|Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard|
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.To see the rest of the story, click here.
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."
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.