Friday, July 13, 2012

State Employees Accused of Ghost Employee Escape Prosecution; One Continues As State Employee While Other Retires With Full Pension

WRTV's Kara Kenney
WRTV's Kara Kenney has an excellent report on the State Fair employees accused of ghost employment:

The Indiana Office of the Inspector General found facilities supervisor David Hummel and employee Chris Clyne used state property to run their private businesses while on the state payroll, Call6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported. 
The inspector general forwarded the findings to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, which will not pursue criminal charges. 
"I think it's disturbing, because this is theft," said Julia Vaughn of the nonpartisan government watchdog group, Common Cause Indiana. "For most of us, if we stole from our employer, the police would be called and charges would follow." 
Lara Beck, spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, told RTV6 Friday the employees had been disciplined and sanctioned through the State's ethics process, and they have in good faith negotiated a resolution to the violations.
"Our office didn't feel that it was necessary to investigate or pursue criminal charges," wrote Beck in an email to RTV6.
Clyne was suspended without pay for a week, while supervisor Hummel was suspended for two weeks without pay and fined $1,500.
Kenney reports that Hummel will still get his pension:
Hummel will retire in good standing on July 31, after 40 years of employment with the state.
According to an estimate using the Public Employees' Retirement Fund calculator, Hummel will receive $3,538 a month in pension benefits.
He is also eligible to receive payment for up to 30 days of unused vacation time.
Let me get this straight.  I write a memo to the Commissioner of the Indiana Department that my supervisor was misappropriating money from the title insurance division that I ran and committing other legal violations.  Within minutes of getting that memo, I am immediately fired and left two years short of my my pension.  I'm not alone.  Whistleblowers who are routinely fired by the state and I am not aware of a single one who has ever prevailed in court. Judges do not enforce the laws protecting state employee whistleblowers. 

Here, Hummel and Cline pretty much admit to facts which  which should constitute ghost employment, a felony.  Yet Prosecutor Terry Curry (whose questionable practices in office are suddenly making Carl Brizzi look ethical by comparison), forgoes what should be slam-dunk felony prosecutions.  Both walk away with brief suspensions and Hummel retires with a large pension.  Apparently Cline is allowed to continue working in state government.

If you are a state employee who dares to report ghost employment, the whistleblower can expect to be fired and have absolutely no recourse.  Meanwhile the state employee who commits the ghost employment gets a short suspension and continues on in state employment or gets his full pension should he choose to retire.


Jeff Cox said...

Might want to take this one with a grain of salt. Certain state agencies have been known to get rid of unwanted employees through trumped up charges of ghost employment. They would not want prosecution because then the bogus or malicious nature of the charges would be exposed.

artfuggins said...

I think your negative comments re: Prosecutor Curry are unwarranted. He is been very vigilant while in office.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Really, Art? How about his office taking millions of dollars to forego felony prosecutions in the Omnisource case. You also have no idea how his office has expanded civil forfeiture (Brizzi pretty much kept it to drug cases) and seizing everything they can get their hands on, of course, without paying a dime of it to the schools of course as he is required to do under Indiana law.

If Curry is honest and a straight shooter, I haven't seen it yet. Of course you said he was "vigilant" didn't say that he was honest and had integrity.

I know said...


I don't understand why you are surprised by the outcome.

You have been around several whistle blower instances and all of them have been covered up with the reporter maligned, threatened and destroyed financially while the admitted thieves aka state officials clean out the coffers.

Indiana at its finest.

Go long before the good ole boys get the contracts?

Anonymous said...

The higher your office, the heavier the penalty should be. It's sad to think that one would get his retirement fund, and the other, zilch. I would want to have hospice care for myself, if I were in their place.