Fox 59 reports that "there was dicussion" about relocating the Metro Drug Task Force two years ago, and the location pushed was owned by John Bales, Carl Brizzi's business partner and campaign donor. The story notes that Bales has a contract that provides him 3% of any lease he negotiates for the City, so he would apparently have double-dipped as owner and negotiator. The other tenant already at that location? Tim Durham.
The move did not happen because law enforcement and a female prosecutor who would have worked there thought it was an unsafe dump. (Fox reports that the prosecutor who opposed the move was demoted and reassigned by Brizzi).
Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Carter stated, "There was discussion early on about the possibility of a move northeast and there was discussion about a specific piece of property on the westside," said Hamilton Co. Sheriff Doug Carter.
Lawrence Police Chief Paul Whitehead: "Well, unfortunately, the particular facility we looked at..." started Lawrence Police Chief Paul Whitehead.
Kudos to Russ McQuaid for breaking this story, but it doesn't go deep enough for my tastes.
Who set up the viewing of the property? Who pushed it? To whom? Are there letters or e-mails? Is it a coincidence that Lawrence Police Chief Paul Whitehead was involved? He works for Lawrence Mayor Paul Ricketts, to whom GOP bagman Tim Durham donated a staggering sum in excess of $80,000 over the past few years and to whom Brizzi donated $1,000 in 2008.
As a quick aside, Ricketts donated $250 of that money back to Brizzi in 2008. To all the newbies out there, passing the same money back and forth between political friends is a great way to inflate the value of your political stock because it looks like you've raised more money than you really have. (You can also do this with actual stock, but you might go to prison).
Here's another sidebar Fox missed. Why would a GOP Hamilton County Sheriff air Brizzi's dirty laundry? Does it have anything to do with the fact Brizzi's campaign committee donated $200 to Scott Baldwin, who is opposing Sheriff Carter's hand-picked successor in the May primary?
Of course, despite the GOP's efforts to run from Brizzi/Durham money, it permeates all levels of GOPdom. In the past two years, Brizzi has given $1,650 to the Hamilton County GOP, $1,250 to the Wayne Township GOP, $800 to Washington Township, $500 to Perry, $400 to Warren, and $250 to Lawrence.
Brizzi has given to GIRFCO ($2,500), the Marion County GOP ($2,250), City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn ($2,000), Hamilton County Prosecutor candidate David Wyser ($2,500), City-County Councilor Mike McQuillen ($250), Friends of Todd Young ($500), Mitch Daniels ($1,000), Tony Bennett ($1,000), Hupfer for State Rep ($1,000), Friends of Jim Banks ($1,000), the House Republican Campaign Committee ($5,000), Mike Murphy ($500), and the Committee To Elect Lisa Bentley (Township Board)($250). Brizzi even in-kinded a campaign worker to Attorney General Greg Zoeller. (Who knew indentured servitude still existed in the 21st century?)
GOP Secretary of State candidate Charlie White donated to Brizzi (who also donated to White), and Vaughn gave to Brizzi, who, as mentioned above, gave to Vaughn. (Though we are fellow Wabash men, I don't mind telling Vaughn and White that they both need to pick better company).
Every time I look at Brizzi's campaign finance reports, I get more discomfited. I previously reported that Brizzi was using his campaign committee as his personal bank account. Today I noticed that attorney Mario Massilamany received $1,900 from the Brizzi Committee for reimbursements, mostly for a call phone. Why is the Brizzi campaign reimbursing an attorney for his cell phone to the tune of several hundred dollars per month?
I'm THIS close (holding fingers millimeters apart) to filing a complaint with the Indiana Election Commission. Not only has Brizzi sullied his office, he's making a mockery of Indiana election law. Indiana Code 3-9-3-4 states:
Money received by a candidate or committee as a contribution may be used only:
(1) to defray any expense reasonably related to the person's or committee's:
(A) campaign for federal, state, legislative, or local office;
(B) continuing political activity; or
(C) activity related to service in an elected office;
(2) to make an expenditure to any national, state, or local committee of any political party or another candidate's committee; or
(3) upon dissolution of a committee, in a manner permitted under IC 3-9-1-12.
(b) Money received by a candidate or committee as a contribution may not be used for primarily personal purposes by the candidate or by any other person except as described in subsection (a).
Kudos to Terry Burns at Indianapolis Times for bringing this story to my attention.