional athletes in the area. Brizzi wanted the case killed to keep the identities of those prominent professional athletes confidential. I believe that was his real motivation for the plea deal with Mobarecki as opposed to his business ties to Paul Page. In the end, Mobarecki only served two days in jail and paid $365 in fines.
Professor Henry Karlson tells Schouten the plea deal violated three basic rules of the Prosecutor's Office. "Typically, plea deals in drug cases keep the most serious felony charge, not the least, Karlson told Schouten. "Defense attorneys usually deal with trial attorneys and not the elected prosecutor." "And most major drug cases lead to substantial forfeiture actions—including cars, homes and cash." “That appears to be a very good plea bargain—the kind of plea bargain lawyers dream about,” Karlson said. “It appears to be a very unusual case with a very unusual plea bargain carried out in a very unusual manner.”
Schouten found two other serious criminal cases where special deals were worked out for defendants represented by attorneys with close ties to Brizzi. An accused rapist who worked for Paul Page and was represented by him copped a plea agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to criminal confinement and serve 365 days on home detention. In another case, Brizzi agreed to modify a felony murder conviction for a man represented by Bruce Donaldson of Barnes & Thornburg. Under the modification, the defendant won a 45-year sentence reduction, allowing him to go free after serving only 10 years of his original 55-year sentence. Then there is also the Harrison Epperly case where Epperly made tens of thousands of dollars of contributions to Brizzi and then won a major sentence reduction for Epperly's daughter, who had hired someone to murder her husband.
I don't know how much more the Marion County Republicans are going to stand by as the slime continues to roll out of Brizzi's office. It's time for the leadership to demand his resignation. He has forfeited his right to hold this public office.