Friday, August 5, 2011

What is Going on in Carmel (Part II)?; How Long Until the Term "Carmelgate" is Coined?

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard
Fox 59 broke the story this evening that Carmel City government has been hiring private investigators to conduct surveillance operations, one of which was apparently Steven Libman, the former Executive Director of the Regional Performing Arts Center.  Here is a portion of the story:

Several members of the Carmel City Council are concerned after Fox59 told them the city attorney signed off on at least $13,000 to pay for private investigators.

According to invoices obtained by Fox59, City Attorney Douglas Haney signed off on thousands of dollars to pay for surveillance.

...
In 2010, Haney approved more than $5,000 for private investigative work. In the past few weeks, Haney approved $8,000 worth of surveillance.

... 
A source close to City Hall says the private investigators were following Steven Libman, the former Executive Director of the Regional Performing Arts Center.

...
City leaders want to know more details about why private investigators are being hired and why portions of the invoices are redacted.

"Not knowing the full details on whose name was blocked out, it still raises questions on whether it was a proper use of money, " said Carmel City Councilman Eric Seidensticker. "I would find it very disturbing that a city will follow or use surveillance without proper cause."

...
...[The}city attorney says he is completely within the law and not inappropriately using taxpayer money.

...
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard released a statement through his communications department.

"The City of Carmel is obligated to protect taxpayers by investigating incidents that have resulted or may result in legal claims against the city and its taxpayers. Unfortunately, cities across America are sued for money damages on a regular basis and the city must investigate the validity of those claims to reduce taxpayer exposure. The mayor appoints the city attorney, but does not run the city attorney's office."
To see the rest of the story, click here.

One has to wonder what these surveillance operations were all about.  I'm sure more will be coming out about the investigations.  In the meantime,  I found Mayor Brainard's statement interesting, particular the last line:   "The mayor appoints the city attorney, but does not run the city attorney's office."

Let me translate.  That line means:  "When it eventually comes out what the private investigator was authorized to do, please be aware that it was the attorney and not me who authorized it." 

Mayor Brainard is laying the groundwork to throw City Attorney Doug Haney under the bus.  If it turns out that Haney authorized and paid for private investigators to conduct illegal activity, does he really want to throw away everything to fall on the sword for Mayor Brainard?

Oh, by the way, I refuse to use the term "Carmelgate."   I'm sure though we are not far away from that term being coined.

5 comments:

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Mr. Haney

Ben said...

Gee, theres something you don't se everyday..an unethical Mayor.

5wt said...

Paul, you might be interested to know someone put links to this writing and the advanceIndiana piece on the same topic on the Indy Star forums. They were removed without explanation and without violation of any rules, which is highly unusual for that site. Just wanted to let you know you hit a nerve with someone when you wrote this. Keep up the great work!

Paul K. Ogden said...

Thanks for the info, 5wt. I was surprised the Star picked up the story, which Fox59 scooped them on.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact Gary and I are constantly criticizing the Star for not going after these stories. Or perhaps someone complained about the links to our cites. I pretty much followed the Fox59 story. It's Gary's that had a lot of new info.

american patriot said...

"The City of Carmel is obligated to protect taxpayers by investigating incidents that have resulted or may result in legal claims against the city and its taxpayers."

What IC section 'obligates' that?

Is the mayor going to hire PIs to follow him around, since from what I have read in this blog over the years he has created situations that "may result in legal claims against the city and its taxpayers."