Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Did Star Editors Defang Francesca Jarosz Story on Professional Fees City is Paying on Utilities Sale?

This morning Francesca Jarosz's had a front page article discussing the professional fees being paid by the City in conjunction with the proposed water and sewer utilities "sale" to Citizens' Energy Group. Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana discusses the story and provides the Star's summary of those professional fees which ran alongside the article:


» Financial advisers: $5.6 million to Citigroup; $970,000 to Capital Source (which employs former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith).

» Lawyers: $2 million to Baker & Daniels.

» Analysis/due diligence: $250,000 to Crowe Horwath.

» Engineering: $206,500 to R.W. Beck.

» Public relations/communications: $322,500 to Hirons & Co.

» Total: $9.3 million


» Financial advisers: $366,809 to Morgan Stanley & Co.

» Lawyers: $1.2 million to Ice Miller; $47,000 to Hackman Hulett & Cracraft; $14,475 to Krieg DeVault Alexander and Capehart.

» Analysis/due diligence: $604,000 to Booz & Co.; $221,547 to Deloitte & Touche; $61,476 to The Revere Group.

» Engineering: $457,180 to Malcolm Pirnie.

» Public relations/communications: $90,093 to Bose Public Affairs Group.
» Total: $3.1 million

Over at the Indianapolis Times blog, Terry Burns detailed an internal Hirons email warning the staff to expect a hard hitting article from the Star discussing professional fees, including the fact that Hirons is doing the PR work on the project while Greg Ballard's son, Greg, Jr. is employed by Hirons.

The expected hard-hitting article never happened. Instead Jarosz's piece was milquetoast, an almost apologetic piece that simply published the professional fees without bothering to delve into their meaning. There was no attempt to make the inevitable connection between campaign contributions and those receiving these no-bid contracts. Most shockingly, the article never even mention that Greg, Jr., the Mayor's son, works at Hirons which has received $322 thousand or that the leading candidate for Mayor, Melina Kennedy, works at Baker & Daniels which has received $2 million in fees. The role of former Mayor Steve Goldsmith's and how much his firm is receiving is merely noted on a table accompanying the article.

I have no doubt that Ms. Jarosz intended a harder hitting article. It's not like the employment of Greg Ballard, Jr. and Melina Kennedy at firms receiving money on this deal hasn't been confirmed. They are facts that any professional reporter would have included in his or her story. There is no doubt that the Star editors intentionally deleted Ballard and Kennedy's employment Jarosz' story. Can there be any doubt that the Star's editors chose to throw away all pretenses of objectivity because they have an agenda that they intend to promote on the news pages?


CarmelParisRome said...

There was a similar issue / situation, which occurred in Carmel with the Keystone Project. In that case, the design firm - American Structurepoint (who contributed substantially to the Brainard re-election war-chest), hired Brainard's political consultant, to provide public relations and information services ($450K), even though Carmel has a community relations department, with a Director Ms. Nancy Heck, who earns over $95K a year.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Paul - which company is Goldsmith part of?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Capital Source. It's in my blog post.