In the recent parking deal with ACS, did Joe Loftus, special counsel for the Mayor and partner at Barnes & Thornburg, use his position within the Ballard administration to steer a contract to a private client he represents?
Although Loftus told a reporter during the transition he would not take a position with the city, the Indianapolis Star later reported that Loftus made a combined $115,000 as lobbyist for the city and to act as the administration’s special counsel. In addition, Loftus also lobbies for ACS, the very company that recently was awarded a 50 year no-bid contract by the City.
This wouldn't be the first time Loftus leveraged his position within the Ballard administration to help a private client. Just last fall, Loftus, on behalf of his client AT&T, worked behind the scenes to cut the funding for Rick Maultra's salary as head of the City's telecom agency. Maultra had been a persistent advocate that telecoms, like AT&T, pay rights of way fees like they do in other cities. Maultra, as local enforcer of telecom laws, had also targeted AT&T for legal violations.
Loftus' conflict of interest within the administration - being paid by taxpayers to work for the City's interests while at the same time lobbying the City for private clients - is one of the worst conflicts of interest imaginable. I guess Mayor Ballard wasn't serious about running a more ethical administration than past mayors.
Sometimes, things aren't as they seem. But other times they are.
To even allow the appearance of a conflict in unconscionable. But then, this IS Mayor Ballard's forte - to be the clumsy, fumbling frontman for the clever, conniving backroom dealers.
And I don't for one millisecnod believe this case is one of merely appearing to be a conflict but there's not.
Dare I ask if the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission would find the conflict of interest worthy of an investigation, or is that a sham of process as well?
Hreat question from Diana. I am in complete accord with DI's comment.
DV, good question. Frankly, you owe a duty to represent your client zealously. But what if you represent both parties in a transaction.
Typically the requirement is disclosure. It's been suggested to me that Mayor Ballard had no idea that members of his administration, i.e. Loftus, represented ACS. That could be a disclosure problem. Certaily it reflects a competency problem with regard to the Mayor if he's that out of touch that he doesn't know someone within the administration is also a lobbyist for someone seeking a 50 year, no bid contract from the administration.
My experience is that the Commission prefers things that are more clear cut. There is a lot of misconduct out there.
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