Jen Wagner over at Envisionindy first picked up on the story and provided a link to the a story published by Folioweekly, Jacksonville, Florida's alternative newspaper about the prospective hire, John D. Clark, III. Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana picked up on the story and published several damning paragraphs from the Folioweekly story. Rather than re-publish those paragraphs, I'll point to other parts of the Folioweekly story that makes this particular hire someone to be concerned about:
Later the article discusses a retirement party Clerk threw for executive assistant Pat Lowder:
"Clark's very job reeks of privilege. Since January, 2007, Clark has jetted to Shanghai, Brussels, Frankfort, Paris, Sao Paulo, London and Buenos Aires, staying in first-class accommodations at every destinatin. Despite a 2002 audit that criticized his travel costs as excessive, Clark still flies costly business class, rarely coach, and stays in posh hotel rooms, including a $435-a-night hotel in Brussels, a $726-a-night in Buenos Aires, and a $582-a-night Parisian hotel.
Clark's trip to the London Air Show this year cost JAA $10,491. It spent another $11,304 for him to attend an Airport International meeting in Shanhai. ...
Held at the resort community of Amelia Island Plantation, the party cost a whopping $16,939---as much as a modest wedding. Expenses included $796 for centerpieces, $3,869 for booze and $7,500 for 100 people to enjoy a buffet dinner.How did Clark curry favor with the local Jacksonville City Council? He hired council member Denise Lee as a "mystery shopper" for $24,000. That should sound familiar to those who know Indiana politics.
When another Jacksonville council member wanted to find out what was going with Clark and JAA, was told that fulfiling the councilman's open records request would cost $14,000.
The Indianapolis Business Journal, picking up on the blog chatter, published an article today discussing the choice of Clark. In the article, the IBJ reports:
Indianapolis Airport Authority President Randall Tobias said he’s well aware of published reports on Clark and of blog chatter, but that the Jacksonville airport executive has been thoroughly vetted.We're not just talking about "stepping on toes." We're talking about someone who, if the allegations in the Folioweekly article are remotely true, repeatedly violated the public trust while in Jacksonville and tried to keep his actions concealed from scrutiny. Tobias offers no claim that those allegations are not true...rather he just offers the simplistic non-response that Clark "has been thoroughly vetted" and his references checked out. Oh, well, that should be enough.
“There’s kind of an old saying: If you haven’t irritated someone, you probably haven’t stretched to do your job. John has very high marks,” said Tobias, noting his recognition by peers.
“He (Clark) has stepped on some toes … but I am completely satisfied we hired an all-star,” Tobias added.
Unfortunately, Clark will find the environment here even more supportive of his apparent jet-setting lifestyle at the public expense than Jacksonville. In Jacksonville there were at least some elected officials willing to speak out about the abuse of the public trust and question what he was doing. In the cesspool of conflicts of interest and insider-dealing that is Indianapolis politics, he is unlikely to encounter that same public criticism here.
See Advance Indiana's take on the IBJ article quoting Tobias.