Paul K. Ogden, Attorney at Law
Date: September 21, 2012
On Monday, the Indianapolis City-County Council, at the encouragement of Council President Maggie Lewis, voted to send Proposal 15, the controversial downtown TIF expansion proposal, back to the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee ("MEDC).
This action was taken following a lawsuit filed on Monday by community activist Clarke Kahlo claiming the proposal was untabled after a six month deadline for doing so had passed, the proposal was not properly amended in committee, and the public was denied the chance to speak on the proposal.
Today, public notice was issued that the MEDC plans to take public testimony on Proposal 15 on Monday, September 24,at 5:30 pm in the City-County Building, Room 260.
Counsel for Plaintiff Kahlo, Paul K. Ogden, responded to the public notice, indicating an intent to proceed with the lawsuit should the committee attempt to hear the measure in violation of the law:
"Whilewe deeply appreciate the leadership of Council President Lewis as well as the support of those who voted to send the proposal back to committee, the fact remains that Proposal 15 has been tabled for more than six months and cannot legally be considered by the Council," said Ogden. Rather than proceed with Proposal 15 that will be, at best, in legal limbo until a Court rules, the right and legal thing to do is to re-introduce the measure as if it were a new proposal. No one is above following the law, including Councilors Osili and Simpson."
To review the timeline of events, Proposal 15 was introduced by Councilors Vop Osili and Joseph Simpson at the January 9, 2012 meeting of the council At a February 6, 2012 meeting of the MEDC, Councilor Osili successfully moved that the Proposals 15 and 16 (the latter is a proposed TIF district in the Meadows area) be tabled.
Section 151-30 of the Revised Municipal Code states:
If a proposal is tabled by a committee and no action is taken to remove it from the table or to reassign it during a period of six (6) months, the proposal shall be deemed postponed indefinitely and shall be removed from the calendar of pending proposals.
That six month deadline to consider Proposals 15 and 16 expired on August 6, 2012, a full three weeks before MEDC explicitly voted, pursuant to Councilor Osili's Motion, to take Proposal 15 off the table at the August 27, 2012 meeting of the MEDC. The lawsuit alleges that Proposal 15 is dead and should be removed the calendar of pending proposals. The legal complaint also notes that Proposal 16, which is in the identical status as Proposal 15, has been removed from the calendar of pending proposals pursuant to Section 151-30.
Proposal 15 seeks to expand the consolidated downtown TIF in two directions - to the east by 112 acres for the purported purpose of financing development on 0.8 acres on Massachusetts Avenue and to the west by 604 acres to finance the development of a couple acres near the old Bush Stadium.
Kahlo's lawsuit notes that many of the 45 TIF districts in Indianapolis are underperforming and take property taxes away from schools, libraries, parks and public safety. The lawsuit also discusses that the TIF Study Commission found that there is little transparency and oversight when it comes to the Indianapolis TIF districts.
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It appears that only local activists understand the level of corruption in this city, it seems the federal prosecutors can't find any. Wonder if they looked?
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