Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why Aren't Council Republicans Asking Questions About the CIB?; The Future of the Marion County GOP

In today's Indianapolis Star, Vic Ryckaert writes about Council member Ed Coleman's decision to leave the Republican Party and become a Libertarian. Coleman is quoted in the article and his observations are right on the mark, and disturbing.

According to Ryckaert:

"Coleman said he faced criticism from fellow Republicans when he opposed the 'secretive and expensive affairs of the Capital Improvement Board.'"
Coleman had previously spoken out for accountability and that the secretive CIB open its books and tell council members and taxpayers what is going on. This begs the question, why aren't ALL of our Republican and Democrat council members demanding the same?

I've been involved in Marion County GOP politics since 1986. I know how a handful of people run things and put corporate interests ahead of taxpayers. Anyone who dares speak out is subject to intimidation and retaliation. I've witnessed it first hand. As Ed Coleman says "The two old parties want obedient followers, not leaders." Absolutely. When I ran for Clerk in 2002, I was told by that party leaders at that time that the triumvirate of Keeler/Cottey/Schneider, who ran things at the time, would not support me because I "could not be controlled." If anyone believes Coleman hasn't been retaliated against by CIB President Bob Grand, Joe Loftus, and those of their ilk, for speaking out about the need for the CIB to be open and accountable, I have some swampland in Florida I'd like to sell.

I know many of the Republican council members. Most are thoughtful and dedicated councilors. Yet, when push comes to shove, they're not about going to climb out of the foxhole and lead the charge against the enemy. They are followers. And that's what those running the show want. They don't want people on the council who will dare challenge what they're doing.

Republicans cannot continue to allow the elitist, country-club wing of the Republican party dominate and use government to make themselves and their wealthy patrons richer at taxpayer expense. Republicans have no chance to win elections in Marion County without a more populist approach. Don't think for a second that Bob Grand and Joe Loftus don't know that. They don't expect Ballard to win re-election or for the Republicans to have a majority on the council after 2011. Rather than encourage the Ballard and council Republicans to pursue a more populist approach which might actually give Ballard and the majority Republicans on the council some chance at winning in 2011, they are using their positions to cash in now, selling out the future of the Republican Party.

I believe their days are numbered, however. While populists won the 2007 election, the elitist wing of the Republican won the transition, pushing a naive, politically-inexperienced mayor to reject the taxpayer-loving friends who helped him get elected in favor of the party's insiders and high-rollers. Populists won't make the same mistake next time. After the upcoming 2011 election debacle, heads need to roll. The people responsible for selling out the Marion County GOP for personal profit (e.g. Grand and Loftus), and those who aided them in that cause (e.g. Marion County Chairman Tom John and Councilor Ryan Vaughn), need to be held accountable on November 9, 2011 for what they have done. Their days of influence peddling and/or political careers need to be over.


Anonymous said...

How does he do it?! Just heard Abdul (Maurice) being the consumate apologist for Ballard on the CIB issue. If it was Peterson he would have been blathering at length about "priorities and vision". I guess the consuling contract between Ballard/tom John and Abdul is paying off.

varangianguard said...

Twenty years, and you're still surprised? Really?

Two minor comments.

Rare it is to find a politician willing to climb out of even a proverbial foxhole and lead any kind of charge.

You have land in Florida that isn't swampy? I didn't think that existed, except in real estate fairy tales. lol

Anonymous said...

I’m gonna ask a question that may seem entirely off-base, unfounded, and entirely without merit. But that’s what happens when public officials decide that public budgets to the tune of millions of dollars should be kept secret and closed to public scrutiny. Even moreso, it’s what happens when other elected officials aren’t even allowed to look at those books. The unfounded question that I will ask is the result of decisions by the Indianapolis Capitol Improvement Board (CIB) and other leaders who decided that the public shouldn’t be privy to the financial decisions that are made with public funds. I guess you could say that my challenge here is a human nature. When left completely in the dark, people often tend to assume the worst.

Now that you lknow why I’m asking the question, please bear with me – my points are not intended for those with short attention spans.

I’ll frame some of the background for the question. For a long time now (several decades) the city of Indianapolis has been plagued by illegal gambling operations known as peashakes. The peashakes exist in various private buildings that are located within poor neighborhoods throughout the city. They are a lottery of sorts, where participants purchase numbers and are awarded with cash prizeswhen their number is drawn. Proponents claim that the peashakes are good for the neighborhood while opponents claim that they are a blight, sucking good money out of the hands of hopeful people, with some accusations that additional criminal activity is often associated, such as illegal drugs and other activity that has a negative impact on communities.

On numerous occasions the peashakes have been highlighted in local press and the police have been forced to make a gesture and give a public impression of lawfulness by shutting down a few of them. For the most art, they are up and running within a few days. Local and state elected officials have been connected to protecting or operating the peashakes, and Indianapolis police records have been altered to protect individuals who are connected to the illegal activities. The obvious implication is that there is an interconnected and well oiled operation in place within Indianapolis government that allows the peashakes to operate with minimal lawful interference.

And what does that mean when this activity is allowed to continue unfettered? Estimates of annual peashake profits have exceeded $10 million annually. That means that $10 million dollars in hard cash must be laundered every year. In turn, that means that some finance entity is involved and is allowing illegal funds to be deposited into their accounts. The peashake issues go beyond local crime and corrupt politics. They involve financial crimes that provide illegal capital to money lending institutions. Our fractional reserve banking system makes laundering a very alluring and highly profitable enterprise for unethical banking officials.

So how does all of this relate to CIB? Like I said at the beginning, when you refuse to disclose public budgets to elected officials and to the general public, human nature tends to send us jumping to conclusions. In my case, the conclusions that I arrive at are based upon actual circumstances and their drivers – known and unknown. When we look at CIB’s history of operating in the dark with relatively no opposition, it begs the question “why not?” With that much money involved, and with key investors who stand to earn significant profits from CIB activity, wouldn’t a high level of transparency be expected? Apparently, that’s not the case when CIB is involved. Why not?

This is where we have to rely upon speculation, since CIB refuses to let the people know the facts. The first impression is that they must be hiding something. What are they hiding? We can only guess, but we can frame our guess around known circumstances. For example, we know that city officials and law enforcement are already involved in protecting illegal gambling and money laundering operations. That’s a given. We also know that in spite of peashakes being controlled/protected primarily by democrat officials, we have a republican prosecutor, Carl Brizzi, who has been quite obviously absent in persuing and preventing continued peashake activity. It’s patently obvious that Brizzi has been tasked to keep the peashakes off of his radar.

So we have a lack of political capital being invested in the peashake issue, although its clearly apparent that at election time the local GOP could easily leverage the illegal activities of democrat officials, and it’s obvious that the GOP Prosecutor could quickly and decisively show the GOP’s capability of improving the city and eliminating corruption in government and within the finance industry.

So what does this all mean? It means that the democrats aren’t the only one’s who have something to hide in Indianapolis. There’s something else going on that’s become the foundation of an agreement between the two to allow each to continue their illicit affairs without interference. My suspiscion is that the CIB is somehow connected to the arrangement, and that financing of CIB activities may be at the core of the issues. The protection of profit and finance arrangements between peashakes and CIB may be the tradeoff that has allowed the peashakes to operate relatively unchallenged.

Which finally leads me to my question for anyone reading this: The players are the members of the CIB board and CIB investors, the people invoilved in peashakes, the political supporters of both organizations, and the banks who are involved in the financing and laundering. Can you place those names and entities on a chart and draw connections between them?

It may be a pointless exercise, but it’s one worth engaging in. The CIB is suggesting that they have something to hide. The GOP isn't helping. Maybe its time for people to start doing the digging. Map out the palyers and find the connections.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Coleman is not the ONLY person who has become VERY disillusioned with the so-called Republican party, both here, and nationally.

Republicans have FORGOTTEN where they came from and what they used to be for. Their sole intend now is to be re-elected...at any cost.

I think it is WAY past time for term limits on ALL offices.

Anonymous said...

Abdul will be history in 2011 as well.