Thursday, April 16, 2009

Indianapolis City County Councilman Ed Coleman Calls for CIB President Bob Grand to Resign

I guess it takes being freed from the pressure of your own party's caucus to speak freely and honestly. Today during an Indianapolis City-County Council meeting to discuss the funding crisis faced by the Capital Improvement Board, at-large member Ed Coleman, a former Republican turned Libertarian, called for Bob Grand to resign as President of the CIB.

It is about time an elected official stood up and said what everyone else has been thinking about Grand and his operation of the CIB. Kudos to Councilor Coleman.

Let's examine the situation. The first issue faced by the Capital Improvement Board when Mayor Ballard was elected was how to deal with the Pacers' request to renegotiate their contract to operate Conseco Fieldhouse. Unbelievably, Mayor Ballard appointed Bob Grand as President of the CIB, even though he is the attorney for the owners of the Pacers, Mel and Herb Simon. Supposedly Grand was to recuse himself on all matters relating to the Pacers.

As an attorney, there are conflicts that are so big that, under the Disciplinary Rules, they can't be waived. Grand's affiliation with the Simons is comparable to one of those conflicts. The Pacers and Colts are far and away the biggest issues dealt with by the CIB. Then you have the fact that the current budgetary crisis of the CIB is very much intertwined with the Pacers' situation and their request for the CIB to pick up $15 million of the operating costs. Grand is not recusing himself as to any of those discussions despite the fact the Pacers' situation is deeply involved in that crisis and how it plays out directly impact Grand's clients, the Simons.

Somewhere in the backroom, CIB officials made the decision, without public input and without a vote, to give the Pacers $15 million more by picking up their operating costs on a building in which the Pacers get 100% of the income. It is inconceivable that Bob Grand was not involved in those backroom discussions.

Bob Grand told Councilor Coleman that he is the best man for the job. Yet tonight when asked questions regarding the operations of the CIB and how comparable cities deal with similar shortfalls as faced by the CIB, Grand had no answer at all. While one can expect a learning curve in his position, it is apparent that in his 16 months on the job as President of the CIB, Grand has learned very little.

The City of Indianapolis deserves the head of the Capital Improvement Board to be someone without serious conflicts of interest and competent to do the job. Bob Grand has shown he is neither. The time has long past for Mayor Ballard to ask for Grand's resignation. Part of any deal should involve the reorganization of the CIB, including the removal of Bob Grand as President. Thankfully we have a Councilor who is not afraid to speak the truth.


M Theory said...

God bless you Paul Ogden! I find it admirable that as a Republican you gave such hearty kudos for our libertarian Councilman-At-Large Ed Coleman. I was there and he really deserved it.

When he called for Bob Grand's resignation, there was a gasp unlike I've ever heard at City Hall. It was a gasp of joy, disbelief, and relief that someone said it, all rolled into one!

Downtown Indy said...

Bob also volunteered that his main criticism comes from 'blogs no one reads' which evidently is not the case since he made a point to bring it up.

And cudos to Ed for broaching the subject of bankruptcy. Bob dismissed that as a 'last resort' which I guess means it's not an option until every last tax dollar has been extracted from us.

It was disheartening to see almost all the public comment focused on the incremental tax increases. Those are really diversionary to the core problem that needs fixing - that we give almost all revenue benefits of having the stadium to Irsay.

Grand was correct that the player salaries are driven by the player union bargaining agreements. But the reality of that is since we are giving Irsay more money to play with, the players' union has that much more room to press for more player pay during negotiations. And that's going to become an even bigger problem when the NFL compensation rules change in 2012.

Diana Vice said...

I know lawyers who received public reprimands for doing much less than what Bob Grand is doing. His conflicts-of-interests are blaring!!! Has anyone turned him into the discipllinary commission? Maybe he needs a little time out.

Paul K. Ogden said...


You hit on the problem. The CIB is like an alcoholic wandering the streets asking for spare change to buy a drink. The problem is not a lack of money, the problem is the alocholism. Just simply handing over more money to the CIB, which both parties propose to do, doesn't cure the underlying problem.

HFFT, I would give kudos to any councilor, regardless of party, if they would stand up and assert some leadership on this issue like Ed has done.

I know said...

Thank you Gary Welsh, Ed Coleman and Paul Ogden! Keep up the pressure and one of the "politicians" will crack and want to tell the real story.

Apparently the blogs no one reads is opening up a wound and keep pouring the salt in!

Someone will get tired of the "good old boy" activity just like a gang member would on the street in Indianapolis and rat his friends out to save their rear end.


As in Mastercard commercials it will be priceless!

Anonymous said...

There are backroom handshake deals that allow most of these activities to continue unfettered by AG or prosecutor investigation. We've witnessed it with ongoing illegal gambling operations. We've witnessed it in the library deals and tranfer of funds from public coffers to private accounts. And we've been witnessing it with CIB for a long time.

In fact, we're also witnessing it with our mayor, who is carrying on in the tradition of Indianapolis mayors before him by fueling the crisis with questionable/unfit appointees, increased taxation, poor communication with the voters, and a campaign platform that was forgotten when the ballots closed.

So where do we turn from here? There's obviously a few red faces and some ruffled feathers, but what we're witnessing is criminal activity, gross negligence, fiduciary failure, and more, with virtually no criminal investigation or class action that I'm aware of at any level by any responsible jurisdiction or party.

My stance is that this is no longer a mere failure in leadership. It's coordinated activity designed to leverage public influence to transfer public funds into private pockets. I call that RICO 101. There's probably enough evidence already available in the public domain to successfully prosecute key decision makers. How much more information might a subpoena reveal?

This isn't small time stuff and our AG and prosecutors know it, yet they do nothing. The backroom deals go further than the players who gather in the room and up on the stage. It's time for the citizens to gather the evidence and work towards forcing a trial. It's obvious that law enforcement won't do it for us.

I know said...


Amen....they all know and have been told!

Downtown Indy said...

Anyone figured out where this 'website' is that Bob was claiming they'r putting up information? is dead (they couldn't even redirect it to the new site!) and doesn't seem to be anything except a marketing site.

Racoon said...

Apparently the blogs no one reads is opening up a wound and keep pouring the salt in!Unfortunately, the public continues to be duped by the 'usual mouthpieces' that get invited to appear on public television programs to advance their bogus arguments and lay down smoke-screens. Indiana Week in Review is the worst.

I wrote a note to Jim Shella noting that there were two words entirely absent their 'discussion' of the CIB matter this last Friday's show.

Those two missing words? "Irsay" and "Simon". Need I say any more about how deftly the truth of this matter is being swept under the rug?

Not only should Bob Grand be removed, so should Jim Shella.

Racoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I know said...

Look at Jim Shella's blog today and it is interesting that the "R's" are now claiming they don't believe their own economist!

Boy they believe the CIB, the Pacers and the Colts and give the pat on the back to each other for the numbers they were given no questions asked and now they sit around debating their own mess.

Maybe they should stop the give away to their rich friends ALL OVER THE STATE and get their act together.

10% of the state is unemployed and in some parts almost 20% and these guys are aghast at the people they hire.....If they can't balance their State checkbook then what are they doing giving the farm away to the CIB and Indianapolis.

What would Indianapolis spend their money on if the Colts and Pacers were not there? Crime prevention, after school programs, sidewalks, road repair, arts, higher education, conventions, job creation of high tech and green industries. Hmmm