Thursday, August 14, 2014

Will Seven Justice Center No Bid Consulting Contracts Worth $12 Million End Indianapolis Mayor Ballard's Political Career?

There was outrage last week when it was discovered that the administration of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard had entered into a $750,000 no bid consulting contract with public relations and lobbying firm Bose Public Affairs Group.  It turns out that was the tip of the iceberg.  Diligent work by reporters unearthed six more no bid consulting contracts for the promotion of the Justice Center, contracts worth more than $12 million.  The IBJ details the contracts:
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
The largest contract, signed in February, is with architectural consultant Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc., also known as HOK. The firm stands to make $4.7 million if the city closes on a deal for the justice center. That may include a closing bonus and finance charges on the deferred fees, according to the agreement. 

Financial consultant KPMG can earn up to $3 million, and that includes a potential bonus, or "success fee," if a deal closes. KPMG is working at a discounted rate of $212.50 per hour. If the deal closes, the bonus will be calculated with an hourly rate of $637.50. 

Legal consultant Bingham Greenebaum Doll's retainer is worth up to $1.5 million, but it can be amended if fees accrue beyond that amount. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Deron Kintner, who entered the agreement with Bingham in October, used to work at Bingham's predecessor firm, Bingham McHale LLP.

Bingham's sub-consultant, Los Angeles-based Nossaman LLP, can earn up to $2.5 million, according to an agreement, also entered by Kintner in October.

Public relations and lobbying firm Bose Public Affairs Group is charging $750,000 in three installments. Bose senior consultant and former mayoral staffer John Cochran is working on the justice center project, communicating with City-County Council members and residents affected by the new courts and jail. The justice center is slated to be built on the site of the former General Motors stamping plant on the western edge of downtown.

There are also two smaller contracts, one with local building consultant John Klipsch, who could earn up to $100,000, and one with risk-management consultant Bickmore for up to $50,000.
(Emphasis was added.)
Think one of the consultants might advise the administration that the current plans for the Justice Center are not the best, well think again.  According to Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter:
It's not up to the consultants to advise against entering a deal, Lotter said. "They are providing the expert counsel to make it go forward," he said.
For 6 1/2 years, the Ballard administration has used projects such as this to enrich with our tax dollars government contractors, invariably also contributors to the Mayor's campaign.  But the consulting contracts the Ballard administration handed out this time with respect to the Justice Center are unprecedented, evidence that the Ballard pay-to-play practices are now on steroids.  There also appear to be people within the Ballard administration, without any apparent supervision by the Mayor, aggressively using their positions to enrich friends and supporters, one last desperate attempt to raid the public treasury before the lights mercifully go out on the Ballard administration forever.

The $12 million in no bid contracts also create a dynamite political issue for Ballard's Democratic opponent(s).  Those contracts could well prove to be the final nail in the coffin holding Ballard's political career.

1 comment:

Wilfred Abuhan said...

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