Thursday, August 18, 2011

Were Surveillance Cameras Used Illegally in the Carmel Investigation of Libman?

Steven Libman, Former CEO
of Carmel's Performing Arts Center

Yesterday, WRTV's Joanne Massee followed up the investigation into the firing of Steven Libman, former CEO of the Carmel's Center for the Performing Arts.  She attempted to interview Libman without success. She is then shown interviewing Mayor Brainard who says that Libman was fired for having an affair and misusing city money in conjunction with that affair. Here is a portion of the written on-line story:
 ..Brainard said investigators believe the trips were actually to cover for Libman's expensive dates with the woman, who he said was promoted over the course of the affair.
"Mr. Libman traveled a great number of places with his assistant, and it just didn't seem to make any sense that he would need secretarial help on these kinds of trips," Brainard told Massee.
What is not in the written story, but is in the video clip accompanying the story is the following exchange between Massee and Mayor Brainard:
MASEE:  "No chance that they were just friends."
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard
BRAINARD:  "The investigation showed otherwise."
My question would be HOW did the investigation show "otherwise?"  How did the investigation acquire information that showed that these two were not friends, but in fact had a sexual relationship?

As far as I know, neither Libman or the woman admitted to having an affair. Exactly how then did International Investigators, working on behalf of the City, acquire confirmation as to a sexual affair, as sex normally happens behind closed doors?

If the investigation involved confirming a sexual affair by placing cameras in Libman's condo or in a hotel room, the people who ordered and installed those surveillance cameras could be in big trouble.  It doesn't matter that the Carmel Redevelopment Commission owns the condo where Libman lived.  It doesn't matter than Libman was only a guest in a hotel owned by someone else.   The rule in most jurisdictions, including Indiana, is that where a person has an expectation of privacy, that privacy cannot be invaded with surveillance equipment.  For example, a camera in the lobby or parking lot or even a hallway of a hotel is perfectly acceptable.  A video camera in the rooms would not be permitted.

The issue of the hotel room would of course be governed by whatever state that hotel is in.  But since Indiana's law would apply to any video surveillance of Libman's condo, let's take a look at that:

IC 35-45-4-5  Voyeurism; public voyeurism

(a) The following definitions apply throughout this section:

(1) "Camera" means a camera, a video camera, a device that captures a digital image, or any other type of video recording device.
(2) "Peep" means any looking of a clandestine, surreptitious, prying, or secretive nature.
(3) "Private area" means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, or buttocks of an individual.
(b) A person:
(1) who knowingly or intentionally:
(A) peeps; or
(B) goes upon the land of another with the intent to peep;
into an occupied dwelling of another person; or
(2) who knowingly or intentionally peeps into an area where an occupant of the area reasonably can be expected to disrobe, including:
(A) restrooms;
(B) baths;
(C) showers; and
(D) dressing rooms;
without the consent of the other person, commits voyeurism, a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) However, the offense under subsection (b) is a Class D felony if:

(1) it is knowingly or intentionally committed by means of a camera; or
(2) the person who commits the offense has a prior unrelated conviction:
The crime would be voyeurism, and if done with surveillance cameras, it would be a felony.

Carmel officials could throw the private investigators under the bus, claiming they did not authorize video surveillance of Libman's condo or the hotel rooms he stayed in.  You'd have to wonder though how credible that defense would be though.  Surely at some point Mayor Brainard or City Attorney Doug Haney would have become aware of any illegal video surveillance in the course of reviewing the ongoing investigation.  The minute they know and don't put a stop to it, they open themselves up to possibly being accessories to a crime or at the least expose the city to liability for a civil lawsuit.
I would caution that this post is based purely on speculation, albeit speculation spawned by Mayor Brainard's curious suggestion that the investigation confirmed a sexual affair. That comment, as I noted above, leads to my wondering exactly how that information was acquired..  As of yet, no evidence yet has surfaced of any video surveillance, illegal or otherwise.  Only rumors thus far.

2 comments:

Dan Shephard said...

I remain flabbergasted as I continue to read how Carmel Mayor Jim Brainerd apparently dismissed Steven Libman, a man who did not work for the Mayor. I remain deeply disappointed in the loud silence of the board of the Carmel Center for the Performing Arts, especially in light of their decision, barely weeks before all this nonsense, to extend Steven Libman's contract. This smells like political blackmail.

Steven Libman walked into a chaotic project with next to no staff, no plans, and an extremely tight timeline to opening. He built a professional staff, he oversaw the building of the center itself, and he presided over an opening season that received rave reviews and played to a financial surplus.

What am I missing?

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