Friday, July 31, 2015

RIP Lynn Anderson

Country music star Lynn Anderson, best known for signature song, "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," died at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee last night. The Grammy Award-winning, 67-year old singer had been hospitalized with pneumonia following a recent trip to Italy. Anderson had been battling alcoholism with several drunk driving arrests during the past few years. More recently, she had been devoting her time to her love of horses. She was an accomplished horse breeder and equestrian who promoted therapeutic horse riding programs for disabled and troubled children.

Cameron's One Direction Boys In Town Tonight

The Gannett-owned Star is excited about tonight's concert  at Lucas Oil Stadium featuring British boy band, One Direction, minus Zayn Malik. British Prime Minister David Cameron had a cameo role with his boys in their video re-make of Blondie's hit song, "One Way Or Another." With so much in the British news about the country's VIP Pedophile ring, it seemed only fitting to show Cameron enjoying his groomed boys. The song's lyrics are fitting.

Prominent Evansville Businessman Has Bagged His Share Of Big Game On African Hunting Safaris

Steven E. Chancellor pictured with one of his lion kills in Botswana

The American media has been abuzz about the adventures of an American dentist who bagged a beloved 13-year old lion, Cecil, during an expensive hunting safari to Zimbabwe. Much closer to home, one of Indiana's most prominent businessman has landed more than his share of big game on safaris he's taken to Africa and elsewhere. Steven E. Chancellor's sprawling Evansville mansion where he hosts presidential candidates and other politicians for high-dollar political fundraising events has been described by his guests as a virtual museum for all of the exotic game he's killed. But you don't have to visit the American Patriot Group's CEO's Evansville home for proof of his big game hunting prowess. Photos of his kills and a personal testimony can be found on Rann Safaris website. "My lion hunt with Rann Safaris in Botswana was beyond my expectations," Chancellor is quoted as saying. "Jeff Rann, my professional hunter and I saw many mature lions during our lion hunt. It was a unique and wonderful experience. A memorable hunt," Chancellor is quoted as saying. Thank you Jeff."

Believe it or not, Chancellor's big game exploits became the topic of a 2001 news story in the Chicago Tribune. Chancellor was using his political muscle at the time to try to get the Botswana government to lift its ban on lion hunting. He added muscle to his lobbying efforts with letters of recommendation from his good friends, including former President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. All four men were described as being members of Safari Club International, an advocacy group that promoted big game hunting around the world. The group was accused of offering a Las Vegas trip and other offerings to Botswana's president at the time to win favor. "Your millionaires are anxious to shoot our lions," said a senior government official in Botswana, which imposed the one-year hunting ban in February to assess the health of its big cat populations. "They've got these political blokes to back them up."

Hogsett Now Running As Anti-Establishment, Outsider Candidate

The consummate political insider, Joe Hogsett, has a new message for Indianapolis voters. He's promising to "refuse the perks and gifts" that seem to come with the office--an apparent reference to Advance Indiana's exclusive reporting about how Mayor Greg Ballard accepted memberships in private country clubs worth tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to free tickets to sporting events and concerts. "I won't change the car I drive to work in," he says. Indianapolis' mayor is provided with 24x7 security, which includes a city-furnished car driven by the mayor's security detail. "And I'll take on the downtown insiders who cheat the system and steal your tax dollars," he declares, borrowing our own campaign slogan. He tells us he's "never forgotten where I come from." I can only hope he's being honest about his intentions, but call me skeptical if I can't see him biting the hand that has fed him so well over the past three decades.

Indiana Paying Nearly $25,000 Per Job For Austrian Company To Create Up To 167 Spam Tech Jobs In Indianapolis

Businesses which feed off the public trough no matter what part of the world they're from know that when it comes to handing out public subsidies, it's pretty hard to beat the Hoosier State. Gov. Mike Pence proudly announced he's offering up to $4 million in state economic development incentives to an Austrian company offering spam e-mail services much like ExactTarget to create up to 167 jobs in Indianapolis by 2020, which translates into nearly $25,000 per job. In fact, a former vice president of ExactTarget, Sean Brady, has become president of North American operations for this company.

The company called Emarsys is locating its offices on the 13th floor of Market Tower, which is the same building where the offices of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Sen. Dan Coats are located. Don't underestimate the power of the number 13. The company plans to spend about $3 million building out its tenant space at the downtown office tower. The Indianapolis Star's John Russell, who will be leaving his job shortly for a new job at the Chicago Tribune, characterizes today's announcement as "a move likely to boost Indiana's reputation as a hot bed for digital technology marketing." He even refers to Indianapolis as the "Silicon Valley of the Midwest." Actually, it's a better known as the nation's capital for operating Ponzi schemes, but let's not talk about that when there is good news to be cheered.

Gov. Pence couldn't hide his enthusiasm at the opportunity to sling more of your tax dollars into the pockets of private business.  "We continue to see a surge of tech firms like Emarsys choosing to bring quality, great paying jobs to Indiana," he said in a statement. “As a regional hub for technical and engineering innovation, Indiana is attracting companies that are looking for the skilled and dedicated workforce needed to grow their businesses." No, we're attracting companies who like Indiana's anti-labor work laws and it's reputation for subsidizing businesses to operate here no matter how unethically they operate or how poorly they treat their employees.

Speaking of Ponzi schemes, a New York-based hedge firm, TCS Capital Management, has filed paperwork with the SEC confirming it has taken a 5.4% stake in Angie's List and is trying to position it for sale. So once again, you're going to see an effort made to dump the company, its debt and 20-year history of never turning an investment off on to another group of unsuspecting investors. Wall Street is run by nothing but a bunch of fraudsters who aren't interested in creating jobs and security for American workers and honest returns on investments for innocent investors; rather, they are only interested in the "churn and burn" world of high finance where shady deals are constantly been conjured up to build wealth for a group of elitist insiders at the expense of the rest of us.

Media More Interested In George McGovern's Illegitimate Child's Birth Certificate Than President Obama's True Origins

Sen. George McGovern (1968 AP Photo)
These sideshows to which we're treated from time to time by our mainstream media would be laughable if not for the more serious truths they keep buried from the American people that are far more consequential--such as who are the real parents of Barack Obama and just where the hell did he really come from. A forthcoming book on the life of George McGovern, who died in 2012, has reignited mainstream media interest in learning the identity of an illegitimate child McGovern, the son of a Methodist member, fathered when he was 18 years old after losing his virginity in 1940. Although the identity of the mother and illegitimate daughter have never been publicly identified, the fact she was born and lived somewhere in Indiana has long been known by people who made it their business to know about such matters.

The Washington Post's Justin Moyer's story carries the headline, "In confession to historian, George McGovern revealed he had a secret child." Thomas Knock, a history professor at Southern Methodist University, has a biography on McGovern coming out in which he says McGovern confessed to him he had fathered an illegitimate child as an 18-year old freshman at Dakota Wesleyan University during a trip to Lake Mitchell in December 1940 where he got the daughter's mother pregnant. McGovern went on to become a decorated World War II pilot, served in the administration of John F. Kennedy and became a leading liberal in the U.S. Senate who lost the 1972 presidential race to Richard Nixon in a landslide election. He was swept out of office in 1980 when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in a landslide election. He tried to re-enter politics in 1984 when he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination.

McGovern told Knock the mother of his illegitimate daughter had reacted very calmly to the ordeal. She moved to Indiana to live with her older sister and brother-in-law where she gave birth to a daughter, which gave rise to the so-called "Fort Wayne story" that would haunt McGovern the rest of his life. Fort Wayne is where the mother and daughter supposedly lived, although that may be in doubt as discussed below. The mother is also now dead, but Knock has no reason to believe the illegitimate daughter is not still alive. He identifies neither in his upcoming book. What is known is that McGovern eventually met his daughter and brought her gifts. The extent of their relationship over the years or what the daughter thought of McGovern is unclear. McGovern married and had five children of his own and reportedly confessed to his wife the daughter's existence in the 1970s. He made no mention of it in his autobiography, likely out of respect to his wife.

In politics, it's hard to keep such matters a secret. Richard Nixon's White House dirty tricks operatives knew about the illegitimate daughter. Although the issue was not raised during the 1972 presidential election, White House aide H.R. Haldeman had proposed in a memo after the Watergate scandal began consuming the Nixon White House to leak the story to the media in an effort to show that Nixon knew about the story during the campaign but had not brought it up during the presidential campaign because he wanted to run a clean campaign, which history has demonstrated was anything but true. The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote about the Haldeman memo in an August 1973 story during the Watergate hearings.

Woodward and Bernstein looked into the story at the time. McGovern told the two young reporters there was a birth certificate in Fort Wayne, Indiana listing him as the father of a young woman, but he denied he was the actual father. The two reporters said they confirmed the existence of the birth certificate and had contacted the birth mother, who denied McGovern was the father of her child. Later stories emerged indicating that McGovern's name had been removed from the birth certificate but an Indiana court refused to release a copy of the birth certificate. How Nixon's operatives learned about the story was unclear, but The Post theorized he learned about it from J. Edgar Hoover's FBI because McGovern's illegitimate child surfaced during a background investigation in 1960 when he was under consideration for a position in the Kennedy administration. According to his FBI file, McGovern did not offer a confirmation or denial regarding the allegation. The Post assumed Nixon never raised the issue during the 1972 campaign because leaked reports of Sen. Tom Eagleton's mental health problems, which forced him off the ticket with McGovern, negated the need to use the story.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's Jeff Wiehe has a story as well today looking more closely at the Indiana angle. According to Wiehe, the news director of WANE-TV in Fort Wayne had been tipped off at the time McGovern was making a political appearance in the city during the 1972 presidential campaign that he had an illegitimate daughter living there that he might be visiting during the campaign stop. Ken Kurtz told Wiehe that McGovern was already headed out of town by the time he got the tip, and they were never able to track the story down. Kurtz speculated that the station owner's cozy relationship with local Republicans is what led to his news team being offered the tip at the time.

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel's William Ferguson had more luck with the story. He tracked down the mother's name and even came up with a birth certificate, but the father's name was missing. Ferguson and lawyers for the News-Sentinel claimed the father's name had been illegally removed from the birth certificate. In August 1973, lawyers for the newspaper obtained a court order from a pro tem judge in Allen County, John Rogers, to obtain a copy of the birth record on file with the Indiana Department of Health. The state department fought the release of the order at the time. Wiehe says it's unclear what happened to the birth certificate or whether Ferguson was ever shown the birth certificate. Rogers, who is still practicing law in Fort Wayne, claims to have no memory of issuing the original order for the release of the birth certificate. Yeah, right. Birth certificates are no longer public records in Indiana open to anyone.

Wiehe notes a memoir of a former Democratic presidential campaign operative, Ted Van Dyke, claimed that he had been told by a Terre Haute mayor in 1972 that a man with a Senate badge had come to the record's bureau in the city and taken a copy of a birth certificate pertaining to McGovern's illegitimate daughter. Van Dyke's memoir claimed McGovern had acknowledged the daughter's existence and placed her and her mother in Terre Haute. At the time of the presidential campaign in 1972, the mother was supposedly living in Portland, Oregon. McGovern's campaign had received an anonymous call claiming the story would run the following day in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. That's when McGovern supposedly told his wife about the daughter for the first time and also telephoned her mother in Portland according to Van Dyke. As it turned out, the story never ran.

So after a couple of more head fakes, you learn really nothing more than what has already been written before about a dead senator's illegitimate daughter. You still don't know the names of the mother or daughter, if you cared to know. Personally, I'm more interested in knowing why Barack Obama's birth certificate in Hawaii was forged. I want to know why it falsely claims his father is some guy from Kenya. I want to know why the Hawaii Health Department Director who presented that forged birth certificate to the public was murdered. I want to know why we are told so many lies about our president's family background, including the fact he was raised by operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency. I want to know if his actual mother is a Jewish woman from New York who is still alive. I want to know if she's the same woman, who while using an assumed name, was a part of the same network of agent provocateurs like Bill Ayers who were hired by the CIA to set off bombs at government buildings. I want to know why the entire mainstream media haven't  a care in the world that access to all of Obama's records of relevant note are under lock and seal, but thinks we should know everything about a dead senator's illegitimate daughter. Because the mystery that lays in hiding behind all of those questions will reveal to the American people what their government has really become today.

UPDATED: I neglected to point out in my original report that it was the Gannett-owned Argus-Leader in South Dakota that got the ball rolling on this story. Gannett's corporate leaders take their orders from their CIA bosses in Langley, Virginia.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Star Wants You To Believe City's Credit Rating Is In Jeopardy If Public Safety Tax Increase Revenues Are Used As Intended

Indianapolis residents began paying 10% more in local income taxes in January thanks to a tax increase enacted by the City-County Council and signed into law by Mayor Greg Ballard last year. As Advance Indiana warned you at the time, Mayor Ballard had no intention of using the money for public safety just like he failed to use the money raised from the 65% increase in the local income tax enacted the year prior to him becoming mayor that was supposed to allow IMPD to hired hundreds of more police officers. What we learned well into Ballard's second term is that there were actually fewer, not more police officers patrolling the streets last year than the year Ballard took office.

Throughout Ballard's two terms in office, hundreds of millions of property tax dollars have been diverted into the downtown TIF "slush fund," which Mayor Ballard has used for real estate development projects awarded to his political cronies. Ballard and the council agreed to divert about $6.8 million from the City's fiscal stability fund last year to shore up public safety spending. This is a "rainy day" day fund of sorts the City has created to cover spending when revenues are tight. Someone set a target balance of $80 million for that fund, which is just that. This artificial number has been conflated by Ballard's folks as a balance that must be maintained in that specific fund at all times to avoid a lowering of the City's bond rating. In actuality, bond rating agencies look at all city sources, not just that one fund balance, in assessing the City's credit worthiness.

When the Mayor and the Council transferred $6.8 million out of the fiscal stability fund, it could have just as easily taken the money from the downtown TIF slush fund, which Ballard taps as a matter of convenience whenever he pleases. Missing from a story by the Indianapolis Star's Brian Eason discussing the current debate between the Mayor's office and the council over the repayment of that $6.8 million to the fiscal stability fund is the $6 million Mayor Ballard unilaterally and illegally removed from the City's parking meter fund to pay for the electric charging stations for the privately-run Blue Indy car sharing service after he decided to award an illegal monopoly business enterprise to the French company that has been permitted to appropriate hundreds of the City's most valuable parking spaces, a move that will result in an untold loss of city revenues for years to come. The Indianapolis Star is totally down with all the laws Ballard broke to push forward the Blue Indy initiative because it thinks the City having an electric car sharing service only visitors to the city are likely to use is really cool.

The debate really centers around Ballard's agitation with the council in overriding a veto he made earlier this year to appropriate more money to purchase new police cars, equipment and other police needs. Mayor Ballard unilaterally decided to repay the entire amount of the money to the fiscal stability fund this year after that council override, effectively making it impossible to spend the money the council appropriated for IMPD. In Mayor Ballard's view, he's a dictator and the council only serves an advisory role. If he doesn't like what the council enacts into law, he can simply do what he damn well pleases, the law be damned. Unfortunately, the Indianapolis Star always sides with the mayor in these debates because it is for all intents and purposes a co-conspirator, aiding and abetting the corrupt mayor in the theft of our public assets for the benefit of his political cronies. So take whatever you read about Ballard's contentions in Eason's story that the city's credit rating is at risk because of the council's actions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Police Body Camera Used As Evidence To Indict Cincinnati Police Officer On Murder Charge

It was a routine traffic stop for a 25-year old University of Cincinnati police officer ten days ago. Officer Ray Tensing stopped a car driven by Samuel DuBose because the car lacked a license plate on the front of the car (Ohio, unlike Indiana, requires license plates be displayed both on the front and rear of a vehicle). The conversation between Officer Tensing and DuBose as captured by the officer's body camera was very non-confrontational. The problem arose when DuBose was unable to produce his driver's license.

DuBose, growing agitated and believing he did nothing wrong, starts his engine rather than exiting the car as Tensing requested he do. Fearing DuBose was going to flee, Tensing appears to reach into the car, at which point DuBose appears to put the vehicle in drive. Officer Tensing's gun can be seen pointed at DuBose and fires as the vehicle begins to accelerate. Tensing is thrown to the ground as DuBose's car appears to speed away. His foot may have actually been stuck on the accelerator as DuBose suffered a fatal headshot wound, which likely killed him instantly.

Today, the Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Joe Deters shocked the public when he announced a grand jury had returned an indictment for murder against Officer Tensing. Deters' office released a full, unedited video of the traffic stop, including the shooting and the aftermath, as captured by Officer Tensing's body camera. The full video can be viewed below. It includes very graphic scenes so please view with caution.

Tensing claimed he fired at DuBose because he feared he was going to run him over. Tensing is clearly thrown to the ground as DuBose's car speeds away, but it doesn't appear to show him in any danger of being run over by DuBose's vehicle. DuBose's vehicle traveled nearly a block down the street before crashing and coming to a stop. Tensing's video shows DuBose slumped over the driver's seat with blood splattered inside the car from the gunshot wound. Another officer near the scene appeared to support Tensing's account, but the grand jury obviously wasn't convinced and chose to indict the police officer for murder. Tensing is the first Cincinnati police officer charged for murdering a person while in the line of duty. 

UPDATE: I see that the actual charges filed by the prosecutor includes a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, in addition to the first degree murder charge. That's a charge that's more likely to stick with a jury.

WIBC Talk Radio Show Host Still Reaching For The Bottom

Who can forget this tweet from the past:

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz@AttyAbdul 20h Guys came by & offered to shovel snow for $20. English wasn't their 1st language. I offered $10 and promise not to call INS. America rocks!

TMZ Calls Out Mayor McDermott Hypocrisy On Rapper Chief Keef

Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott made headlines last weekend when he put a stop to an appearance at last weekend's Festival of the Lakes concert by the controversial rapper, Chief Keef---by hologram. “I know nothing about Chief Keef,” [Hammond] Mayor [Thomas M.] McDermott [Jr.], 46, said. “All I’d heard was he has a lot of songs about gangs and shooting people — a history that’s anti-cop, pro-gang and pro-drug use. He’s been basically outlawed in Chicago, and we’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door.” Some like TMZ are now calling out Mayor McDermott for his obvious hypocrisy since he had no problem boasting on his Twitter account how he was throwing down with another controversial rapper, 2 Chainz, who actually performed at last weekend's concert.
Advance Indiana wonders why Mayor McDermott has no problem with some of 2 Chainz' rap songs and, in particular, his music video for "I'm Different" where a police officer is depicted being held with a gun to his head for making a traffic stop.

Pence Names Democrat Diamond Jim Schellinger As President Of Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Jim Schellinger Named IEDC President
Jim Schellinger
Gov. Mike Pence today named one of the Democrats leading honey money boys, Diamond Jim Schellinger, as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Schellinger, of course, runs CSO Architects, one of those engineering firms that feast at the government trough by filling the politicians' campaign wallets with fat checks in exchange for no-bid contracts on government projects. Schellinger, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor in 2008, has personally contributed over $200,000 over the years, almost exclusively to Democratic candidates, while CSO Architects has contributed over $80,000 to campaigns and candidates of all political stripes. This is how Pence puts lipstick on this pig of an appointment:
“Since day one, our administration has prioritized establishing Indiana as the best state in the nation for job creation. To do this, we need a top-notch team at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and Jim Schellinger is the right man at the right time to lead the organization,” said Governor Pence. “Already this year, Hoosier companies have committed to creating more than 15,000 new jobs in the coming years with salaries well above the state’s current average. I am confident that Jim, with his unmatched business leadership experience, will continue to build on this progress and attract both national and international recognition and investment in the Hoosier State.”
It's time to throw in the towel and declare Mike Pence's political career over. I don't think the guy has a moral compass guiding him at all in his decisions anymore, if he ever did have one. He said he had this big announcement to make today and now that we know what it is we can conclude nothing but the worst of what this man could possibly offer the state if given another four years in office.

Steve Carter Earned More Money From Part-Time, No Bid Contract Than He Did While Serving As Attorney General

Advance Indiana has discussed previously a generous, no-bid contract Attorney General Greg Zoeller awarded to his predecessor, Steve Carter, that allows him to earn more money for part-time work than he made as Attorney General. The Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly had an item in her Political Notebook the other day reminding the state's voters of this as Carter announced he will seek to re-claim the office he gave up to his chief deputy, who has instead chosen to seek election to Indiana's open 9th congressional district.
Current Attorney General Greg Zoeller has decided to run for Congress in the 9th District. Logistically, if he would lose in the May primary he could possibly still meet the deadline to sign up to run for attorney general in the 2016 Republican nominating convention.
Carter recently sent an email to potential GOP supporters to gauge support, but said he doesn't have a timeline for making a decision.
Since he left office, he has been working privately. Much of that work has been for the Indiana Attorney General's Office -- via contracts to help with a case affecting payments Indiana gets from the tobacco master settlement.
According to the Indiana Auditor's Office, Carter was paid $146,600 in 2014, $107,078 in 2013 and $150,900 in 2012. Altogether in the last five years, he has earned more than $500,000 from the state. He has had no payments this year.
In comparison, Zoeller's current annual salary is $92,503.
Kelly makes a good point about the possibility Carter is only seeking the AG's office as a placeholder for Zoeller in the event Zoeller loses the 9th congressional district primary race. He could step aside and allow Zoeller to run for re-election as Attorney General since the filing deadline for the state convention does not occur until after next year's May primary election. Political observers will recall that Carter pretended to be running for re-election as Attorney General in 2008 before bowing out less than three months before the state convention and throwing his support to Zoeller. History tells us these two men cannot be trusted.

If Only A Gannett Reporter Could Be As Outraged By Hillary Clinton As They Are Tom Brady

The Gannett folks at the Indianapolis Star have been waiting with bated breath to see Patriots quarterback Tom Brady burned at the stake over allegations he ordered footballs used in games, including the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, deflated to gain an advantage.

Sports columnist Gregg Doyel, whose columns get far more play by the newspaper than any substantive news story that might impact your life directly ever received, unleashed on the verdict for Brady, including news he had destroyed his cell phone. And boy did he unleash.

Doyel called Brady a "cheater." Not strong enough. He called him a "liar." Still not good enough. "He's a man of low integrity," Doyel proclaimed. The cell phone destruction, though, sent him over the edge. "But that revelation that Brady had destroyed his cell phone before his interview with Ted Wells makes it clear what species, what kind of cretin, we're looking at," Doyel declared.

It's funny that I don't recall any Gannett reporter becoming that exercised when it was learned earlier this year that Hillary Clinton wiped clean the computer server in her home on which she had illegally stored, received and sent classified e-mails while serving as our nation's Secretary of State. If Tom Brady is "a man of low integrity" and a "cretin" because of "deflategate," where does that leave Hillary Clinton and her "Benghazigate."

Does her exclamation, "What difference does it make," register any words of condemnation from anyone at Gannett? I, mean, hey, she only sat back and watched snuff films of Ambassador Chris Stevens being dragged from his consular post, raped, tortured and killed by ISIS thugs she and the administration in which she served helped train, arm and fund to create mayhem in Libya, Syria, Iraq and the rest of the world. It's all just a game, though, for our viewing pleasure, right?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two More Star Veterans Flee Gannett

No self-respecting journalist could work for the Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star and so it comes as no surprise that two of the newspaper's more veteran employees would flee the sinking ship for dry ground. Former Star columnist and blogger Ruth Holladay has the scoop on the award-winning investigative reporter John Russell departing The Star for a new job at the Chicago Tribune. Russell had the excellent series exposing the highly-unethical relationships between IURC officials and Duke Energy executives. She also says Jeff Herman, a copy desk chief from the days The Star still had someone with that title, is headed to Austin, Texas where he will start a new job as a web editor for an IT company.

Holladay is promising more about what is wrong with Gannett in an upcoming post. Speaking of what is wrong with Gannett, did you catch the belated story the newspaper's Hamilton County beat reporter, Chris Sikich, wrote about the fact that Westfield Mayor Andy Cook's family business has failed for the second time in six years and is scheduled for a sheriff's sale next month? Only a Gannett reporter could put lipstick on that pig and Sikich found a way to do it. Read it to believe it. The Star knew all about Mayor Cook's financial woes and nearly $1 million in unpaid tax liens but said nothing about it before this year's municipal primary election, which is the general election in Hamilton County. The media seems similarly disinterested in a legion of complaints made by ex-employees of Cook's Hoosier Tradewinds trucking firm. And what "big scoop" is Star political columnist Matt Tully talking about? Advance Indiana reported this story almost a week ago. Who do you think you're fooling, Matt?
Big hat tip to the observant reader. The Star's grossly-incompetent president and executive publisher, Karen Ferguson, formerly known as Karen Crotchfelt (no pun intended) before she dumped her husband shortly after she moved to Indianapolis and started dating Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson, is now Karen Ferguson Fuson. Does that make her Fuson's fourth or fifth wife?

The Tyler's Owner Once Named One Of New York's Ten Worst Landlords

Neil Rubler (Zachary Kussin Photo)
Five years ago The Village Voice set out to identify and write about New York's ten worst landlords. Making the list was Neil Rubler, a young real estate magnate whose New York-based company acquired the Indianapolis apartment building on Indiana Avenue near the IUPUI campus where a shootout took place between IMPD officers and several persons this past weekend after police were called by on-site security officers to gain control of a rowdy party in one of the building's apartments. Five persons were treated at area hospitals for gunshot injuries from the gunfire exchange early Sunday morning. Rubler's Candebrook Properties acquired The Tyler last year from West Lafayette-based Trinitas Ventures as part of a $230 million acquisition of student-related housing projects Trinitas owned in several states.

According to the Village Voice article, Rubler got his start in the real estate business by marrying into the Olnick real estate family where he became a top executive. Rubler established Vantage Properties in 2005, which scooped up about 9,000 mostly rent-controlled apartments scattered among 130 properties around New York City. Rubler boasted to investors that he planned to do for real estate what Wal-Mart had done for the retail industry. He promised investors a 20% turnover rate in his apartments, a difficult goal to achieve given that average turnover rate for rent-controlled apartments in New York at the time was just 5.6%. By simply turning over tenants, Vantage could increase rental rates at least 20%. Litigious tactics Vantage employed to achieve higher turnover rates landed Rubler on the Village Voice's list of notorious landlords. According to a spate of lawsuits and actions taken by government authorities, Vantage would refuse to cash tenants' rent checks and then take them to court to evict them, or it would falsely accuse them of having a primary residence other than their rent-controlled apartment as a way of forcing them out.

Rubler's sweetheart relationship with the ethically-challenged, long-time New York Congressman Charlie Rangel also caught the attention of the New York Times a few years back. A couple of months after a charity Rubler headed up honored Rangel, The Times reported that his real estate company had leased four rent-controlled apartments in its Lenox Terrace property in Harlem to Congressman Rangel. The Times criticized Rangel for hoarding rent-controlled apartments, including using one as an office, while the Olnick Organization headed by Rubler used overzealous tactics to evict tenants from rent-stabilized apartments and convert them to market-rate housing. New York's former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo at one point threatened to sue Vantage for unlawful business practices before his office reached a settlement agreement with the company under which it agreed to cease serving tenants with baseless legal notices.

As was pointed out in a previous post, The Tyler apartment building in Indianapolis had already become a problem apartment building while it was still under the ownership of Trinitas Ventures. Downtown Indianapolis residents should be alarmed that city officials earlier this year gave approval to Trinitas to build another 11-story apartment building in the heart of downtown at the northeast corner of Michigan and Capital Streets. Clearly, this company is more interested in developing and flipping properties for a quick profit than being a long-term, committed business neighbor like so many of the other favored developers gaining quick approval of similar apartment building projects throughout downtown, often sweetened with taxpayer subsidies.

One Of State's Top Stockbrokers Barred By FINRA

Thomas J. Buck once headed up a large client group at Merrill Lynch's Carmel office managing investment accounts for more than 800 clients in a portfolio valued at more than $1.3 billion. A consent order issued by the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") last week permanently bars him from making trades and investment decisions for clients or even working in a clerical position for a firm offering those services. FINRA claims Buck made unauthorized trades with his clients' funds and held customer assets in commission-based accounts instead of lower-cost fee-based accounts without their consent. Buck had joined RBC Capital Markets in March after Merrill Lynch severed its ties to him.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Former Colts Quarterback Tested Four Times Legal Limit, Threatened To Kill Arresting Officer Police Claim

A portable breathalyzer test administered to former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau during a traffic stop Sunday night for suspicion of drunk driving tested almost four times over the legal limit according to a probable cause affidavit filed by the Zionsville Police Department. That same police report claims Trudeau, 52, threatened to kill the arresting police officer according to the Indianapolis Star.

The portable breath test registered a 0.31 blood-alcohol content, enough to kill a person from alcohol poisoning, but it was considered a poor sample. Trudeau refused to consent to a blood-drawn test and became belligerent towards the officer as he was being transported to the Boone County jail. The police report claimed Trudeau told the officer he was a celebrity and had powerful friends and attorneys.

Trudeau faces several charges, including intimidation of a police officer (Class 6 felony), public intoxication (Class B misdemeanor), operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person (Class A misdemeanor), operating a vehicle while intoxicated (Class C misdemeanor), open containers in passenger compartment (Class B infraction), disregarding a police officer (Class C infraction) and disregarding automatic signal (Class C infraction).

This isn't Trudeau's first brush with the law. In 1987, Trudeau was arrested for striking a police officer during a brawl in a downtown Indianapolis bar. In 1990, he was arrested in Hamilton County for operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 and later pleaded guilty to that charge. In 2007, he was accused of hosting a graduation party at his home where alcohol was furnished to minors. He later pleaded guilty to a Class C infraction and paid a $2,500 fine.

Gannett Columnists Worry About A Handful Of Confederate Flag Wavers While Brickyard 400 Dies

Like many NASCAR and IMS fans, I stopped attending the Brickyard 400 several years ago after faithfully attending every race for many years after the inaugural race in 1994. In its hey day, Brickyard 400 crowds rivaled attendance at the Indianapolis 500 in its banner years. By the time I stopped attending, motor sports fan interest in the race had already started to wane. I was looking for stories discussing attendance figures for this year's race in the local news media and came up short. Instead, I found two columns written by Indianapolis Star columnists Gregg Doyel and Suzette Hackney, neither of whom know their ass from first base about auto racing, whose sole purpose in covering this year's race was to find any evidence to support caricaturing NASCAR fans as a bunch of white supremacist, Confederate flag-waving bigots. The kowtowing of NASCAR and IMS officials to the political correctness police as of late probably hasn't helped matters and only served to offend many among its most loyal fan base.

Judging from some of the highlights of the race and the video above a race fan posted to YouTube of the start of this year's race, there were probably fewer people at the track this year than in attendance at a regular season Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium. A conservative estimate would be 50,000, while IMS officials would probably argue there were closer to 75,000 there. The truth is probably somewhere in between. What can't be argued is that interest in the race is rapidly declining from the earlier years when 200,000 plus fans regularly showed up on race day. The local media did a lot of hyping and cheerleading for the IMS to help bolster interest in this year's race, focusing on the fact local favorite Jeff Gordon was racing his final race at the track this year before he heads into retirement. Gordon won the inaugural race in 1994 and four others along the way, but yesterday he crashed early in the race and finished next to last, perhaps a sign of where this race's future is headed.

Musical Chairs Play Planned In Public Safety When Hogsett Becomes Mayor

Advance Indiana hears that Indianapolis Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett plans to name Marion Co. Sheriff John Layton as his public safety director when he becomes mayor next year. U.S. Marshal Kerry Forestal, formerly of the Marion Co. Sheriff's Department, is considered a front-runner to be tapped by Democrats to fill the unexpired term of Sheriff Layton. Advance Indiana readers will recall that Sheriff Layton's predecessor, Frank Anderson, stepped down as U.S. Marshal to run for Marion County Sheriff as well. There are also rumblings that Hogsett may look to shift some current Marion County sheriff's deputies to IMPD as part of his plan to hire 150 additional police officers.

UPDATE: The Indianapolis Firefighters local PAC endorsed Hogsett today.

British House Of Lords Ethics Leader Busted In Cocaine-Fueled Romp With Prostittutes

Support: The Sun's front page today featuring Lord Sewel wearing a ladies bright orange bra
The deputy speaker and chairman of the upper house of British parliament, who also chaired the committee governing ethics standards in the House of Lords, has been caught on video having a sex romp with two female prostitutes while snorting cocaine and wearing a woman's bra. Baron John Sewel, a 69-year old married father of four, told his female companions, "I just want to be led astray." Sewel resigned his leadership position following the damaging revelations and has been suspended from the Labor Party but is said to be resisting calls to resign from the House of Lords. Sewel told the prostitutes there was a "real problem" with members of parliament sleeping with boys. Ironically, Sewell's sex and drug romp took place in a flat located in Dolphin Square, the same building where MPs have been accused of sexually abusing children as part of a VIP pedophile ring. It's too bad the media in this country won't report on similar issues with America's leaders. Apparently you're ineligible for service in Congress unless there are some dark secrets in your life that can be used to blackmail you.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Police Shootout At Upscale IUPUI Apartment Complex Leaves Five Injured

UPDATED: Fight involved members of IUPUI basketball team. See update below.
If you read or heard about a police shootout early this morning at an apartment complex and thought it was located somewhere in the hood, think again. This happened at The Tyler, an upscale apartment complex in the 1200 block of Indiana Avenue that caters to IUPUI students. This place offers fully-furnished apartments with 9-foot ceilings, private balconies with great city views, a heated saltwater pool, fitness center, clubhouse, computer center and secured parking. Yet early this morning the place turned into a shooting gallery after IMPD officers were called to respond to a party that had grown out of control according to the apartment complex's on-site security. Here's how the Indianapolis Star described a shootout where police shot five individuals:
A party at an apartment building ended with gunfire early Sunday morning, leaving five people wounded on the near Northwestside.
Officers responded to the 1200 block of Indiana Ave. for the report of a disturbance at about 1:18 a.m., police said.
When they arrived, officers heard gunshots coming from inside of the building. About 150 people had gathered there for an unsanctioned party, police said.
Security officers at the apartment building attempted to breakup the gathering when an altercation in one of the units spilled into the hallway.
As IMPD officers approached the party, they were met by armed individuals who fired their weapons at them.
The officers fired back, striking the shooters.
Two people were taken to Eskenazi Hospital from the scene. They are both in stable condition, police said.
Three people involved in the shooting showed up to the hospital a short time later with gunshot wounds. The vehicle they arrived in is in police custody as the investigation is ongoing, police said.
The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave, police said in a release issued at 5:17 a.m. Sunday morning.

WTHR got this response from residents at The Tyler who were not surprised by the shooting given the non-stop party atmosphere at the complex:
"To me, it sounded like 12 or 13 gunshots," Anthony Garcia said Sunday morning standing outside the Tyler Apartment Complex at 1201 Indiana Avenue near the IUPUI campus. He was visiting a friend in the apartment next to where a party was taking place.
"We went out on the balcony, and that is when we heard all the gunshots. At first, we didn't think it was real," Chase Claussen added. "I thought it was fake and then I started seeing single people come out and then they started flooding out. I saw one person sitting on the stairs and he just collapsed." . . . .
"If you were in there, I guess they are making you stay indoors but they are not letting us in there right now. Walking by door six, it looked like there was a lot of blood on the ground," apartment resident Andrew Jerdonek said minutes after the incident occurred.
The morning after, Jennifer McIntyre didn't know what all had transpired the night before but having lived in the Tyler Apartment Complex for the last three years, she's not surprised.
"Pretty much a party atmosphere. There are a lot of kids running around the hallways drinking, smells like weed and other stuff," McIntyre shared . . . 
This is what the people living in downtown neighborhoods like mine can expect in the coming years after the Ballard administration and our City-County Council provided economic development incentives to politically-connected developers to slap up cheaply-built apartment buildings all over the downtown area that are fueling the bar-hopping, drunken madness that now predominates the popular Mass Ave business district, turning it into the evil twin sister of Broad Ripple over night. It doesn't take many incidents like this one to change a neighborhood. By the way, The Tyler is situated in that expanded downtown TIF district that was supposed to transform the nearby northwest side. It's transforming that old industrial neighborhood alright.

The Tyler is owned by New York-based Candlebrook Properties, LLC, which was founded in 2005 by a Donald Trump wannabe, Neil Rubler. Its website says it has over 15,000 apartment units worth more than $2 billion. The Tyler was originally developed by a West Lafayette company, Trinitas Ventures, which sold The Tyler and several other student-related housing projects it has around the country last November to Candlebrook for $230 million. Trinitas is currently building a $40 million, 11-story apartment complex in downtown Indianapolis on the northeast corner of Michigan and Capital Streets.

UPDATED: WTHR's Steve Jefferson spoke to one of The Tyler's residents today and learned the fight over a missing cell phone that led to the fight involved members of the IUPUI basketball team. Jefferson also says it appeared several students were moving out of the complex today after concluding The Tyler was no longer a safe place to live.

UPDATED II: One of the men arrested in this weekend's shooting was Tyrice-Howard Smith, a 20-year old former standout football player for Pike Township High School according to the Star. Police are still trying to identify others involved in the shooting.

More BMV Shady Dealings

The Indianapolis Star's Tony Cook has a good story today about more shady dealings at the BMV. This one involves the agency's former chief of staff, Shawn Walters, who signed a contract with a private company, Express MVA, allowing the company to process vehicle titles for high-volume users and charge their clients convenience fees and then later taking a job as the company's chief operating  officer. Waters sought no opinion on whether his employment by Express MVA violated the state's revolving door law when he took the job in July 2014 after leaving state government.

According to Walters' Linkedin listing, he served as BMV's chief of staff for eight years from 2005 to 2013. After the BMV began getting slapped with class action lawsuits for illegally charging fees to motorists, he transferred to FSSA where he worked as a chief of staff at a salary of $125,000 a year for a little more than a year before taking the top job at Express MVA. Waters was one of the high-level employees made aware of the illegal fees being charged by the agency who did nothing to correct the problem.

According to the Star, the BMV executed the contract with Express MVA allowing it to operate what it described as partial BMV branches offering vehicle title processing services in 2010. The company came into existence solely for the purpose of fulfilling the services the BMV contract allowed it to offer to the public. The BMV provides Express MVA workstations with full access to the BMV's online STARS computer system that is used by BMV employees to process vehicle titles at no extra charge. Express MVA pays nothing to BMV to operate the service, but it is authorized to charge convenience fees to its clients, which would include high-volume users like financial institutions, insurance companies, auction houses and automobile dealers.

Until this year, there was no statute that permitted contractors like Express MVA to collect convenience fees authorized by their contract with the BMV. Walters had personally signed an amended version of the contract with his future employer in 2012. The Indiana General Assembly included a provision in legislation it adopted this year which legalized the imposition of the convenience fees by contractors like Express MVA. Apparently the legislative change was sought by Ice Miller lobbyists on behalf of another BMV contractor, Envirotest, which was providing similar services as those offered by Express MVA. According to the Star, Envirotest charges a $45 fee for the same title transfer service the BMV provides at a charge of $15.

The Star identifies the owners of Express MVA as Kevin Calvert and Doug Pillow. In 2013, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation awarded Express MVA up to $115,000 in tax credits after it promised to create about 20 new jobs at its corporate offices located at 3960 Southeastern Avenue in Indianapolis. Pillow described his company as "the largest automotive title processor in the state, serving more than 1,000 auto dealers, auctioneers and corporations across the state." The press release said the company also provides "several online and software-based services such as Express VLV, which allows auto dealers to check for primary and secondary lien information." The company is exclusively endorsed by the Indiana Automobile Dealers Association. Presumably, it's able to offer those services because of the cost-free access it is granted to the BMV's online computer system under its sweetheart contract.

In an unrelated matter, I noticed Calvert and his father, Edward, had been sued by the National Labor Relations Board under the Fair Debt Collections Procedures Act for a fraudulent transfer. Calvert's father, Edward, operated ELC Electric, Inc., whose business address is the same as Express MVA, According to the lawsuit, ELC laid off 16 employees in retaliation for labor organizing activities by the employees. The NLRB awarded over $435,000 in back pay to the laid off employees. The NLRB then sued both Calverts after it claimed the father fraudulently transferred the assets he owned in ELC, which is now defunct, in order to avoid paying the back pay award to the former employees. At some point, Edward Calvert filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection according to the lawsuit.

In none of the Star reports on this BMV mess do you find anything negative about Gov. Mitch Daniels, who was responsible for allowing the Keith Bulen-styled racketeering operations to flourish during his two terms as Indiana's governor. These people believe government only exists for their self-profiteering purposes. Gov. Mike Pence's sin was in not cleaning house when he became governor. It's almost as if there was never any change in the person occupying the governor's office. Pence is just an empty suit letting Mitch Daniels' cronies continue operating the state as their own personal profit centers.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

British VIP Pedophile Ring Now Openly Reported

As shocking as it may sound, the most powerful people in British society have been operating and covering up a VIP pedophile ring of the most vile order involving top members of the government's cabinet, members of parliament, top intelligence officials, judges and law enforcement officials for many decades. The victims were children placed in the custody of the government's child protection services. Instead of protecting children in the state's custody, they were trafficked for the sexual pleasure of the sick and twisted leaders of the British government.

For decades, persons claiming the existence of this VIP pedophile ring were ostracized and marginalized by the mainstream media as wacko conspiracy theorists, but now the findings of official government reports are confirming the worst. Some of the children were murdered or have been disappeared. Some of the survivors are speaking out about the lurid details of their ordeal. And the mainstream media in Britain is finally reported what whistle blowers have struggled for years to make public as in this 60 Minutes report shown above that aired in Britain this past week.

A similar, equally as vast VIP pedophile ring has operated with impunity within the United States for the benefit of our nation's most powerful persons for decades. Most mainstream media refused to discuss the Franklin Scandal, a pedophile ring based in Omaha, Nebraska that procured young children from homes like Boys Town intended to protect at-risk children, kidnapped them from the neighborhoods where they live across America or, in some cases, obtained them from their parents who sacrificed their own children to a higher order. The Franklin Scandal that first broke in the 1980s revealed that young boys were taken to Washington, D.C. to have sex with cabinet officials, members of Congress, governors, judges and, according to some reports, even then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Their handlers even took the trafficked boys on midnight tours of the White House.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I-Team 8 Investigation Catches Angie's List Issuing Flawed Ratings For Bad Contractors

Imagine, an investigative reporter for WISH-TV's I-Team 8 takes a look at how Angie's List rates contractors and catches it scoring bad contractors higher than what its consumer members actually rated them. It turns out a contractor who took money from a consumer but never performed the work wasn't being scored an "F" because its rating system didn't consider the work done. Angie Hicks says the company plans to make changes to its online rating system within the next ten days to address the problem to ensure that companies receive a failing grade when they take money from the customer but fail to do the work. So it only took them 20 years to figure out this flaw in their rating system?

Who Owns A Beneficial Interest In BlueIndy, LLC?

Now that we know Mayor Greg Ballard and members of his administration broke multiple state and local laws in order to award a 15-year, one-sided agreement with BlueIndy, LLC to operate an electric car sharing service under an exclusive arrangement at a cost of millions of dollars to Indianapolis taxpayers, it's time for City-County Council members to step up and demand the release of the names of every person or business entity that has a beneficial interest in the company.

BlueIndyLLC was registered as a limited liability company with the Indiana Secretary of State's office by the law firm of Ice Miller on March 18, 2014, listing attorney Michael Millikan as its registered agent at Ice Miller's Indianapolis offices at One American Square. The filing indicates the company has managers. The front person for the company is Herve Muller, who is listed as the company's president. Muller's LinkedIn listing associates him with the Greater Atlanta area. Muller has served as vice president and general manager for Bollore Group's Blue Solutions since 2007, which is part of IER Group.

When BlueIndy, LLC applied for an encroachment license, which the Ballard administration granted the company to illegally park its cars on Washington Street, Muller listed the business address for BlueIndy, LLC as 1000 Industrial Park, Belton, Texas. The fees for that encroachment license totaling $30,576.00 were waived by the City. Why?

Last night, the Public Works Committee of the City-County Council approved a resolution on a 5-1 vote that requests the towing of Blue Indy's electric cars that are illegally parked in a no parking zone on Washington Street where they've been sitting for more than a year now. The City-County Council's attorney, Fred Biesecker, maintains the City lacked legal authority to permanently convert the no parking zone for Blue Indy's exclusive, for-profit use. The company plans to establish 1,000 parking spaces at 200 sites around the City for its electric car sharing business, many of which the Ballard administration has taken from the City's current public, on-street parking stock.

At some point, the City could be forced to give up much of the revenues it currently receives from Park Indy, the private company owned by ACS/Xerox that operates the City's parking meter assets, for its loss of revenues caused by the administration's decision to give those parking spaces to Blue Indy. Mayor Ballard raided $6 million from the parking meter fund into which those revenues are deposited to give to Blue Indy. Prime parking spaces have already been taken out of service in downtown, Broad Ripple and Fountain Square where power charging stations are being installed even though the City has not formally inked its agreement with Blue Indy. As of this week, the City's controller had still not signed the contract a deputy chief of staff in the mayor's office, David Rosenberg, signed with the company. How could all of these parking spaces have already been taken out of service and construction work commenced on the permanent infrastructure to support Blue Indy's for-profit business when the final agreement has not been signed, sealed and delivered?

UPDATE: You have to read this idiotic column by one of the Star's newer columnists, Suzette Hackney, who thinks it's silly for anyone to get worked up about all of the laws the administration has broken to benefit Blue Indy because it represents "cutting edge" technology and "trendsetting." Where does Gannett find so many journalists who are willing to pimp for crony capitalism? This gal might actually be worse than Erika Smith, if that's possible.

. . . So why all the controversy, political fighting and posturing? It seems silly that members of the City-County Council are stomping all over Mayor Greg Ballard's alternative-transportation initiative this late in the game. The mayor's desire to make the city more environmentally friendly appears sincere. Any concerns the councilors had with the program should have been raised long before now.

And any serious misgivings certainly have been negated by the councilors' threat to have some of the demonstration cars towed from the charging station on Washington Street. They were actually willing to stage a committee vote for that? How petty and embarrassing, especially in a city that revels in its reputation and time in the national spotlight . . .

But the benefits of car-sharing outweigh the hurt feelings some may have. It is unreasonable for the council to try to delay the implementation of the program with a burdensome franchise agreement, which would allow the body to charge a yearly fee for the length of the agreement and give oversight on future expansion. I don't believe they want oversight; they want to ensnarl the program in so much red tape that the cars are put back in the garage, so to speak.

But I want to live in city that is on the cutting edge of technology and trendsetting. I desire a city that attracts young professionals who want to live and work here, and feel comfortable doing so without owning a car. I want a city that enhances the quality of life for empty nesters who are moving back to the city from the suburbs.

Indianapolis could be all of that. Let's get these cars on the road.

Zoeller Plays Up Concern For Human Trafficking Ahead Of Brickyard 400

Zoeller with State Reps. Hale and Macer (WIBC/Eric Berman Photo)
Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined State Rep. Christina Hale and State Rep. Karlee Macer for a press conference out in Speedway ahead of this year's Brickyard 400 to warn about the dangers of human trafficking. "Large sporting events are peak times for commercial sex and exploitation," the press released reads. He says his office tracked ads during the 2015 NCAA Final Four Championship held in Indianapolis this past April and found a spike of more than 100 ads per day during the event. “It’s time people see the commercial sex industry for what it really is – the violent exploitation of women, children and men,” said Zoeller, who co-chairs the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) Task Force. “Traffickers target the most vulnerable in our society, isolate them from friends and family, and trap them in the sex trade. This is occurring right under our noses and we want everyone to recognize the signs.”

Here's a question our local news media won't ask of Zoeller. Why weren't you concerned about the ladies of the night who came into town from out-of-state to provide entertainment at the Geist mansion of Ponzi schemer Tim Durham for the sex and drug-filled parties frequently thrown by Durham that were attended by Indy's elite, including a bunch of politicians like yourself who accepted campaign contributions from Durham by the tens of thousands of dollars? Didn't your office employ Durham's step-son, Bernard Durham, as an "investigator" back in those days? What exactly were his job duties as an "investigator" in your office? Is your memory still "Fuzzy" from those days? Zoeller only gave up $11,000 in campaign contributions he received from Durham after the bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance threatened to sue his campaign committee if he didn't return the

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook's Trucking Business Set For Sheriff's Sale Next Month

Who read anything in any mainstream media reports during this past May's Westfield municipal primary election about Mayor Andy Cook's business, Hoosier Tradewinds, Inc. being foreclosed upon for debts of over $2.7 million owed, as well as unpaid taxes owed to the federal and state government? Well, it was. Hamilton Superior Court Judge William Hughes signed an order on June 17 of this year for the sale of the property at a sheriff's sale on August 20, 2015 to satisfy the debt upon which Mayor Cook's business defaulted nearly 18 months ago. Mayor Cook's son, Benjamin, is also a partner with him in the business.

Advance Indiana is told this includes about 80 acres of land on 236th Street in Arcadia, including about five acres where Hoosier Tradewinds built its trucking company business and another 75 acres operating under the name Bakers Corner Project, LLC. Cook's business was represented in the foreclosure suit by the law firm of Church Church Hittle & Antrim. The lender which foreclosed on the debt was TBF-CCA #1, LLC of Deerfield, Illinois. Their local registered agent is Ronald Brodey of Indianapolis.

Barnes & Thornburg represented the lender in the foreclosure action. In addition to the U.S. government and the Indiana Department of Revenue, other creditors named in the suit included: GE Capital, Dell Financial, Daimler Trust, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Midwest Express, Inc., Eric Stoltz, Transportation Alliance Bank and Personal Attention Leasing.

Want to hear another interesting tale? Guess who the Court appointed as a receiver for Mayor Cook's business. That would be Anker Receivership Group, LLC, whose principal is none other than Terry Anker, the publisher of those local rags known as Current In Westfield, Current In Carmel, Current In Fishers, Current In Noblesville et al, which are nothing more than mouthpieces for corrupt municipal officials and their political cronies who control every major suburban city surrounding Indianapolis lock, stock and barrel. Does anyone think Mr. Anker's news publications might have a conflict of interest? Should we be surprised his publication made no issue of the personal financial woes facing Mayor Cook during his re-election campaign? Advance Indiana exclusively reported on the hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liens filed against Mayor Cook's business by the IRS last February, a fact ignored by the local news media as he sought re-election to another four-year term.

I guess I should cut Anker some slack. The Indianapolis Star's Chris Sikich knew about it as well, along with many other local news reporters and refused to report on it. It's just another example of how you can no longer depend on your local newspaper or TV news stations to report the truth to you. A free and vibrant press is a dying breed in this country.

Council's Attorney Tells Council Members Everything About Blue Indy Deal Is Illegal

The Indianapolis City-County Council's attorneys Fred Biesecker told members of the Public Safety Committee yesterday evening that virtually every aspect of the one-sided agreement with Blue Indy is illegal.  Technically, the agreement is not fully-executed because the controller has never signed the agreement. Yet public property all over the city has already been seized and is in the process of being converted for exclusive use by Blue Indy's electric car sharing service. Its illegal cars have sat illegally parked advertising the monopoly franchise they've been illegally granted on Washington Street for over a year now.

Indianapolis is described as the showcase city for the French-owned company Bollore's electric car sharing service, but it's not getting off to a good start in America when it chooses to do business with the most corrupt mayor in the United States who is willing to break every law imaginable to provide the company a monopoly franchise agreement to operate its electric car sharing business in this city.

Essentially, the agreement entered into between the Ballard administration and the City provides an exclusive agreement to Blue Indy for a minimum initial term of 15 years to operate its electric car sharing business on city property. Mayor Ballard gave the company $6 million from the City's parking meter fund and IPL is kicking in over $3 million to install the power charging stations, make sidewalk improvements and other infrastructure improvements for the 200 sites being set up throughout the City to support a fleet of at least 500 Blue Indy electric cars occupying up to 1,000 parking spaces, including the most prime parking spaces in the City. If members of the public want to use the power charging stations for their electric cars, they have to sign an exclusive subscription agreement with Blue Indy to use the charging stations built with city tax dollars using city property.

The Ballard administration relied on its authority to grant encroachment licenses to private property owners, which Biesecker told council members is not applicable to exclusive franchise agreements. The encroachment license authority only gives the City authority to grant non-exclusive use of public right-of-way space. Biesecker says it is "nonsense" to say this can be done under an encroachment license. Biesecker noted encroachment licenses can be terminated at any time and are for one-year, renewable terms. The Blue Indy agreement can only be terminated by the City if Blue Indy mutually agrees to terminate the agreement or materially breaches the agreement with the City, whatever that means since very little is imposed upon Blue Indy by the one-sided agreement. Biesecker described the terminated clause as "embarrassingly weak." Biesecker repeated the point that the administration lacks authority to convert non-parking areas to parking areas for exclusive use by Blue Indy in violation of existing city ordinances.

The only favorable term for the City is the potential for a 15% revenue sharing if the company at some point becomes profitable. IPL will get reimbursed $4 million off the top, however, before the City would ever get the opportunity to share in any of those revenues, and it gets 2/3 of the following $4 million of profit-sharing (1/3 for the City). Blue Indy claims its investing $40 million of its own money. The way the term profitability is defined by the agreement is based on "cumulative net profit," which Biesecker suggested could take many years before the company shared its first dollar of profit with the City since it will be allowed to recoup its investment as well before profit sharing occurs.

This is the real kicker that shows just how criminal and illegal this deal is. The agreement makes Blue Indy exempt from all property taxes, parking taxes or any other tax that might be imposed on the company, and to the extent the company is required to pay a tax, the City is required to reimburse it for the amount of those taxes. Mayor Ballard has absolutely no authority to grant such an illegal, unconstitutional tax exemption. It is beyond outrageous that this man and the people working for him signing these illegal and corrupt deals have not been hauled away in handcuffs and charged with the multiple felonies they've committed. By the way, the administration gave this cake boy, David Rosenberg, who now has the title of "deputy mayor" authority to sign this agreement. Since when does a deputy mayor not even subject to confirmation by the City-County Council have legal authority to enter into one-sided, 15-year exclusive agreements with a private company on behalf of the City?

As I've said before, the rule of law has completely broken down in this state and this city. Special laws spring into existence for the benefit of political insiders who are permitted to steal our public assets for their exclusive personal use with the assistance of people who supposedly took an oath of office to uphold the constitution, state laws and local ordinances that supposedly govern us. There is no transparency in any of these arrangements. We have no idea who all owns a beneficial interest in these companies, but human nature tells us that certain individuals stand to make substantial sums of money illegally as a result of this and other illegal deals this administration has carried out the past eight years. Like I've said before, if you want to steal from the taxpayers, come to Indianapolis. There is nobody minding the store to stop you from doing it.

UPDATE: The Public Works Committee approved a resolution Thursday night calling for the towing of Blue Indy cars that are illegally parked on Washington Street in a no parking zone, which will now go before the full council for a vote.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pulliam Square Puppy Park

As a condition to sharing in $5.5 million in public subsidies for its Pulliam Square mixed residential/retail project at the site of the former Indianapolis Star, TWG Development, LLC agreed to construct a publicly-accessible dog park and public plaza on North Delaware Street. Here's the new Puppy Park. Thank Mayor Greg Ballard and your Indianapolis City-County Council members for "investing" your tax dollars so wisely.

IndyCar Strips Drivers Of First Amendment Rights

Check out the new "Detrimental Competitor Conduct" rule the IndyCar series just put in place because Hulman & Company's Mark Miles isn't pleased with some critical comments some drivers have made of the racing series as of late:
Competitors must be respectful, professional, fair and courteous to others. At all times, Competitors must not, attempt to, or engage in conduct or statements that in the judgment of INDYCAR: 
a) Threatens or denigrates any Official, fellow Competitor or the INDYCAR brand;
b) Calls into question the integrity or legitimacy of the Rules or their application, construction or interpretation; 
c) Denigrates the IndyCar Series racing schedule or Event(s); 
d) Threatens or denigrates any INDYCAR business relationship, including those with sponsors or broadcasters; 
e) Otherwise threatens the integrity, reputation or public confidence of the sport, INDYCAR, or IndyCar Series.
The Indianapolis Star's Curt Cavin uncharacteristically criticizes the racing series, saying "it all looks silly." The rule does not specify the punishment that can be meted out for violation of the rule, "leaving more questions than answers" Cavin adds.

UPDATE: Cavin and Bob Kravitz reverse roles. Kravitz likes the new rule.
Some people look at IndyCar’s new rules against overt public criticism and call it a gag order. 
I call it overdue . .  . 

Angie's List Plunges On News Of Negative Second Quarter Earnings Report

The rare first quarter profit reported earlier this year by Angie's List now appears to be the product of creative bookkeeping as opposed to a turn-around in the company's two-decade consecutive streak of losing money. Shares of the company traded down more than 20% this morning as investors showed their displeasure at the company's negative second quarter numbers. Despite an 11% increase in year-over revenues, the company reported a loss of $8.3 million for the quarter.

Digging deeper into the numbers, you find the company slashed marketing expenses by nearly 30% or $10 million in an effort to stem losses, but it also saw a $16.9 million or 9% loss in membership revenues as the company now relies upon advertising revenues from the service providers for whom it supposedly provides objectives consumer ratings for nearly 80% of its revenues. It's also noteworthy the company's accounts payable nearly tripled over the same period last year from $5.4 million to $15.2 million. The second quarter losses wiped out the profits reported in the first quarter, leaving the company with a nearly $4 million loss through the first six months of the year.

Indianapolis taxpayers may have dodged a big bullet by not shoveling out tens of millions in new taxpayer subsidies for the Indianapolis-based company's corporate headquarters. Indianapolis City-County Council members delayed action on the plan pushed by Mayor Greg Ballard while it sought more information about the economic development incentives being offered to the company. The company's former CEO, Bill Oesterle, used the excuse of the state's passage of the RFRA law earlier this year as a reason for pulling consideration of the plan off the table after unleashing a team of high-paid lobbyists to cajole council members into approving the economic incentives sought by the company. He exited the company a short time later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Blagojevich Wins Small, Hollow Victory In Public Corruption Case Appeal

A 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel today threw out five of the eighteen public corruption felony convictions that resulted in the imprisonment of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to a harsh, 14-year prison sentence. All of those convictions overturned by the Court of Appeals today related to charges he tried to land appointment as a member of President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to fill Obama's Senate seat from Illinois. Unfortunately for Blagojevich, today's decision will not likely lead to a reduction in his sentence. Federal sentencing guidelines would have allowed the trial court judge to sentence him up to 20 years for the original 18 convictions.

The trial court errors corrected by the Court of Appeals' opinion authored by Judge Frank Easterbrook related to the jury instructions used to find Blagojevich guilty of attempted extortion, bribery and mail fraud charges related to the conversations he had with Obama and his surrogates concerning the exercise of his power to appoint Obama's Senate replacement. Those discussions included offers to appoint Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat if Obama appointed Blagojevich as a member of his cabinet, helped him land a suitable job in the private sector or help raise funds to establish a nonprofit organization to be headed up by Blagojevich. In each of the five convictions overturned by today's decision, the government was required to prove the existence of a quid for quo.

To prove a quid pro quo, the government must be able to prove the performance of an official government act in exchange for a private benefit, such as money. The problem with the trial court's jury instructions is that it permitted the jury to find Blagojevich guilty for trading one official government act for another. Blagojevich could agree to appoint Jarrett to the Senate seat in exchange for a promise from Obama to appoint him to a position in his cabinet without committing a crime the Court of Appeals reasoned. Political logrolling, the swap of one official act for another, is not a quid pro quo within the meaning of the applicable federal public corruption laws. "Governance would hardly be possible without these accommodations, which allow each public official to achieve more of his principal objective while surrendering something about which he cares less, but the other politician cares more strongly," Easterbrook wrote.

Theoretically, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago could retry Blagojevich on these five charges with proper jury instructions, but that is unlikely to occur since the bulk of the government's charges against him were affirmed. Blagojevich has already faced two trials. At his first trial, the government obtained only one conviction against him for lying to federal investigators; the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the balance of the charges. The government won convictions on all of the remaining charges at his subsequent trial. The trial court judge, James Zagel, will immediately re- sentence Blagojevich if the government chooses not to retry him on the five charges thrown out by the Court of Appeals. Judge Zagel could reduce Blagojevich's sentence, but the chances of that happening are probably not very likely.

As you can see from the video below, Blagojevich's attorney was extremely disappointed by today's ruling. He believes the Court of Appeals panel still got the law wrong in upholding the other convictions against the former governor, such as soliciting campaign contributions from supporters of former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson in exchange for an agreement to appoint him to the Senate seat, which of course failed to come to fruition before federal prosecutors had Blagojevich arrested. He reminds reporters his client was not convicted of accepting one dime for his own personal use. That's an interesting observation given that at least one witness in the investigation told federal prosecutors convicted political fixer Tony Rezko had delivered bags of cash to Barack Obama and had helped him financially in the purchase of his south side mansion. At one point during the investigation, someone leaked to the media a claim that Rezko had paid building contractors for work they were hired to perform on Blagojevich's home. Federal prosecutors pursued no charges and presented no evidence of such payments at either of his trials. In fact, they never called Rezko as a witness, even though information he supposedly furnished them served as the basis for their lengthy investigation and prosecution of Blagojevich.

British Royals Cry Foul Because Newly-Released Video Shows Them As Nazi Sympathizers

Mainstream media reports are brushing off a newly-discovered home video shot in 1933 showing Queen Elizabeth and her younger sister giving the Nazi salute on cue from the Queen's mother and her uncle, the future King Edward VIII, a renowned Nazi sympathizer who abdicated the crown in 1936 so he could marry Wallis Simpson, an American who had previously been married and divorced. The Sun newspaper is being excoriated for making the video public, which appears may have been inadvertently released to documentary makers by the royal family last year. The House of Windsor as it is known is actually of German ancestry like most of the other royal families of Europe.

Will It Take A Harrisburg-Style Financial Collapse To Get Justice In Indiana?

Former Mayor Stephen Reed was popular with the voters and the media folks who covered him during his long tenure as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's mayor, where he easily won re-election to office every time he faced voters until the City found itself in financial ruins and was eventually forced to file bankruptcy. Last week, a state prosecutor brought 499 felony charges against the former mayor for what she described as corruption spanning decades. Among the charges Reed faces are allegations he diverted city funds intended for other projects to purchase millions of dollars worth of artifacts he planned to put in museums he planned to build, which he kept for himself after losing re-election in 2009. State prosecutors say Reed used his "gregarious" and "charming" ways to cajole and bribe members of the city council with jobs and other favors in exchange for approving increased borrowing through a series of bond issues that led the city to bankruptcy. State prosecutors say Reed's indictment is the first of many it plans to bring.