Thursday, December 2, 2010

The AG's History of Targeting Whistleblowers Who Dare Accuse Public Officials of Violating the Law

Note: (I decided to break this out from the previous blog post which was too long)

The forfeiture lawsuit my office filed is merely another example of Greg Zoeller continuing with the recent tradition started by Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter of zealously going after whistleblowers who dare accuse a public official of misconduct. I know this all too well. I represented a Lake County deputy prosecutor who accused Prosecutor Bernard Carter of misconduct. She had the allegation documented - a child support case worker in the prosecutor's office, who had no cases assigned to him, came in for just a couple hours a day into the office and spent his time making phone calls. Yet the employee was paid as a full-time employee.

When confronted with the fact the full-time employee had no work assigned, the person told my client he had his job because he was a big political rain maker in Lake County. When presented with the ghost employment allegation, AG Steve Carter (for whom Zoeller was the top lieutenant) did absolutely no investigation of the allegation and instead assigned several deputies to go aggressively go after my client. Later in the case, a Deputy Attorney General falsely told the federal court that my client was under a "wiretap" grand jury investigation and evidence was mysteriously destroyed while in the possession of the AG's office. Did the AG investigate what was a crime and ethical misconduct committed by someone at the AG's office? No investigation was conducted and the DAG who was the most directly involved received a promotion. Today she is one of the highest-ranking supervisors in the AG's office.

In the Traffic Court lawsuit my law firm filed against Judge Young, did the AG do any investigation into whether the legal and ethical violations were true? Absolutely not. Instead the AG immediately jumped to Judge Young's defense and has pursued the whistleblowers aggressively for accusing the judge of misconduct and legal violations The AG is still doing so, despite the fact both the Indiana General Assembly and Indiana Supreme Court, which the AG also represents, have weighed in backing up my clients' allegations.

In a personal lawsuit our office has, while employed at the Indiana Department of Insurance, I documented legal violations there, in particular by one supervisor. I was terminated when I presented a memo with the legal violations outlined to Commissioner Jim Atterholt, now head of the IURC. Did the AG do any investigation to find out whether my accusations were true before jumping into the lawsuit? Absolutely not. From Day One the AG's focus was on aggressively going after me for accusing public officials of violating the law, including misusing state funds.

Another client I had provided information and violations of the law regarding awarding of a casino contract, including a southern Indinaa attorney who went from being on a a local committee screening casino bids to days later working for one of the entities bidding on the casino. When my client presented the evidence of the conflict of interest and other legal violations to the Indiana Attorney General's Office, the AG's office not only did nothing, it later went after my client for attempting to blow the whistle.

A few months ago, I heard from an attorney from the Southeast Indiana who had filed a lawsuit because the judges down there weren't filing the bond law. Did the AG "investigate" it before jumping to the defense of the alleged law-breaker, i.e. the judges? Absolutely not. The AG went after the whistleblower asking that the case be dismissed on a technicality...a technicality that prevented the legal violation from ever being reviewed. The Deputy Attorney General assigned to the case said his office didn't care that the judges weren't following the law...he could get the case dismissed on the technicality and he was going to do exactly that.

Just yesterday I heard about a situation in Southwest Indiana where the county prosecutor and state officials had failed to following the law regarding notifying parents regarding child molestation. As a result the children of parents who sued were molested. Once again, the AG did no investigation, instead jumping in with both feet first to aggressively defend legal officials who had clearly violated the law.

At the end of the day, Zoeller has a private attorney view of the AG's office, believing his duty is to zealously represent "clients" regardless of whether they are breaking the law. In fact he doesn't even want to know if they are violating the law and refuses to do investigations of officials accused of misconduct before agreeing to represent the official. I, on the other hand, believe the elected Attorney General owes a higher duty to the public to ensure that the laws and constitution of the State of Indiana are being followed by public officials. I don't think the AG should be in the business of condoning government officials who are clearly breaking the law and targeting whistleblowers who dare point out that our elected and appointed officials are not following the law.


I know said...

Thank you for taking this stand and calling this out! The truth sooner or later will prevail.

Unigov said...

Good stuff. If the Star did as much digging as you do, I would subscribe.

I have seen *other* news sources refer to Judge Young's "misconduct". Misconduct is falling asleep in court. Young is a despot, a judge who willfully ignores the constitution. His actions are really a non-violent form of treason.