Thursday, November 26, 2009

Are People Near Brizzi Smelling Toast?

Wow. Talk about a good Thanksgiving. Who is the happiest man in Indianapolis? It's gotta be our future prosecutor, Democrat Terry Curry.

Many Democrats like me were probably thinking that, in a Democrat-trending county, we'd have a pretty good chance to take back the prosecutor's office in an open seat. But a strange thing happened. Nobody threw any job offers at Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, and if you have no options, you run for the job you have.

Anybody who thinks candidate Brizzi doesn't make things tougher for Democrats is lying. Brizzi is extremely PR savvy, and he put himself in a great position when he dusted off his trial suit and strung together three consecutive, high-profile convictions, two in the Hamilton Avenue slayings and the other in the Jason Fishburn shooting case. (I figure he'll add another conviction between March and June of next year, which would normally give him steamroller momentum).

BUT then....mmm mm mmmm...Tim Durham, a/k/a "Indiana Abramoff" happened. Durham was detained for questioning by the FBI, and his offices were raided the day before yesterday.

What does this have to do with Brizzi? Well, aside from receiving $160,000 in donations from Durham, Brizzi also serves (or served) with Durham on the Board of Fair Financial, whose office was raided.

The Star reported yesterday:

Brizzi did not return phone calls seeking comment. He issued this statement shortly before noon today: "Tim is a friend, and I’m sorry to hear about the recent developments. I have no knowledge of the allegations, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment."

Let me start off by saying that people too easily think that everybody really knows everyone with whom they associate, as if having a drink with somebody or taking their extremely huge check means you can see into their soul. Were that true, of course, nobody would be scammed by their pastor, and Bernie Madoff only could have done what he did by lacking friends.

Having said that, nobody was going to let Brizzi get a free pass with, "I can't comment." That might be the proper response for a prosecutor during a pending investigation he's on, but it's not the proper public response about a federal investigation by a guy who also happens to be a candidate for prosecutor.

The public deserves to know about every communication between Brizzi and Durham and Durham and Republican sheriff candidate Motsinger. (As an aside, if you're thinking about becoming a scam artist, it's probably prudent to "invest" heavily in local law enforcement, but be sure to diversify and invest federally as well).

Even if you can prove Brizzi didn't have the slightest inkling, at what point do Democrats get to use the "he should have known" tact taken by so many of President Obama's critics?

Understanding he needed to say more, Brizzi is now running from the Board connection. He told the Star that he never attended a meeting, never voted, and never received compensation from Fair Financial (did they name the company ironically?).

But here's the Brizzi statement that made me chuckle.
Brizzi's said he agreed to serve on the board at Durham's request. But after reading a story in the Indianapolis Business Journal last month about the company's financial practices, he said he told Durham that he had changed his mind.

"Upon reading the October IBJ article and uncertain whether I had yet formally taken a position on the board, I indicated to Mr. Durham that I was no longer interested in serving on the board," Brizzi said in the statement.

How do you not know whether you had formally taken a position? If Brizzi is such a good friend, how did he go from "Tim" to "Mr. Durham" in twenty-four hours? What specific explanation did he offer for wanting to come off the board? And more importantly, what counsel did he offer to his friend upon reading this IBJ article? He's in law enforcement, after all.

Inquiring minds want to know.



Paul K. Ogden said...

I certainly agree that a Brizzi candidacy would have made things more difficult for a Democrat. His name-ID alone woudl have done that.

I, however, never bought that Brizzi was going to run for a 3rd term, even prior to the Durham affair. Politicians are risk adverse. Brizzi ran the gauntlet in the county in 2006 and won even though it was a Democratic leaning county and all the other countywide Rs lost Now in 2010 the county is even more Democratic. It makes no sense for Brizzi to go for a 3rd term. It makes sense for him to go out after his 2nd term on top, a winner.

I don't buy that no law firm would be interested in Brizzi. While he may not be a very good administrator, I haven't heard anyone claim Brizzi isn't a good trial attorney. Even if he were a mediocre attorney, which he isn't, big law firms like Barnes & Thornburg, Ice Miller, etc. hire mediocre attorneys all the time IF they think the attorney can bring political influence to the firm. I have no doubt that Brizzi, even if damaged by the Durham affair, will still be able to do that.

varangianguard said...

"Fair" Finance was named after its creator and first owner whose last name is Fair.

If little else, this publicity has likely trumped Mr. Brizzi's two earlier dog & pony prosecutions, and it isn't over yet, oh no. All that free publicity washed right down the drain.