Thursday, March 19, 2009

Randall Tobias: John Clark's Abuse of the Public Trust in Jacksonville Is No Big Deal

Today the Indianapolis Star ran a front page article discussing the pending selection of John D. Clark to head the Indianapolis International Airport.

In the article, the reporters only provide a tiny fraction of the detail included in the FolioWeekly expose of John D. Clark's jet-setting ways. That article can be found here:

The Star doesn't mention, which I find an even more compelling reason against the selection, Clark's response when people started having questions about his operation of the Jacksonville airport and tried to get information. Clark did his best to ensure what he was doing was kept from the public. That's not exactly the type of public servant I want.

But as has been pointed out, Indianapolis is the perfect environment for Clark to continue his jet-setting lifestyle, financed by the public, without the danger that an elected official will ever question him for it. In Jacksonville, Clark was being challenged by at least a couple members of the city council who questioned his always traveling first class to exotic places around the world and staying in lavish hotels, all on the public dime. Clark also threw lavish parties, again on the public dime.

Randall Tobias, President of the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board, addressed the concerns about Clark by saying: "People try sometimes make things into a big deal. We're just trying to hire a CEO here." Unbelievable. Neither Tobias or Clark challenge any of the facts asserted in the FolioWeekly article. Rather they simply respond to the accusations as no big deal...that what Clark did Jacksonville was nothing out of the ordinary or even wrong. Tobias is clearly giving Clark a green light to resume his jet-setting ways.

Unlike in Jacksonville, here Clark is unlikely to encounter any resistance to his big spending ways. In this city, we've had numerous examples of the abuse of the public trust by members of both parties, and our elected officials, of both parties, consistently looking the other way. The story of John Clark was first exposed by Jen Wagner of EnvisionIndy nearly 10 days ago. Yet has a single elected official in Indianapolis, Republican or Democrat, stepped up and publicly raised concerns over this appointment? Nope. Not a one. That's the Indianapolis way. Unfortunately this city has long been lacking in strong leaders who are willing to challenge the corrupt corporate welfare environment that dominates both local political parties. Clark's appointment is just more evidence of that.

See also:

Ogden on Politics: John Clark's Misdeeds Fly Below Indianapolis' Radar (3/13/2009)

Advance Indiana: Tobias Digs His Heels in on Clark (3/19/2009)

Advance Indiana: Tobias Says Clark Thoroughly Vetted (3/13/2009)

Advance Indiana: Ballard's Airport Authority Selects Rogue Jet-Setter to Run Airport (3/10/2009)

Envision Indy: John Clark Speaks (3/19/2009)


Downtown Indy said...

The problem seems to be these officials use their own concept of 'no big deal' and not that of the people who are directly impacted by their behaviors/decisions.

If I was worth a few million, then I might not think a $10K limo ride was a waste of money.

I'm not. And I think it was.

Advance Indiana said...

Of all the things Clark did wrong, the one thing he did which should be a total disqualifier is making a written threat to fire any airport employee who spoke to the media about their issues with him. That is a clear free speech violation and flies in the face of whistleblower laws which help protect the public from misdeeds by government officials. Clark has that attitude that he is not accountable as a public official. When I've criticized the Indianapolis Airport's past management and spending, I will immediately get comments from people claiming that the airport monies aren't public funds and so I shouldn't be meddling in what they do. These quasi-governmental bodies in Indianapolis think they are above public accountable. That is the reason we've gotten into so much trouble with the library board, the CIB and the airport board. Lacy Johnson asked that the old BAA airport executive be fired when he was president because he balked at giving make work jobs to his political cronies and contracts to his favored MBEs. Unfortunately, that executive died of cancer before he could have his case heard and the public never got the full story on what was going on at the airport.