Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mystery Hogsett Donor May Be Tied To Criminal Justice Center Project

A limited liability company going by the name Indy Project Venture only came into existence on August 12 of this year. Five days later the newly-formed company donated $50,000 to Democrat Joe Hogsett's Indianapolis mayoral campaign. The individuals behind this company took steps to hide their identities, but WRTV's Call 6 appears to have identified the owner.

Indy Project Venture listed National Corporate Research Ltd. as its registered agent. That traced to a local business on Indianapolis' south side owned by Sheri Obermeyer, which acts as National Corporate Research's Indiana agent. Obermeyer didn't identify the principles of the LLC for which her company acts as registered agent. The address given for Indy Project Venture's donation on Hogsett's campaign finance report listed an address for the business as 800 E. 96th Street, Suite #175, which is the business offices for Scannell Properties, a large real estate development firm.

It just so happens that Scannell's general counsel and partner is James Carlino, who was formerly a partner at Hogsett's law firm, Bose McKinney & Evans. When WRTV contacted Carlino, he refused to identify the owners of Indy Project Venture. "It's a company with a group of owners that I'm not at liberty to disclose," Carlino said. "All I can tell you is, I'm the one who formed the company." Carlino declined to explain why such a large donation was made to Hogsett's campaign only days after the company's formation other than to say the business had an interest in promoting "good government." Hah.

Advance Indiana readers will recall the controversial role Hogsett played in helping kill the criminal justice center project, which the Ballard administration had awarded to WMB Heatland Justice Partners, a consortium led by the French-owned global investment group, Meridiam Infrastructure. Hogsett came out against the public-private partnership ("P3") approach chosen by the Ballard administration to build a new criminal justice center last April. He said he preferred the City look instead toward more traditional methods of funding public construction projects.

The Ballard administration was stung by Hogsett's move, which essentially sealed its fate before the Democratic-controlled City-County Council. Ballard was particularly angered since his administration had awarded a $750,000 no-bid contract to the lobbying arm of Hogsett's law firm to help steer passage of the P3 project through the Indianapolis City-County Council. Legal observers wondered how Hogsett could take a position counter to the client on whose behalf it had been hired to represent. When asked recently about the controversial Covanta recycling contract entered into by the Ballard administration, Hogsett said he could not discuss it because his law firm represented Covanta.

Advance Indiana believes Scannell Properties may have a very strong interest in building any new criminal justice center undertaken by Marion County. The firm's website boasts of a 35,000 square-foot federal courthouse the company developed in Newport News, Virginia for the General Services Administration in 2005. Scannell actually owns the property and leases it back to the federal government, a scheme similar to the P3 approach recommended by the Ballard administration for constructing Indianapolis' new criminal justice center. Critics, including this blog, noted that approach costs taxpayers much more in the long-term than traditional public financing methods for public construction projects. Scannell Properties was founded by Robert Scannell and Doug Snyder, both of whom left Duke Realty Investments to start their company in 1990.

Even if Scannell's not interested in the criminal justice center project, it is almost a given that Indy Project Venture has some real estate development proposed where city backing will be critical, including the likely possibility of public subsidies these developers expect in return for their generous campaign contributions. It's also further proof that Hogsett's campaign theme of taking on the downtown insiders is as phony as a three-dollar bill. His $4 million campaign war chest is being bankrolled by all of the downtown insiders who see our City-County government as nothing more than a profit center for themselves. He can't and won't say no to the downtown insiders.

UPDATE: Scannell Properties hastily released a statement this afternoon acknowledging its ownership of Indy Project Venture following Call 6's initial report and Republican Chuck Brewer's criticism of Hogsett's campaign for a lack of transparency.
Indy Project Venture LLC represents a group of local executives from Scannell Properties, a company that is based in Indianapolis with business operations throughout the United States and in Canada," Carlino wrote. "No attempt was made to obscure this – in fact, the company was registered within our Indianapolis corporate office and is clearly affiliated with our company."
"Indianapolis is our home, and as business owners here, we are very concerned about the rising tide of violent crime and its harmful impact on businesses in every part of the city," he said. "Given these concerns, we proudly support Joe and believe in his positive vision for a safer Indianapolis."
Excuse me for my skepticism in believing that Scannell's investment in Hogsett's campaign  has anything to do with its concern about a rise in crime. Hogsett's campaign manager called Brewer's criticism of the contribution a "desperate, baseless attack." Scannell denies any interest in the new criminal justice center project. Carlino told the Indianapolis Star the LLC was created to support its interest in public safety and education. The fact Scannell chose to use a brand new company about which nobody knew anything and its general counsel's initial reaction to questions about it was to react in a cagey manner only confirms the company wanted to hide its true intentions in making such a large donation to Hogsett, particularly when its named founder is known as a large campaign contributor to Republican candidates.

Beech Grove City Clerk's High School Transcript Illegally Accessed And Distributed

Beech Grove City Clerk Dan McMillin says he was more of a partier when he was a student at Beech Grove High School in 1972 and not so great of a student. The Indianapolis Star reports that an unidentified woman using false pretenses was somehow able to obtain his high school transcripts and distribute them outside City Hall. McMillin filed a police report, and the Star was able to learn the identity of the woman but was unable to obtain a comment from her after leaving a message at her home.

Two female city employees recently filed a federal lawsuit against McMillin in which they accuse him of sexual discrimination and bullying. McMillin has called that lawsuit "baseless." Although McMillin blasted the illegal accessing of his high school transcript as a "political dirty trick," he told the Star it was a good sign. "I thought it was a compliment because they had to go back to 1972 to find something on me," McMillan said.

It's too bad after all these years not a single sole has found a way to get their hands on the school transcripts of Barack Obama at Punahou School, Occidental College, Columbia University or Harvard University, assuming they actually exist, so we can settle once and for all the issue of whether he did indeed attend those schools as a foreign student as a number of his former associates have alleged.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Acting Fort Wayne City Clerk And Other Employees Resign After New Video Of Illegal Campaigning Emerges

The same former Fort Wayne City Clerk who resigned his job earlier this fall after he became disenchanted by the long-time City Clerk Sandy Kennedy's blatant, illegal campaign activities in her city office and covertly videotaped Kennedy's actions has struck again with newly-released video, which has already led to the abrupt resignation of the acting city clerk, Angela Davis, and several other employees of the office. Davis took control of the office following Kennedy's abrupt resignation after the release of the first video, citing health reasons for her resignation. Davis is still on the ballot as the Democratic candidate for that office next Tuesday.

The newly-released video released by former parking enforcement supervisor Colin Keeney captures Davis and other employees utilizing a confidential police database known as Spillman to search contact information for potential campaign donors. Part of the video released by Keeney shows Davis running a campaign meeting in the office during work hours, including drafting campaign letters on her work computer. Mayor Tom Henry, who is under fire for doing nothing about the problems in the city clerk's office when they were first brought to his attention, called the actions of Davis and her employees "inexcusable." Patty Stahlhut, who also serves as Davis' campaign treasurer, was among the employees resigning from the office late Thursday after learning of the latest video's release.

UPDATE: Fort Wayne's Public Safety Director, who is also running for the city council, seems to think there won't be any criminal investigation of Davis' misuse of the police database for political purposes because she resigned.
That database being used in the video is called Spillman, Public Safety Director Rusty York confirmed Friday. It contains records of every interaction people have with the police department, including if they were a witness to or the victim of a crime, he said. The database also includes officer notes regarding anything of interest regarding an individual.
“In a subsequent encounter, officers would be able to check that information,” York said. 
York is the Democratic candidate for the City Council District 4 seat. 
The city clerk’s office had access to information including names, dates of birth, recent addresses and contact information, York said, as well as incident reports filed under those names. York said the official use for that information was for administration of violations to the city’s false alarm ordinance. The ordinance assesses fines for false alarms that require a response by the Fort Wayne Fire Department.
Keeney said between Davis and Stahlhut, the latter was the only one who had official access to the database.
York said that in light of the video released Friday, that access has since been restricted. 
Improper use of the database isn’t unheard of, York said, noting that the city has terminated people across various departments for using Spillman for personal use. York said he can think of at least two incidents within the past two years when employees were fired for that activity. 
There won’t be a criminal investigation into Davis’ and Stahlhut’s use of Spillman because no laws were broken, York said. No one in the city clerk’s office had access to individuals’ state or federal records, driver’s license information or registration information, he said. 
“It’s a city policy violation, inappropriate use of the Spillman system,” he said. “And it’s a moot point because that person has resigned.”
Apparently the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Indiana only investigates public corruption in Lake County. Or that must be how George Van Til sees it from his prison cell right now.

Four Days Before The Election The Star Wonders Whether Hogsett's Legal Career Poses A Conflict

It's how a Gannett-owned newspaper operates. It carefully protects its chosen candidates from undue public scrutiny throughout an election season, writes story after story that reads more like press releases, gives the candidate their official endorsement and then right before the election makes a few throw-away disclosures about their preferred candidate like those quickly-read, often damning disclaimers pharmaceutical companies are required by law to make in their ads about potentially harmful side effects of their drugs. In a manner of speaking, they've covered their ass.

Four days before the election, the Indianapolis Star publishes a story questioning whether its endorsed candidate for Indianapolis mayor, Joe Hogsett, may have baggage in the form of conflicts of interest that he carries into office because of his current and past relationship with two major Indianapolis law firms. The story mentions the most obvious conflicts that arose this year, which the newspaper heretofore avoided discussing: the controversial Covanta recycling contract executed by Mayor Greg Ballard; and the controversial criminal justice center project Ballard pushed earlier this year, which was blocked by the City-County Council. Hogsett's current law firm employer, Bose McKinney & Evans, represents Covanta, and it had been paid $750,000 to lobby for the passage of the criminal justice center project, which I actually believe was nothing more than a payoff by the City to the law firm to cover the big six-figure salary Hogsett is earning while campaigning full-time for mayor instead of billing hours.

Hogsett didn't speak to the Star's reporter, John Tuohy, about his potential conflicts. Instead, he let his campaign manager, Thomas Cook, do the talking for him. Cook tells Tuohy that Hogsett's inability to speak about the Covanta contract will end as soon as he becomes mayor and is no longer employed by his law firm. Tuohy notes that the vast majority of Hogsett's $4 million in campaign contributions come from individuals and businesses doing business with the City. Cook tells Tuohy that Hogsett has proven by his past record he's not afraid of going after insiders. "There are many people who can vouch for the fact that Joe Hogsett has no problem going after insiders," Cook said, citing his record of fighting public corruption as federal prosecutor. How dumb does Cook think we are? Hogsett never prosecuted a single downtown insider. He couldn't participate in the prosecution of Ponzi schemer Tim Durham because his old law firm, Bingham Greenebaum Doll, represented Durham. He only used the threat of public corruption cases against Mayor Greg Ballard as leverage to convince him not to seek re-election so he could slide into the mayor's office. Whistle blowers will attest that his office told them to f _ _ _ off when they brought serious cases of public corruption requiring his immediate attention. Actions speak louder than words, Joe.

IBJ Publishing Issued Grand Jury Subpoena Over "Breaking Cardinal Rules" Book

A state grand jury convened in Louisville to investigate the allegations of a local prostitute, Katina Powell, accusing the University of Louisville's men's basketball program of hiring escorts to entertain members of its basketball team and recruits, has issued its first subpoena to the book author's publisher, IBJ Publishing. The Indianapolis-based book publishing company owned by Mickey Maurer confirmed it has been subpoenaed according to the Courier-Journal. Powell's co-author of "Breaking Cardinal Rules," Dick Cady, told the newspaper he has not yet been subpoenaed. Powell's attorney, Larry Wilder, has already said his client won't be cooperating in any of the investigations being conducted following the release of her bombshell book unless she's granted immunity from prosecution.

It's Not A Debate, Amos

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For the past two weeks, radio talk show host Amos Brown has been touting his so-called "debate" between Indianapolis mayoral candidates Chuck Brewer (R) and Joe Hogsett (D). Please, stop the lying. A question and answer session is not a debate, particularly when there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two candidates on the issues. No new ground was covered by this forum.This was the candidates' last joint appearance and it bombed badly. It was just another snooze fest where the two candidates all but hopped into bed and flip-flopped one another for personal gratification. It doesn't matter which of these two candidates wins on Tuesday. The downtown insiders have rigged control of our city-county government for yet another four years. Will there be anything left to steal by the end of this next mayor's term in office?

Early Voting Still Down Significantly From Four Years Ago In Marion County

In the closing days of Indianapolis' municipal election, voting turnout has improved only slightly from the first three weeks of early voting. New numbers released by the Marion Co. Election Board show in-person early voting down 43% from four years ago with 3,462 casting votes through the close of business yesterday compared to 6,031 votes cast by early walk-voting in 2011. Absentee balloting is only slightly better. The number of requests for absentee ballots is down 35% from four years ago with 6,663 requests being made to date compared to 10,297 at this point in 2011. As of yesterday, just 3,728 of those requested absentee ballots had been returned to the election board, or a return rate of about 56%.

Mayor Greg Ballard won the 2011 mayoral election by a margin of just about 7,500 votes. His margin was only a little over 5,300 votes in 2007 when he won by essentially the same three-point percentage margin he won in 2011. Election turnout was lower in 2007 than 2011. A little more than 26% of the voters participated in the 2007 municipal election compared to the nearly 30% who participated in the 2011 municipal election. There are several competitive council races that could be decided by a fewer than one hundred votes, and turnout in those close races will determine which political party controls the council for the next four years.

Democratic Party leaders cannot be happy with a low turnout number. Clearly, Democrats' chances improve in Marion County when more voters turn out to vote. They lost both the mayor's race and control of the council in 2007 during a low turnout election. The party still lost the mayor's race with a higher voter turnout in 2011, but it captured control of the council with that higher turnout vote.

WTHR's 13 Investigates: IRS Willfully Abetting Identity Theft By Illegal Aliens

This past week House Republicans in Washington announced the commencement of impeachment proceedings against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for misleading the efforts about the agency's unofficial policy of targeting conservative groups and purposefully destroying documents sought under congressional subpoena. Koskinen's removal from the IRS through the impeachment process has no chance of success because Senate Democrats will never provide the necessary votes Republicans in the upper chamber need to secure his conviction. WTHR's 13 Investigates has, however, uncovered very damning and shocking evidence against the agency that would, if made a part of those impeachment proceedings, make it difficult for Senate Democrats to defend Koskinen.

13 Investigates Bob Segall began a blockbuster investigative report last night that should scare the hell out of all Americans. IRS whistle blowers tell Segall that the IRS is essentially aiding and abetting people, including illegal aliens, in committing identity theft by using the social security numbers of law-abiding Americans to file tax returns and claim tax refunds. The whistle blowers spoke to Segall only if he agreed to hide their identity because they fear retaliation that occurred in the past to other IRS workers who blew the whistle on the agency willfully allowing illegal aliens to file fraudulent tax returns to claim billions of dollars in tax refunds annually. Shockingly, the IRS has a policy of not informing American citizens when their social security numbers have been compromised through identity theft. Here's the specific findings Segall's investigation uncovered:

  • The IRS accepts millions of tax returns – and issues tax refunds – even when taxpayer documents show clear warning signs of identity theft 
  • Confidential IRS policies instruct IRS employees not to tell taxpayers when someone else uses their social security number to earn income 
  • The IRS allows illegal immigrants to "borrow" social security numbers that do not legally belong to them 
  • The IRS is discontinuing a program to notify taxpayers when their social security number is used by someone else to gain employment
IRS employees complain to Segall they are being told to just "let it go" when they complain about the policy of covering up the rampant identity theft occurring through the use of other Americans' social security numbers. Previously, Segall reported on the practice of illegal aliens using taxpayer identification numbers assigned to them by the IRS for the purpose of filing tax returns to report income they earn, notwithstanding their inability to legally accept work in the U.S., to claim large tax refunds by overstating dependents and/or claiming earned income tax credits. Other illegal aliens who want to be able to provide an actual social security number to use for work purposes will use social security numbers belonging to other Americans. Their names clearly won't match the social security number when tax filings are made, but the IRS by policy does nothing to address mismatches. Shockingly, Segall uncovered the fact that the IRS is actually encouraging illegal aliens to use other Americans' social security numbers to file their tax returns, even thought it's a federal crime to do so. 

The IRS has instructed its employees to do nothing about tax returns filed by persons using someone else's social security number. By allowing the illegal aliens to use Americans' social security numbers, they are creating tax problems for those law-abiding citizens, who are being accused then by the IRS of filing false tax returns. You heard that right. The IRS will send the taxpayers whose social security numbers are being used by illegal aliens notices that they prepared inaccurate tax returns because the income reported for that number does not match their individual tax returns. Segall spoke to one taxpayers who spent months trying to straighten out the problem:
David Burian knew something was wrong the moment he opened the envelope.
"It was from the IRS, and they said I didn't report all of my income," the Fort Wayne businessman explained to 13 Investigates.
On the other side of the state, Alfred Allen received a letter that was nearly identical.
"I saw it was from the IRS, and I thought maybe it was my refund check. But it wasn't. They were telling me I had falsely done my taxes," the teacher explained from his Hobart home.
Both men were accused of underreporting their income, cheating the government out of money.
In reality, they are victims of identity theft. Undocumented workers got jobs using their social security numbers, making it appear Burian and Allen earned more income than they actually had. But the IRS wouldn't explain that to either victim.
"I called [the IRS] and they asked me if I worked for a company in Plainfield that I never heard of before. Then they told me what information I had to send in, but they didn't tell me anything else about what was going on," Burian said.
It took him months to prove to the IRS that the suspicious income was not his.
"I had to make a police report with the city of Fort Wayne. I had to make a police report with the state. I had to get an affidavit and sign that and then send it all to the IRS and wait and see what their response was," Burian explained, sifting through a large file full of correspondence and documentation related to the case. "It was very time consuming."
Allen had to do the same thing, and while he was trying to clear things up with the IRS, he and his family were denied state health insurance because of the mix up.
"I had to go months hoping my kids wouldn't get hurt because they didn't have the insurance," he said. "It was upsetting, a real hassle and kind of scary, really."
This is just simply unconscionable what our own government is doing to lawfully-abiding Americans in order to aid those who are living in this country illegally. When you stop to think about it, it really should come as no surprise. Private investigators have proven that President Barack Obama used identity theft to wiggle his way into the highest office of the land. Yes, E-Verify proved Barack Obama is using a social security number that was never legally assigned to him. Members of Congress, federal and state judges from across this country and other high-level government officials all know this to be true and nobody does anything about it for fear of retaliation.  If the President of the United States can appropriate another American's social security number for the big fraud he's perpetrated on the American people, why should illegal aliens be treated any differently? We have for all practical purposes ceased to become a nation of laws. The rule of law is nothing more than a figment of our imaginations. If you aren't scared to death by what's happening to this country, you should be.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Joe Hogsett Calls This Firing Up Center Township Democrats

I'm surprised Joe Hogsett would post a photo on his Twitter account of a sparsely attended meeting of Center Township Democrats describing him as "firing up this group" for his GOTV efforts. If this is any indication of the level of support in Center Township for his campaign going into Tuesday's election, voter turnout in Democratic precincts might just be down as much as it has been in early voting to date--nearly 50% below the close mayoral election four years ago. He's going to have to light a fire under someone's feet to turn things around by next Tuesday.

UPDATE: A reader forwarded the latest post on Thomas' Cook's Twitter page. He's Joe Hogsett's campaign manager. Perhaps it's an indication of how he's feeling about the campaign five days ahead of the election.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No Speeding Ticket For Mitch

A Purdue University police officer stopped Purdue University President Mitch Daniels last week for speeding 42 mph in a 20 mph zone and rolling through a stop sign. The dash cam video of the police officer shows her obvious surprise when she discovers she had pulled over the university's president. Daniels politely explained to the officer he had left without his cell phone and was in a hurry back home to retrieve it when she stopped him. He was very courteous to the female police officer, and she responded in kind by letting him off without a ticket or written warning. Daniels later tweeted about the traffic stop.

Tully: Joe Hogsett Won't Answer Questions About Anti-Downtown Insider Meme

I'll have to give Indianapolis Star political columnist credit for finally asking an uncomfortable question of his favored candidate for Indianapolis mayor, Democrat Joe Hogsett. Tully in his latest column questions whether Hogsett can really be believed when he claims he's going to take on the downtown insiders when his campaign is funded by them and he's been a part of that clique for decades. Tully had one problem. Hogsett refused to answer any questions when he learned the topic for his column. "I tried to ask Hogsett about all of this but his campaign went radio silent on me after I shared the point of this column," Tully writes. Sigh.

Former House Speaker Arrives At Federal Court To Plead Guilty

Hastert outside Dirksen Federal Building (Sun-Times Photo)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrived at the federal courthouse in Chicago this morning to plead guilty to charges he illegally paid $1.7 million to a man whom he was accused of sexually abusing when he was his high school wrestling coach four decades ago in Yorkville, Illinois. This is Hastert's first appearance since his formal charging on June 9. It is unclear which of the two federal charges he faces will be part of the plea agreement. The two charges were for evading federal cash transaction reporting requirements and lying to investigators about the purpose of the payments. It also is not known whether his accuser's identity will be protected, along with the allegations he made against Hastert, as part of the plea agreement. Federal prosecutors are asking for a sentence of anywhere from no time in prison to up to six months in prison. It makes one wonder what the purpose of the investigation was other than to embarrass the former House Speaker if it didn't involve a crime serious enough to warrant jail time.

UPDATE: Here's the U.S. Attorney's statement on today's plea agreement:
This morning, JOHN DENNIS HASTERT, 73, of Plano, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of illegally structuring cash withdrawals in order to evade financial reporting requirements. The Honorable U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin scheduled a sentencing hearing for February 29, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois issued this statement following the guilty plea:
“Now that Mr. Hastert has pled guilty, and the Court has accepted his guilty plea, the case will proceed to sentencing. As part of the sentencing process in this case, as in all cases, we will provide the Court with relevant information about the defendant’s background and the charged offenses, and the defendant will have an opportunity to do the same, so that the Court can impose an appropriate sentence taking into account all relevant factors in the case. We have no further comment about the matter at this time.”
And it looks like the public will have to look elsewhere to find out the information behind today's plea agreement since Hastert was not required to state the purpose for evading financial reporting requirements. A copy of the plea agreement can be viewed by clicking here.

University Of Louisville Accuser Won't Cooperate With Criminal Investigations Unless Granted Immunity

The prostitute who tells the story of how she provided adult entertainment services to the University of Louisville's basketball players and recruits in her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules" will not cooperate with investigations being conducted by university officials, the NCAA and local law enforcement unless she's granted immunity from prosecution. That's what Katina Powell's attorney, Larry Wilder, told ESPN 680 AM radio during an interview. Wilder says he believes Powell will be scapegoated. "There seems to be this boorish desire to burn her at the stake," Wilder said.

The basketball official whom Powell claims hired her and her daughters to provide adult entertainment to the Cardinals' players and recruits, Andre McGee, resigned his assistant coaching position with the University of Missouri-Kansas City last week. Wilder said McGee no longer has to cooperate in the NCAA's investigation following his resignation. According to the Courier-Journal, Kentucky does not allow for official immunity agreements, although the prosecutor could agree not to file criminal charges against Powell. Wilder claims his client never received money from McGee for prostitution, although her book says strippers she brought to parties, including her daughters agreed to have sex for money. Wilder says Powell's daughters were not underage at the time.

A former prosecutor told the Courier-Journal, he would charge everyone involved if he thinks crimes were committed and then cut deals as necessary to prosecute the case. University officials would only grant Powell immunity from civil litigation for defamation if it believed she fabricated her account. The Courier-Journal notes there could also be a fight over the royalties she earns from the book if crimes were committed or if the book contained lies that damaged the university. Powell is receiving just 10% of the revenues from the book. The book's publisher, IBJ Publishing, is receiving 90% of the revenues.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

St. Louis Airport Ends Free Parking Perk For Political Insiders: When Does Indy's Airport Follow Suit?

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport recently pulled the plug on courtesy parking cards for hundreds of area political insiders, and some of the privileged folks are demanding their return. Airport officials decided to end the decades-old program after the St. Louis Dispatch began requesting information about the perk, which permitted politicians, lobbyists and other political insiders unlimited free parking privileges at the airport's best and most convenient parking garages.

The recipients recently were mailed letters telling them their cards had been deactivated, along with a form they could complete if they believed they should be entitled to continue receiving the perk. The Post-Dispatch learned from its public records request that seven completed and returned the forms. A former airport commissioner, now retired, asked that he be grandfathered. St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar said he frequently had to travel to speak about trends in policing and should receive the perk. St. Louis County Sheriff James Murphy felt the same way. A long-time state senator complained that she felt cheated because Congressman William Clay's sister had a free parking card. A local minister complained he needed the parking pass because of travels related to his nonprofit work. All requests were denied.

Several years ago, the Indianapolis Business Journal exposed the fact that the Indianapolis International Airport doled out hundreds of free parking passes to political insiders, civic leaders and big corporate executives. Multi-millionaire businessman Scott Jones was on the list as were executives of Rolls-Royce, GM, Cummins and Clarian Health. Mayors and former mayors, city-county council members, airport board officials, members of Indiana's congressional delegation, all state lawmakers and dozens of other local government officials all qualified for the perk. Airport officials defended the perk, saying the total benefit conferred on the insiders added up to less than $200,000 in lost parking revenues annually.

It's too bad there aren't any investigative reporters left in Indianapolis to expose this and other self-dealing ways the insiders feather their own nests at our expenses. As I recall, it wasn't that long ago that airport officials were going to great lengths in an attempt to illegally block a private parking lot operator from conducting business near the airport out of concern for lost parking revenues from the competition. Maybe if it started collecting parking revenues from the insiders who travel much more frequently, often at the public's expense, it would have enough revenues to pay some of the gigantic debt it has amassed from the construction of the new airport terminal.

Cummins Slashing 2,000 Jobs

One of Indiana's leading manufacturing companies, Cummins, has announced it will slash its workforce by 2,000 employees before the end of the year because of a slowdown in global sales in an effort to save $160 to $200 million. The company employs nearly 8,000 Hoosiers. Cummins is currently building a new $30 million corporate headquarters in downtown Indianapolis where city officials donated land valued at $4.3 million and is offering the company a ten-year tax abatement. It's unclear where those planned layoffs will take place since Cummins' employees are scattered throughout several states and countries around the world. This may be a sure sign that the economic downturn hitting other parts of the world is now hitting home.

South Bend Council Candidate Faces Slumlord Accusations By Opponent

An independent member of the South Bend Common Council, Henry Davis, Jr., has accused his Democratic opponent, Regina Williams-Preston, of being a slumlord because of tens of thousands of dollars she and her husband owe in unpaid taxes and code enforcement fines on ten residential properties. The South Bend Tribune confirmed Williams-Preston owes over $77,000 on the properties, including $13,000 in unpaid property taxes and $64,000 in fees and penalties for code enforcement issues.

Williams-Preston says she and her husband bought the properties with the intention of fixing them up, but had to abandon those plans after her husband fell ill. She also described her situation as selective use of code enforcement to force gentrification. “If the goal is to get a person to fix up their home, is the right process to achieve that goal fining them exorbitant fines rather than providing them alternatives and connecting them with resources?” she said. Several of the homes have subsequently been demolished according to The Tribune.

Williams-Preston's opponent, who had been elected as a Democrat, chose to run for re-election as an independent. Davis has called her candidacy a "hoax" on South Bend's residents and referred to her as a slumlord. Davis is being sued by four South Bend police officers after he accused them of being racists after recordings of their conversations on city phone lines were improperly recorded and made public. Davis, in turn, is suing the city for failing to defend him against the police officers' lawsuit. A recent Court of Appeals' decision determined Davis' action were taken outside the scope of his role as a city council member.

Fort Wayne Mayoral Candidates Engage In Real Debate

If you want to see what a real political debate looks like, I would highly encourage you to watch the debate performance hosted by WANE-TV in prime time last night for Fort Wayne's mayoral candidates, incumbent Mayor Tom Henry (D) and City Council member Mitch Harper (R). It's an opportunity the Indianapolis media and its Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum candidates for mayor deprived Indianapolis voters before this election. Candidates were provided an opportunity for rebuttal to each other's responses, and each candidate was allowed to pose questions to their opponent. WISH-TV's Jim Shella and WTHR-TV's Mary Milz and Kevin Rader should be holding their heads in shame for those non-debates with pre-canned questions and answers they conducted with the Indianapolis' mayoral candidates that lasted only 30 minutes each.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Marion County Auditor Sues To Block Illegal Blue Indy Deal

Marion Co. Auditor Julie Voorhies
At last, there is one elected official left in Indianapolis City-County government who still believes in the rule of law. Marion Co. Auditor Julie Voorhies filed a lawsuit against Blue Indy, LLC, the City of Indianapolis and Regions Bank to block payment of $6 million the Ballard administration illegally transferred into a trust account for Blue Indy's benefit in fulfillment of a contract, under which Mayor Greg Ballard's administration broke numerous state and local laws to enter into with the French-owned company. The case filed by Voorhies, a Democrat, has been assigned to Marion Superior Court P.J. Dietrick's court, a Republican judge who formerly sat as a member of Marion County Election Board prior to running for judge.

The Indianapolis Business Journal is reporting the case was filed in the Marion Circuit Court; however, the state's court system is showing the case filed in Civil Court No. 12 as 49D12-1510-PL-035457. According to the IBJ, the complaint seeks to halt payment of the $6 million being held in trust by Regions Bank for Blue Indy's benefit and any additional construction of power charging stations on city-owned property for use by Blue Indy's electric car sharing business, a 15-year monopoly business Mayor Ballard awarded to the company without undertaking any competitive bidding process or without council approval. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment that the contract entered into with Blue Indy is illegal.
“Not only did the city fail to publicly bid the $6 million BlueIndy construction project, but the city also failed to obtain the necessary budget appropriations from the City-County Council and circumvented the approval of the Marion County auditor in issuing payment to BlueIndy,” according to a press release from the auditor’s office.
The Marion County Auditor should be praised by all Indianapolis taxpayers for having their backs. That's more than can be said for any other elected officials or the Democratic and Republican mayoral candidates, both of whom applauded the illegal deal and indicated they would enforce what is so clearly an illegal contract should either be elected mayor. All evidence points towards there being a corrupt motivation for breaking so many laws to enter into the agreement, making it all the more outrageous that Joe Hogsett, a former federal prosecutor, finds nothing wrong with so many laws being broken in order to steal tens of millions of dollars in public assets from Indianapolis taxpayers. So much for Hogsett's phony campaign meme about his plan to put a stop to "downtown insiders," whom he accuses in campaign ads of "cheating the system" and "stealing our tax dollars."

The Indianapolis media has completely fallen down on their job in reporting on this major public corruption scandal, which not only results in the theft of tens of millions of dollars in city assets, but which also poses a great risk to the public. Blue Indy is pawning off on Indianapolis residents an electric car sharing system that other countries in the European Union refused to allow to be operated in their countries. The billionaire owner of Blue Indy, Vincent Bollore', was only able to convince his home country of France to buy into the system. Bollore came to Indianapolis after he was first turned down by San Francisco officials.

The electric charging stations rolled out across the city are not UL-certified and potentially pose a risk of harm or death to people who use the electric cars charged by those power charging stations in the event of a malfunction. Even more concerning is the fact that the cars themselves have never been approved by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration for use on American highways. Bollore was allowed a waiver to import the cars for demonstration purposes only. News reports indicate that a number of the electric cars in use in Paris have caught fire and burned since they began operating. Bollore publicly blamed the burning cars on vandals. These facts have been completely ignored by other public officials and the media. Apparently the two candidates for mayor and the media are more interested in protecting the corrupt local business insiders who stand to make a lot of money off the one-sided deal with Blue Indy than the general public.

To view the text of the complaint, click this link here to view a copy made available by WTHR-TV.
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Check out this free advertising the Ballard administration is giving Blue Indy using our tax dollars on our local public access TV station, WCTY.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Brewer Finally Says Something To Distinguish Himself

It comes pretty late in the campaign, but Republican Chuck Brewer finally said something to distinguish himself from his Democratic opponent, Joe Hogsett. Brewer thinks it's time to end the practice of offering big tax breaks and incentives to attract large companies, and he thinks we've done enough already to promote development downtown. Here's the quote from his joint appearance with Hogsett on WTHR this morning:
“As a business owner, I can tell you what I think about giving away tax abatements or tax dollars to companies to attract them here,” said Brewer during a half-hour roundtable discussion with Democrat Joe Hogsett on WTHR-13. “At the end of the day, this is a race toward the bottom. Every city in America does it, and it’s OK if you are trying to develop something — but our Downtown is doing just fine.” . . . 
“The real focus we need to have as a city is to create the kind of place, the kind of success that companies want to locate here not because we are giving away the farm but because this is a great place to find talented workers and this is a great place to live and raise a family,” Brewer said. “I think we’ve given away enough tax dollars and now is the time to focus on creating a great quality of life.”
Brewer passed up an opportunity to challenge Hogsett on what he means when he says in his campaign ads that the "downtown insiders" are "cheating the system" and "stealing our tax dollars." It is absolutely stunning that neither Brewer nor a single member of the local media has seen fit to question Hogsett about what he meant by that statement, and if he believes what he says, why he didn't do anything about it when he was in a position to do something about it as federal prosecutor.

Brewer also passed up the chance to take Hogsett to task for saying he couldn't comment on the Covanta contract because his law firm represents the company, even though that didn't stop him from weighing in on the criminal justice center with an opinion when his law firm was being paid $750,000 by the City to convince the City-County Council to pass it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Star Endorses Hogsett

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Joe Hogsett (left) with Chuck Brewer (Star Photo)
The Indianapolis Star has endorsed Joe Hogsett over Republican Chuck Brewer in the Indianapolis mayor's race. It comes as no surprise and has little influence over how Indianapolis voters will make their choice for the city's next mayor since the vast majority of residents long ago stopped reading the newspaper. The editors, who acknowledge the candidates differ little on the issues. chooses Hogsett because of his experience. The editorial also claims without substantiation that Hogsett had a good record of taking on public corruption in his recent role as U.S. Attorney, which could be nothing further form the truth. Why do you think all of the people "cheating the system" and "stealing our tax dollars" (i.e., Joe's words) are contributing so heavily to his campaign?

Goshen Republican Council Candidate's Gay Profile On Adult Website Outed

GN1023 Randall, Brent
Brent Randall
A Republican candidate for the Goshen City Council confirmed to the Goshen News he maintains a profile on a public website,, used by gay men for casual hook-ups, Brent Randall, 53, tells the newspaper his life has changed considerably since his divorce after two decades of marriage six years ago. “I don’t even know if I consider myself bisexual or not. I just experimented a little since I was single again.”

Whatever his sexual orientation might be, Randall is clear on one thing. He opposes amending the city's civil rights ordinance to protect persons from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Randall said he believed gays are adequately protected under the current law and an amendment to the local law is unnecessary. He told the local newspaper his position remains unchanged following the revelation he sometimes hooks up with gay men for sex.
"I don’t know if I thought this wouldn’t come up or would (when running for office),” Randall said. “But I still believe in my heart of hearts that our gay and lesbian communities are protected currently under the law. If there are cases that need to be brought, let’s bring them. I don’t know why they feel they need special protections when there are other categories that might need protections. My little experimentation over the last six years hasn’t changed my view on that.”
Randall, who says he still dates women, is a prominent figure in the Goshen community where he is the voice of the local football and basketball teams during games on a local radio station. He also is the coach of the high school golf team and works as a relationship development manager for the local Ford dealership. “In the back of my mind I knew that profile was out there,” Randall said. “I really didn’t think it would come out. … It’s a bridge I really didn’t want to cross. The other side of that is I’ve been dating women too. It’s just something I’ve opened myself up for.”

Our municipal election in Indianapolis is just too boring this year. East Chicago has an accused murderer and drug dealer running for its city council. Evansville has an accused child molester on the ballot for city council. Rising Sun's municipal election is marred by allegations of vote fraud by a local police officer. And conservative Goshen has a confused 53-year old who likes experimenting in casual sex with gay men and doesn't mind advertising that fact on the worldwide web.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Former LGBT Lobbyist Had Sued Gay Rights Organization

Mark St. John
A long-time State House lobbyist, Mark St. John, 62, who died suddenly at his home this past Sunday from natural causes, was embroiled in a lawsuit against the former gay rights organization whose issues he had championed before state lawmakers for more than two decades at the time of his death. St. John's lobbying firm, St. John & Associates, which was formerly known as Lambda Consulting, filed a civil lawsuit in the Marion Superior Court on February 21, 2014 against Indiana Equality Action in which he claimed the civil rights advocacy group still owed his firm nearly $40,000 for governmental affairs and lobbying services.

St. John last lobbied on behalf of Indiana Equality Action in the 2012 legislative session. The Bilerico blog had reported in 2012 that the LGBT rights organization had planned to file bankruptcy as a result of financial mismanagement, including the theft of funds by a former treasurer for the organization. A representative of the organization, who did not want to publicly comment on the lawsuit, said the organization never filed for bankruptcy, although its board had originally approved taking that action in 2012. A renewed effort to advance LGBT rights in Indiana with large corporate backing came under a new organization, Freedom Indiana, which replaced Indiana Equality Action's role in lobbying for LGBT issues before the Indiana General Assembly. Relations with St. John and his lobbying firm were severed by the organization's new leadership, which envisioned a different direction for the organization.

St. John's lawsuit against Indiana Equality Action, which was filed on his behalf by attorney Aaron Haith, was still pending at the time of his death. Indiana Equality's attorney had filed a motion against St. John to compel discovery responses in the case on July 3, 2014. The Court had ordered St. John to respond to the discovery requests by August 29, 2014. Karen Celestino-Horseman, one of the attorneys who handled the successful challenge to Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act last year, had filed an appearance to represent Indiana Equality last November after its prior attorney, Mark King, had withdrawn from the case. No recent activity had taken place in the case according to court records.

Early Voting Down 50% In Marion County, Democratic Leaders Begin To Worry

Voting trends in recent elections have been moving decidedly in favor of the Democratic Party in Marion County, but a low voter turnout election could spell disaster for the party's mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett and the party's chances in a handful of council races that will decide control of the Indianapolis City-County Council for the next four years. If early voting is any indication, turnout for this year's municipal election could hit a record low.

Official numbers through the first two weeks of early voting show a 50% decline from the same period four years ago, 1,026 compared  to 2,073 four years ago. Although official numbers for early voting this week have not been released, Deputy Elections Director Russell Hollis tells Advance Indiana the numbers this week have continued running 50% below early voting numbers from four years ago,  although the clerk's office saw an uptick in the number of walk-in voters yesterday. There were 182 persons who took advantage of early voting in the clerk's office yesterday, the highest number of walk-in voters to date this election cycle.

Mayor Greg Ballard won a close re-election race in 2011 against Democrat Melina Kennedy in a contest that saw just under 30% of the county's registered voters cast a ballot. Ballard's 51% re-election number was nearly identical to the percentage of the vote he captured in 2007 when he upset incumbent Mayor Bart Peterson. A little more than 26% of the county's registered voters participated in the 2007 municipal election,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Star Swings And Misses On Misleading Hogsett Ad

Advance Indiana readers first brought to light the fact that Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett was trying to pass off the modest home where he is shown mowing his own yard while his wife talks about the fact he's wearing sneakers that are 30 years old as his own home. Our readers were right according to the Indianapolis Star's Truth Squad. The home shown in the ad is owned by a campaign supporter. The story's author then blows it by trying to make us believe the supporter's home is actually a larger home worth considerably more than Hogsett's home.
The ad’s overarching claim that Hogsett cut his office spending checks out.
But what doesn’t check out is the house the ad portrays as Hogsett’s residence. The house isn't his.
The campaign says it was forced to move the video shoot to another house because it lost the necessary lighting for the project after the sun went behind a tree. The video was taken at the nearby house of a campaign supporter.
That house is comparable to Hogsett's home in the Nora area. County records show the house in the ad has a marginally higher assessed value and is about 500 square feet larger than Hogsett's residence. Hogsett's home is assessed at a value of $226,700, while the house in the ad is valued at $286,500 . . .
The story doesn't identify the campaign supporter's name who owns the house shown in the ad so I can't verify their claim it's 500 square feet larger than Hogsett's residence. It sure doesn't look as big as Hogsett's house on East 82nd Street appears on Google Earth. And it certainly doesn't sit on a lot anywhere near the size of the over-sized lot Hogsett's home sits. The Star also conveniently refuses to delve into the curiosity surrounding the slashing of the assessed value on Hogsett's home by one-third this year from $338,100 to $226,700, which Advance Indiana told you about. Hogsett took out a $243,000 mortgage on the home when he purchased it in 2001, suggesting he probably paid somewhere between $270,000 and $300,000 for it 14 years ago. Only a fool would believe Hogsett's house in that upscale neighborhood is worth considerably less today than the price he paid for it in 2001. The Star concludes the ad simply took "artistic license" by representing another person's modest home as Hogsett's home.

The Star may have also missed on its mention of the home depicted in Republican Chuck Brewer's lone TV ad.
His Republican opponent, Chuck Brewer, also has run an ad showing him on the steps of a house talking to his son. It isn't Brewer's house, but the imagery doesn't suggest as strongly that it is. Brewer's residence is a rented apartment on the Southside of Indianapolis.
Advance Indiana is told by a blog reader that Brewer is now living in a house on N. Pennsylvania Street, the same one depicted in that ad, not in the apartment he used as a voting address down in Perry Township when he started using that address so he could run for an open City-County Council seat. He formerly owned a condo in the Athletic Club, which he sold in May to Dennis Dye, a partner of The Whitsett Group. Advance Indiana can't confirm at this point the validity of the reader's claim Brewer now lives on N. Pennsylvania. The reader posted anonymously so it could be a Hogsett supporter stirring the pot.

Northwestern University Gets $100 Million For Naming Rights Of Its Law School

It looks like Indiana University sold the naming rights to its two law school on the cheap to its vanity seekers. Billionaire J.B. Pritzker is acquiring the naming rights for Northwestern University School of Law, henceforth to be known as Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, in exchange for a gift of $100 million to the university. IU sold the naming rights to its two law schools in Indianapolis and Bloomington to Robert H. McKinney and Michael Maurer for $31.5 million and $35 million, respectively.

UPDATE: Another vanity-seeking billionaire, former CitiGroup CEO Sandford I. Weill, and his wife, Joan, withdrew their $20 million donation to Paul Smith's College in upstate New York after a judge ruled the college could not be renamed for them because of the founder's will, which required it to be forever known as Paul Smith's College. A new library and study area at the college had already been named after Weill based on prior donations. Weill's CitiGroup was the largest beneficiary of government bailout money following the 2008 financial crisis, receiving $476.2 billion. These greedy banksters are shameless.

Binkley's Held Up In Front Of Customers

The out-of-control crime in Indianapolis was on full display at a popular Broad Ripple area bar last night. Three black males entered Binkley's shortly after 11:00 p.m. and held up the bar and some of the customers at gunpoint. Fortunately, nobody was injured during the robbery. Police are unsure how much money the armed bandits made off with from the hold-up.

Rising Sun Police Officer Faces 13 Vote Fraud-Related Felony Charges

A Rising Sun police officer beating the bushes to get votes in this year's Democratic municipal primary election where his father was running for a contested council seat has been charged with 13 felony charges after a State Police investigation found evidence of vote fraud. Lowell Ross Colen, 42, has been charged with multiple counts of vote fraud, forgery, ghost employment and official misconduct.

State Police opened an investigation this past June following allegations of Colen's activities to influence people to vote in this past May's primary election in Ohio County where his father was seeking a seat on the Rising Sun city council. “While doing so, he allegedly filled out absentee applications and ballots for individuals who were not eligible to vote in Ohio County. Colen allegedly forged signatures on some of the applications and ballots and submitted them to the Ohio County Clerk’s Office,” said ISP Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, public information officer for the ISP Versailles Post.

An Indiana State Police news release says Colen was in his police uniform on on duty at the time some of the alleged criminal actions took place. At the conclusion of the ISP's investigation, the case was turned over to the Ohio County Prosecutor's Office, which issued a bench warrant for Colen's arrest on Wednesday. According to, Colen's father, Francis "Swede" Colin, defeated James McDaniels in this May's primary in a city council race by 273 to 161 votes. Colin's father is a former Ohio County sheriff. Colen is currently on leave from his job as a result of a work-related injury he sustained last month.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brewer Turns To Ballard For Help

Apparently Republican mayoral candidate Chuck Brewer thinks an appeal from Mayor Greg Ballard in the closing two weeks of the campaign is his silver bullet. The ad also plugs the council candidacies of  Colleen Fanning, who is running against Kip Tew in District 2 and Anthony Davidson, who is running against Frank Mascari in District 21.

Back To The Future Day

The media is abuzz with stories reminding us that October 21, 2015 was the day Michael J. Fox's character, Marty McFly, in the Hollywood movie, "Back To The Future 2," travelled to in 1989 to save his children. What predictions did the movie get right about the future? Well, as this YouTube video explains, some believe the "Back To the Future" movie trilogies actually predicted the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Coincidentally, the latest film of director Robert Zemeckis, who directed the "Back To The Future" trilogy, "The Walk," opened this month, and it depicts the 1974 high-wire act of Phillipe Petit between the two World Trade Center towers. Petit, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is dressed remarkably similar to Marty McFly's character in "Back To The Future" as he performs his high-wire act.

With No Re-Election Worries, Carmel Mayor, Council Raises Taxes, Hike Salaries

Chicago is doing it. Why shouldn't Carmel? Carmel voters faced with no realistic chance of defeating its mayor and council candidates effectively re-elected in this year's primary in the one-party city learn their taxes are going up and salaries for key officials are being hiked. A $200,000 home will be hit with an average $60 increase under a property tax increase approved by the council and mayor as part of next year's budget. Mayor Jim Brainard, the city's clerk-treasurer and council members will each receive 3% pay raises.

The council's city attorney, who walked off the job just weeks ago after learning he would have to attend a council meeting instead of getting time off from work to help his daughter move into college, is getting a whopping raise from $121,429 to $145,917. So Brainard not only allowed the insubordinate employee to come back to work after he quit in a huff, he gets a $24,000 pay raise to boot. He must have some real good dirt on the mayor. Brainard's spokesperson, Nancy Heck, will also get a big pay bump. Her salary is being increased from $105,105 to $116,619. Heck will also get to hire a new project manager to work under her who will make $71,500 a year.

UPDATE: Ditto the City of Fishers. Property tax rates are going up, and there will be across-the-board pay raises for city employees. The mayor's $125,000 a year salary will remain unchanged.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Evansville Council Candidate Admits Having Sex With Male Student Decades Ago

Jack Schriber
A Republican at-large candidate for the Evansville City Council, Jack Schriber, admits he engaged in sexual relations with a male student decades ago when he was an English teacher at Evansville's Central High School. Schriber, now 70 and retired from his former teaching job, tells the Evansville Courier & Press the relationship with the student was consensual. The former male student told a different story to Evansville police. He says Schriber coerced him into a nonconsensual sexual relationship when he was between the ages of 15 and 17.

The victim told police he met Schriber through his activities in the music and theater departments during middle school and high school. The victim came forward with the decades' old allegations in July after he learned Schriber was running for city council. The victim told police that Schriber never threatened or forced him to have sex with him, but he felt he would suffer penalties to his academic and school activities if he didn't continue the relationship with Schriber.

Police released a letter Schriber had recently written to the victim, who is now married with children, in which he accepted responsibility for blurring the lines between teacher and student. Schriber asked his former student to accept his apology for his actions. Schriber blamed his inappropriate relationship with a student on mental health issues he had following his service in the Vietnam War and public prejudices against same-sex attractions. "[I]t was shameful, and you didn't want people to know." Schriber admitted to police he had engaged in sexual relations with students other than this one victim. Schriber said he stopped having sex with students about 20 years ago after he went into therapy to treat his mental health issues. The Courier & Press offered more details of the police investigation:
"Schriber began to tell me that he had a lot of students over at his home at that time because times were different," Turpin reported. "I asked why he thought this happened and Schriber told me that he thought this had occurred due to a lot of confusion he had. I asked what the confusion was about, and he said he had gone into training to be a Green Beret and was shot during the Vietnam War. I asked where it was and he said a bullet grazed his leg. He said he didn't know if he had killed people over there because so much had been blocked out.
"Schriber said that he also was confused because at that time there was no support for the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community like there is now."
In his report, Turpin said Schriber compared it to being a pregnant teenager at the time, and that Schriber said, " was shameful and you didn't want people to know."
"I asked Schriber how long this had gone on with students and he said it stopped years ago," Turpin wrote. "I asked what made it stop and he said about 20 years ago he began working at the Evansville Children's Psychiatric Center. Schriber said that he realized he had a problem and that he went into five years of intense therapy."
When Turpin asked Schriber what the therapy was for, Turpin said Schriber replied it was for things he suppressed from Vietnam, having an autistic grandson, and for his sexuality, according to the police report.
The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office closed the file on the investigation of Schriber after it determined the statute of limitations had run on his past crimes. "What they sent to us, we determined it exceeded the statute of limitations," Hermann said. He noted that the statute of limitations is five years. Schriber, who retired from the school in 1970, is currently employed as an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Southern Indiana. Schriber announced hours after news reports aired today that he was abandoning his campaign for an at-large seat on the Evansville City Council. Due to the late date of his withdrawal, Republicans are not able to replace him with another candidate on the ballot for an election where early voting has already commenced.

Fort Wayne Chamber Delivers Middle Finger To Harper's Anti-Crony Capitalism Views

It sure as hell isn't your father's chamber of commerce. The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, which used to reliably support Republican candidates for local office in Allen County, is giving thumbs down to several good Republican candidates for municipal office this year, including mayoral candidate Mitch Harper. The Fort Wayne chamber endorsed Harper's Democratic opponent, incumbent Mayor Tom Henry, and withheld its support for several other Republican council candidates who share Harper's outspoken opposition to crony capitalism and the local income tax increased pushed through the council this past term by Mayor Tom Henry with the chamber's support.

The News-Sentinel's Kevin Leininger, an excellent newspaper political columnist of the type we're sorely missing here in Indianapolis, notes in a column today the shift in the Fort Wayne Chamber's views.
. . . Remember when chambers of commerce were considered house organs of the GOP? The endorsements by the Greater Fort Wayne Business PAC, which is "supported" by Greater Fort Wayne Inc. but a separate entity, indicate those times have changed. Not only did the PAC not support Harper, who is City Council's appointment to the GFW Board, it also pointedly did not endorse several other Republican candidates who share his view that, when it comes to economic development, government "shouldn't pick winners and losers."
That sentiment is shared by 1st District Council candidate Paul Ensley and 4th District candidate Jason Arp, neither of whom was endorsed in favor of Mike Conley and Rusty York, respectively. Third District Republican Russ Jehl, who like Harper was skeptical of council's decision to increase the local income tax a couple of years ago, also was not endorsed. Neither was his opponent, Michelle Merritt.
Incumbent Republican John Crawford, R-at large, was endorsed. He is known as a fiscal conservative but also served on Henry's policy committee that recommended the increase in the first place . . .
Mitch Harper's reaction to the chamber's support of the tax-and-spend Democratic incumbent mayor is spot-on:
"Greater Fort Wayne) isn't a true chamber of commerce anymore. It's (made up of) those who seek to harness government . . . often for private benefit," Harper told me after he suggested to Rotarians gathered at Parkview Field that government should use its resources to create common wealth -- that is, benefits for all -- and not specific businesses. It's one thing, he said, to provide incentives such as sewer lines and roads, and quite another to provide incentives that, in effect, benefit one taxpayer at the expense of another. Harper currently represents the 4th District on council.
Harper's analysis of the Fort Wayne chamber is equally as applicable to the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, which I view as the most anti-business, anti-taxpayer chamber of commerce in the United States. The chamber has supported every tax increase enacted in the past decade. It has supported every publicly-financed sports stadium and enhanced subsidies to the team's billionaire owners. It supported each of the three sales of the Indianapolis Water Company, even though each successive sale compounded the screwing of the utility's ratepayers. It has supported new regulations on businesses. It opposes ethical reforms to clean up government. And it supports an increasingly-powerful municipal executive at the expense of the legislative branch, which it believes should serve nothing more than an advisory role. What it particularly favors are large public subsidies for a select favored group of businesses at the expenses of all other businesses, even if that results in shifting the tax burden to other property taxpayers and business owners.

The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce is supporting Joe Hogsett for mayor, who also enjoys the endorsement of every major union hall in town. When labor unions unanimously support a candidate backed by the chamber of commerce, something has become a tad eschew. Like the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, the Indy Chemaber withheld support of Republican council candidates like Christine Scales who have been stronger watch dogs for the taxpayers and opposed tax increases backed by the chamber. Unless you rely on a government contract or government subsidies for your business, there is no reason any other business owner would want to throw money away on an organization that is so hostile to the interests of the vast majority of business owners and taxpayers as the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

Hogsett Has Another TV Ad Attacking The "Downtown Insiders"

Joe Hogsett's nearly $4 million campaign war chest was raised from the downtown insiders he's attacked in his campaign commercials as people "who cheat the system and steal your tax dollars." He started running another ad this week which begins with him sitting atop a downtown building once again attacking the downtown insiders. Unlike the prior ad, this one has not been uploaded to his campaign's YouTube account, probably because he doesn't want this blog to call attention to it like we have in the past.

In not single interview or public forum has a single news reporter bothered to ask Hogsett to discuss whom he believes those downtown insiders are who are cheating the system and stealing our tax dollars and what changes he plans to make to put an end to it. I find that very odd. Don't you?

Here's a "Souls To The Polls" ad his campaign is running on black radio in an attempt to get black voters, who have shown little interest in either candidate's campaign like most of Indianapolis' residents, to go to the polls to vote for him.

Monday, October 19, 2015

IMPD Officer Cleared In Fatal Crash

An IMPD officer who struck and killed a pedestrian on a busy Southport Road last month will not face criminal charges. Officer Bernardo Zavalza's police cruiser struck 53-year old Ronny Bowling in a dimly-lit intersection on the night of September 24 while Bowling was walking in the middle of the street. WTHR shared this statement from Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry on today's decision:
The death of Mr. Bolwing is a tragedy, and we extend our condolences to his family and loved ones. As with any fatal crash, our office has made a thorough review of all evidence related to the incident and determined that the actions of Officer Bernardo Zavalza do not rise to the level of criminal charges as prescribed by state statutes," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement. 
IMPD Chief Rick Hite is still recommending Zavalza's termination as an officer because the officer violated the department's zero tolerance policy against operating a police vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. A blood/alcohol test administered two hours and 45 minutes after the crash showed an alcohol level of .029, well below the legal limit of 0.08. Officer Zavalza was off-duty at the time of the crash.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Property Tax Assessment On Joe Hogsett's Home Cut 33%!

I don't know about other Indianapolis residents, but the property tax assessments on my residence has been trending up in each of the past three assessment cycles. The property tax assessment on the Washington Township home of Joe Hogsett, the Democratic candidate for mayor, just got reduced by 33%. Are property values on East 82nd Street on the city's far north side actually declining? It does not appear that Hogsett even had to file an appeal to get the assessed value of his home reduced from $338,100 to $226,700.  I'm wondering if those taxpayer savings Hogsett is promising in his campaign commercials will net the rest of us a one-third cut in our property taxes.

2013 assessment = $40,100 land + 298,000 improvements = $338,100
2014 assessment = $40,100 land + 298,000 improvements = $338,100
2015 assessment = $40,100 land + 186,600 improvements = $226,700

Hat tip to the observant Advance Indiana reader, UniGov, who picked up on Hogsett's property tax deduction.

UPDATE: I had to share Hogsett's Twitter post tonight showing off his luxury suite view of tonight's Colts-Patriots game while falsely claiming he took on the rule-breakers as federal prosecutor. Au-contraire, Joe. Name one corrupt politician you put in prison, Joe? Lincoln Plowman doesn't count. He was indicted before you became federal prosecutor. And you didn't have anything to do with the prosecution of Ponzi schemer Tim Durham because you had a conflict of interest. You let Carl Brizzi and many others walk. He has also committed to enforcing the Blue Indy and Vision Fleet contracts that Mayor Ballard illegally executed. So much for taking care of rule-breakers, Joe.
Not that it will come as a surprise, but both Hogsett and his Republican opponent have committed to supporting continued subsidies to the Pacers and the Colts. Why wouldn't he? He's pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the billionaire owners, their lobbyists and attorneys. He also plans to support public subsidies to build a new stadium for the Indy Eleven. He will deny he has already taken a position on the issue, but his campaign manager, a big Indy Eleven fan, knows otherwise. Why do you think Hogsett declined prosecution of the misuse of those federal grant dollars by the Ballard administration that benefited the Indy Eleven's owner?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Marion County Taxpayers Surprised By Another Backdoor Tax Increase

There isn't a tax or fee Mayor Greg Ballard and our Indianapolis City-County Council haven't seen fit to raise during the past eight years, which is a bit ironic given that Ballard was swept into office in 2007 amidst an anti-tax fervor. As property tax bills began arriving in residents' mailboxes this past week, they realized they were being socked with yet another gigantic tax increase in the form of storm water fees tacked on to their property tax bill. WTHR's Mary Milz says the Marion Co. Treasurer's Office is being swamped with phone calls from angry taxpayers about the surprising tax increase.
Talk about sticker shock. More than a quarter-million homeowners in Marion County have seen a huge jump in storm water fees. According to the Marion County Treasurer's Office, the average hike is 113%. (Just under 37,000 homeowners saw rates drop, an average of 11%.)
That news has flooded the treasurer's office with more than 2,500 calls the last two days and hundreds of walk-ins.
It began after property owners got a second property tax bill this week. Storm water fees are tacked on to the spring bill, but since the new rates didn't take effect until July 1, a second bill was required.
The rate changes were approved by the City-County Council and mayor last fall to help pay for upgrades and improvements to the city's aging storm water system.
Instead of paying a flat $2.25 a month, the new rate is based on the amount of impervious surface a homeowner has.
Last month, Department of Public Works Spokesman Brian Easley told us "impervious surface is anything rain has to run off of. That includes a home, garage, driveway, sidewalk, patio, deck and pool. The more impervious space a homeowner has, the more he or she will pay.
Anthony Hoffman was one of the homeowners who saw his bill spike to $12.10 a month or "six months higher." Seeing how much more he was paying, he half-jokingly said, "wow, I should tear out my driveway."
Officials in the treasurer's office said most of the calls were from people wondering why they were getting a second bill and why their rates had gone up.
"We did advise them last spring that this would be happening, but I don't know if they just did not anticipate that. Our phones are very busy right now," said Cindy Land, stressing, "the treasurer is merely the collector, the treasurer is not who established those rates."
In his last few months in office, Ballard has been busy beating the bushes talking to folks his administration has handsomely rewarded with your taxpayer dollars, reminding them they better not forget what he's done for them as he goes in search of his post-mayoral lucre. A prison cell in the Terre Haute federal penitentiary is the only appropriate spot for this man to land after the way he's raped and plundered the City of Indianapolis during his eight years in office.

Star Describes Mayoral "Debate" As Pillow Fight

The Indianapolis Star's John Tuohy had the same reaction I had to last night's only televised debate between Indianapolis' Democratic and Republican mayoral candidates, albeit more politely stated than my description of it on Facebook. It wasn't a debate at all. It was nothing more than a question-and-answer session that lasted just 30 minutes with no opportunity for rebuttal. The forum's host, Jim Shella, lobbed the predictable softball questions one would expect from one of the downtown mafia's go-to political reporters.
It wasn't a verbal donnybrook, like some of the Republican presidential debates, or a back-alley knife fight or a prizefight.
Instead, viewers of the first Indianapolis mayoral debate watched a political pillow fight.
Democrat Joe Hogsett and Republican Chuck Brewer scarcely laid a glove on each other in a half-hour debate Friday evening. They agreed on the need for better mass transit and more police. Neither wanted to short-circuit the city's electric car-share program or throw away the city's single-source recycling plan.
The general agreement on almost all issues followed the mold of most of the community forums in which the two have participated during this campaign. Except here, the time was more compressed and the questions from moderator Jim Shella of WISH-8 came rapid-fire, with limited time to answer and no chance of rebuttal.
The closest the two came to friction was on the plan for a new criminal justice center proposed by Republican Mayor Greg Ballard that was scrapped when Democrats on the Indianapolis City-County Council objected to the cost. Brewer blamed Hogsett for helping to kill it by publicly coming out against the proposal after contracts were awarded and it neared final approval..
"It was stopped at the 1-yard line because of politics," Brewer said . . .
Both candidates said they thought a controversial electric car sharing program, BlueIndy, was worth preserving because of the long-term benefits to the environment and its contribution as an alternative mode of transportation.
"I would inherit it and honor the contract and make it work," Hogsett said, adding that there should have been more "transparency" by the Ballard administration on how many city resources would be needed to roll out the program. "My obligation (as mayor) would be to make sure it works."
Brewer said BlueIndy would be a good program in the long run.
"The bottom line is the city has already entered the contract, and to get out of it would require a lot of skin in the game," Brewer said.
Tuohy neglected to mention the only newsworthy item that came out of last night's forum when Hogsett said he couldn't comment on the City's controversial, one-sided recycling contract with Covanta because his law firm, Bose McKinney, represented the recycler in a deal that benefits only the private contractor as with virtually every privatization scheme this corrupt administration has concocted the past eight years. The Ballard administration, which in typical form entered into the contract without any competitive bidding process, sold its value based on a similar recycling plant in Montgomery, Alabama that abruptly shut down earlier this month because of changes in commodity prices for recycled goods.

The only point of disagreement noted between the two candidates was the controversial privatization of a new criminal justice center proposed by the current administration, which the council rejected after this blog published a series of damning reports on the deal and what it would mean to Indianapolis taxpayers. The Star and the rest of the media in this town beat up on council members for rejecting the deal because they have a problem whenever any public officials block deals intended to defraud taxpayers in order to financially reward a handful of downtown insiders they favor.

Actually, Hogsett had a glaring conflict on that deal as well. His law firm had been hired by the Ballard administration under a $750,000 contract to lobby the council to approve the criminal justice center deal, an amount that pretty much covered the salary and benefits the law firm will have paid Hogsett from the time he left the U.S. Attorney's Office last year and when he takes office as mayor on January 1. Hogsett draws his big six-figure salary free of any billing requirements like other attorneys while he campaigns virtually full-time for mayor. If he had a real opponent instead of a fall-guy opponent like Chuck Brewer, he would have been accused of accepting a bribe from the law firm. The Ballard administration abruptly cancelled the lucrative contract with his law firm after Hogsett announced his opposition to the criminal justice center deal.

Hogsett's good buddy, Evan Bayh, followed the same path during the two-year period he ran for the U.S. Senate after he left the governor's office. He received about $1 million from the Baker & Daniels law firm while he devoted all of his time running for the Senate without any billing requirements. Everyone knows why guys like Hogsett and Bayh are given high-paid jobs at law firms for no work. Their employers know they will be rewarded with no-bid contracts and favored treatment of their clients once they take office. It is bribery by any other name. In Bayh's case, his law firm lobbies Congress. Hogsett's law firm both lobbies city government and has been a reliable recipient of no-bid contracts for legal work. His firm is guaranteed to be sitting in the driver's seat when he becomes mayor.

Watching Hogsett dismiss any problems with the blatantly illegal and criminal contracts the Ballard administration entered into with Blue Indy and Vision Fleet is evidence of a man who is too bribed up to represent the public's interest, not of the tough prosecutor he falsely portrays himself as in his bid for mayor. During his time as U.S. Attorney, he covered up rather than prosecute major public corruption events occurring on his watch. Those who benefited from his failure to prosecute public corruption are lavishing campaign contributions on his mayoral campaign, which is out-raising and out-spending Brewer's campaign by a 4-1 margin.

Those disgusted by Hogsett's self-dealing ways have little choice in Brewer. The guy only moved to Indianapolis about four years ago to open up a fast food restaurant. He has no family here, and he has no prior association with the Republican Party. I've yet to be able to discern a single Republican view he holds. He's in the military reserves where he is subject to be called up for active duty service on a moment's notice that could force him to abandon the mayor's office for months at a time.

The story goes that Marion Co. GOP Chairman Kyle Walker stumbled onto Brewer while dining at his Potbelly sandwich shop on the Circle. Brewer started providing free meals to Walker and other party workers when they came into his sandwich shop. This led to Walker asking him about his interest in running for the City-County Council. There was only one problem. Brewer lived in a downtown condo far from the south side council district where Walker wanted him to run. Brewer missed on the first attempt to find an apartment address in the south side district before finding another apartment in a complex owned by the politically-connected J.C. Hart within the district. Called out by this blog for voting somewhere he didn't live, Brewer had no choice but to sell his lovely downtown condo and live in an apartment he had no desire to live.

When Walker failed to find a candidate willing to run for mayor, Brewer stepped up and ran. The guy had never even attended a single city council meeting at the time, let alone have any knowledge of our City-County government. But the decision would financially benefit Walker, whose wife, Jennifer Hallowell, is getting paid $10,000 a month by Brewer's campaign to run a lousy, uninspiring campaign, even if the Republican Party and the city's residents were denied a legitimate candidate for mayor of the state's largest city.

If you choose not vote in this year's municipal election as a form of protest, it is totally understandable. It's not like your vote is going to make any difference. The same handful of downtown insiders will continue operating their organized crime syndicate and defrauding us out of our precious tax dollars while neighborhoods across the city crumble and fall further in decline as downtown continues to thrive and prosper from the disproportionate investment of billions of our tax dollars within the mile square. Your taxes will continue to go up as you get fewer services in return. It's why so many have thrown in the towel and moved to the suburbs where taxes are lower, schools and services are better and crime is lower.