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Johnson County Public Library fraud scandal - it's all about ICE MILLER

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IMPORTANT! Media opportunity: "Library meeting planned to discuss Franklin plans Daily Journal Staff Report County library officials are planning meetings to discuss the future of library branches with the public.Johnson County Public Library is planning a meeting at 4:30 p.m. June 4 at the Franklin branch to get ideas from the public [& questions from reporters?] on the future of the branch." [Tip: You could ask them about their scams too.]

PRESS RELEASE: Ice Miller, Indiana news media, and the Johnson County Public Library fraud scandal.
Contact: Gary W. Moody info@ccjcin.org

BACKGROUND: Ice Miller & the Johnson County Public Library fraud scandal.

In 2004, when Ice Miller backed out of its role defending their client Lawrence Utilities in the suit brought by the City of Lawrence over the theft of their municipal water utility, the reason given was "too much was being made of Ice Miller's involvement in the litigation." Well, it's deja vu all over again, because the lawsuit filed on the public's behalf against Johnson County Public Library District and state officials, involving various acts of fraud, is ALL ABOUT Ice Miller! Once again, Ice Miller is skirting Indiana ethics rules by defending parties involved in acts which Ice Miller was also involved in. I've asked the judge to toss them out of the case. But the Indiana Attorney General's joinder with Ice Miller's defense strategy (basically an attempt to ignore the facts and confuse the court) is so disturbing that it calls for a review of Ice Miller, the 2nd largest law firm in Indiana, one of the 150 largest in the US, expanding into Ohio and Illinois political and corporate business and now, taking some of their wettest "rainmakers" with them to lobby in Washington, D.C.

LAWRENCE UTILITIES SCANDAL

See "Waterworks: The story behind Lawrence's controversial utility contract": http://www2.indystar.com/articles/1/196468-6091-092.html
More information is on the Advance Indiana blog and The Indiana Law Blog.

Long-time Lawrence city boss Tom Schneider cut a backroom deal in 2001 to hand over the municipal water company to a group of cronies, along with a multi-million dollar subsidy (part of which fetched a condo in Naples, FL, a yacht, pool, etc). That no-bid contract was arranged by Ice Miller attorney Phillip Bayt. Ice Miller also cut an $11 million bond deal for the new utility owners. When new mayor Deborah Cantwell sued in 2004 to overturn the contract, and have Ice Miller barred from defending their clients based upon conflict of interest, Ice Miller made the outrageous claim that they had acted merely as "scriveners" in the deal - just wrote on paper, didn't give legal advice - and therefore could participate as defense in Cantwell's suit. They eventually backed out, and the judge threw out the utility contract. Bayt is now "chief managing partner" at Ice Miller, and involved with their new venture into Washington lobbying. (As is Gary Dankert, the attorney trying to quash the JCPL suit.) We can ponder what contracts will result from that...

The Lawrence scandal was cited in a paper by the Pacific Institute, using language very damning of the situation not just in Lawrence, but also in Johnson County and Indiana generally:

"Limited transparency and stakeholder participation also create a decision-making environment within which corruption is hard to identify. The US has relatively low levels of corruption by international standards [?], but it is most certainly not absent. Public officials have voted for projects or con-tracts that were not in the public interest but instead created profits for friends or illegal payments or kickbacks to the officials themselves. Such votes may involve international private companies or just reflect “good old boy” networks...

For example, the decision by the Lawrence, Indiana City Council in 2001 to give control of the city’s waterworks to a newly formed company, Lawrence Utilities LLC, for up to 50 years in a no-bid contract certainly supports the appearance of corruption. Mayor Deborah Cantwell, who was elected in 2003 against the 16-year incumbent mayor who supported the contract, claims that corruption was involved and that Lawrence Utilities has paid $4 million in consulting contracts to companies con-trolled by former city workers and has used a web of companies to pay for personal real estate deals."
(Beyond privatization: Restructuring water systems to improve performance. Gary Wolff, Eric Hallstein December 2005)

The FBI investigated this convoluted scam, but the investigation was dropped with no charges filed. Perhaps not coincidentally, the US Attorney in Indianapolis at the time, Susan Brooks (who's now running for Congress), had previously worked at Ice Miller. Her deputy at the time, Tim Morrison, became interim US Attorney when Brooks left in 2007 to work for Ivy Tech (another Ice Miller client). Morrison, the only US Attorney I've ever argued with, quashed my complaint to his office in early 2010, and was probably involved in quashing its re-submission to his successor Joe Hogsett, for whom he worked for a few months. Mark Massa, who ignored my complaints as Daniels' general counsel, also worked for Brooks.

As the Advance Indiana blog opined regarding the FBI dropping the ball on the Lawrence scams (Oct. 18, 2007): "I've never understood how the local FBI office could have investigated this deal and walked away from it without bringing any criminal charges. You would be hard-pressed to find deals as bad as this that haven't been prosecuted in Chicago in recent years by the same federal law enforcement agency. I don't know what's going on with the Justice Department in this town, but it seems to have a cozy relationship with all the folks who have been abusing the public trust for decades now in this town." Indeed.

BRIAN BAILEY, DEPT. OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE COMMISSIONER

On August 27, 2009, ten days after JCPL received unlawful approval from the Franklin City Council for the $2 million bond issue, I phoned the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance and complained to Micah Vincent, then a staff attorney, and Brian Bailey, who was general counsel for DLGF. In an email 9/9/09, Vincent parroted fruadulent info he'd gotten from BJ Deppe and/or Ice Miller:

"The JCPL was established as a city library, by subscription, pursuant to the Acts of 1901, Chapter 55, entitled, in part:  'An act for the establishment, increase and maintenance of public libraries in cities and incorporated towns'...
Attached are the following:
    a.  Acts of 1901, Chapter 55 (as enacted and as printed in Burns).
    b.  Records of the Johnson Circuit Court for June 13, 1911.    
They are difficult to read, but I note that they are entitled:  'In the Matter of the Establishment of a Free Public Library in the City of Franklin, Johnson County, Indiana'.
Thus, the city council would be the appropriate body to grant approval to issue bonds."

I was missing some key information at that time, but I replied with as much JCPL history as I could find. On 9/21/09 I was sent the following, which was also copied to Jake Speer at the State Library:

"Per your request, I reviewed the information you submitted.  It does not indicate that the library board violated the law in taking its action. Please note that this review is not a statutory obligation of the Department.  Nor was the library board required to seek the Department's approval to issue bonds. This e-mail should not be considered a 'final determination' or a 'finding' of the Department. The Department is not authorized to administratively adjudicate this issue but has conducted a review of the submitted information as a courtesy to you, a taxpayer.

Brian Bailey
General Counsel
Indiana Department of Local Government Finance"

Unknown to me at the time that after graduating IU Law School in 2000, Brian Bailey was employed by ICE MILLER, reaching "senior associate", and had left there to move into the General Counsel seat at DLGF just SIX MONTHS prior, in March 2009! (That sequence was noted incorrectly in my complaint, which I've since corrected.) Bailey has since been rewarded with the position of Commissioner of that department. Micah Vincent is now Assistant General Counsel for Governor Mitch Daniels (under Anita Samuel, who went so far as to ignore our citizens' petition on the scandal!) Complaints to DLGF were also quashed by Dan Jones, Assistant Director, Budget Division, the then Chief-of-Staff / Director of Communications, Mary Jane Michalak, who is now Executive Director at State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana, and the then-Commissioner, Timothy J. Rushenberg, who now runs Strategic Resources, Inc. (SRI), which handles Sheriff's tax sales for Johnson and various other counties in Indiana.

TODD ROKITA

Former Marion County GOP Chair Tom John joined Ice Miller as a partner in 2008. Among his many political connections is none other than TODD ROKITA, who as Indiana Secretary of State was directly involved in quashing my complaint (made in Oct. 2009) to his Securities Division. John managed Rokita's campaign for that office.

MITCH DANIELS

Briefly: Ice Miller has been a big donor to Daniels & his PAC. Harry L. Gonso, senior counsel and chief of staff to Gov. Mitch Daniels, was an Ice Miller attorney, rejoined the firm, is there now, one of the advisors to the Ice Miller Strategies lobbying venture in Washington. Kyle Hupfer left Ice Miller to accept Daniels' appointment as DNR Commissioner - we'll never forget his great ideas such as drilling in the Glendale State Fish and Wildlife Area, guns in the parks, etc. Former GOP Rep. Luke Messer got Daniels' toll road lease through the legislature, jumped ship to Ice Miller (Ice Miller got $1.3 for the toll road lease deal), and is now running for Congress.

ICE MILLER, BOND BEHEMOTH

"Ice Miller has served as bond counsel and special counsel to state and local governments since 1910. Our attorneys have also served as bond counsel to almost every municipality, county, school corporation and authority in Indiana and many local governments and authorities in Illinois. Each year, we approve 250 to 430 municipal financings with a total principal of up to $6.6 billion. Ice Miller attorneys are prominent in national bond attorney groups. Ice Miller has been ranked among national leaders in many types of government financings, including hospitals, schools, higher education, infrastructure, tax increment and economic development transactions. It is our continuing commitment to provide our clients with timely, high-quality bond counsel services at a reasonable cost."

See also: http://www.icemiller.com/service_detail_popup/id/38/index.aspx
"Ice Miller has approved a majority of Indiana bond issues for decades. We have consistently been ranked number one for the volume of bond deals in Indiana, approving more Indiana transactions than all other firms combined. We were ranked number one in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) by The Bond Buyer newspaper for our 2005 deals and number four in 2006. The Firm's practitioners actively engage in legislative drafting for the Indiana General Assembly and represent numerous municipal utilities before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission."

"Our Clients" [a sample, plus my notes]
Association of Indiana Counties
Ball State University [nigh on a million to defend a cop in a shooting case]
ChaCha Search, Inc [$2 million state grant, kicked back at least $1.1 million to Daniels, has search deals with State, IU]
Eli Lilly and Company [Mitch Daniels' former employer]
Emmis Communications [owns news outlets WIBC, Network Indiana - see also Indiana Broadcasters Assn. below]
Illinois Finance Authority [via former DuPage County Board Chair Robert J. Schillerstrom]
Indiana Association of Cities & Towns
Indiana Black Expo, Inc.
Indiana Bond Bank [Chaired by Dick Mourdock: "The primary mission of the Indiana Bond Bank is to assist local government in obtaining low-cost financing for their operations."]
Indiana Broadcasters Association [! See below.]
Indiana Chamber of Commerce
Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
Indiana Finance Authority [run by Daniels appointees, including Mourdock; ramrodded Daniels' Rockport gas plant scam via Director/former Ice Miller atty Jennifer Alvey; hired Ice on toll road deal/lawsuit]
Indiana Health and Educational Facility Financing Authority
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority
Indiana Municipal Power Agency
Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority [got $850,000 from Daniels on Colts stadium deal]
Indiana State University
Indiana University [where they seem to get a lot of their fresh attorneys]
Indiana University Health [a.k.a. Clarion - hired Jennifer Alvey!]
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Indianapolis Airport Authority [Airport Midfield Terminal]
Indianapolis Power & Light Company
Indianapolis, City of [made $950,000 on parking meters deal which former Marion Co. GOP honcho/Ice Miller atty. Tom John helped talk Ballard into]
[Indianapolis Water Company bond/sale debacle]
Integrated Resources, LLC [Sister firm of Lawrence Utilities LLC! Used in the shady Naples FL condo deal!]
Irving Materials, Inc. [in its years-long price fixing scandal]
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana [politically-connected and sketchy institution]
Johnson & Johnson
Lucas Oil Products, Inc
McDonald's Corporation
Ports of Indiana
Procter & Gamble Company
Purdue University
School Choice Indiana Network, Inc.
Target Corporation
The Coca-Cola Company
University of Illinois
University of Notre Dame
Vectren Corporation
WFYI
["Ice Miller, LLP Indy Wine Fest, hosted by WFYI is a favorite with central Indiana wine lovers." There's a link to Ice Miller from the IWIR page - see notes on Jim Shella below.]
[John Krull, who is director of the Pulliam School of Journalism, runs a group of college reporters at the Statehouse, and has a radio show on WFYI, ignores all messages regarding the JCPL scandal or other corruption.]
+ various colleges, hospitals, universities, churches, nonprofits, corporations, etc

SOME OTHER ICE MILLER HIGHLIGHTS

Ice Miller paid its partners an average of $590,000 in 2010, the most of any local law firm.

The Indiana State Library's Library Development Office (LDO) maintains a document on its web site entitled "Funding a Library Building Project" which is a reprint of "Financing Your Library Construction Project: A Summary of Procedures" by Ice Miller, LLP.

Tim Durham worked there after law school at IU.

Disgraced Indiana Criminal Justice Institute director Heather Bolejack's prior job was at Ice Miller.

Washington Township Trustee Frank Short paid Ice Miller $20,000 to fight a $758 poor relief tab.

Kokomo paid Ice Miller $11,000 to fight a records request by a high school student.

Ice Miller lobbied for Tremco in its school construction scandal.

Hired as its "Illinois rainmaker" a DuPage County IL (just west of Chicago) political strongman, Robert J. Schillerstrom, with ties to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and former IL Governor Rod Blagojevich, and who'd looted the treasury of the county water utility to "balance" the county budget. He's also one of the advisors to the Ice Miller Strategies lobbying venture in Washington

Above the Law's January 2012 Lawyer of the Month: "The winner of this month’s contest is none other than Ice Miller attorney, Courtney King. King’s claim to fame (or infamy) is her alleged statement to the police during her late-night arrest  outside of a Louisville bar: 'You are going to… die. I’m a lawyer. You can Google me. You are dead. I work at a law firm in Indianapolis.'"

THE NEWS MEDIA AND ICE MILLER

As noted above, Ice Miller represents the Indiana Broadcasters Association (IBA). Pretty much all of the local broadcast news media, in other words. Who've been quite reticent, or slow at best, to report the JCPL scandal. Prime examples come from IBA's leadership:

Vice Chair Television
Jeff White [station manager]
WISH/WNDY TV

White personally, and his news director, and staff, have gotten beau-coup tips about the JCPL scandal. "Political reporter" Jim Shella's show on WFYI "Indiana Week in Review" is sponsored by Ice Miller, who "partner... with WFYI... to offer SMS text or e-mail topic alerts sent in advance of each week's broadcast" I've asked White and Shella directly if their relationships with Ice Miller conflict with their news reporting, or lack thereof, on this scandal. They haven't commented on that.

IBA Directors:
District 5
Charlie Morgan (2012)
WFNI/WIBC/WLHK/WYXB

WIBC has also received lots of press releases/tips on this scandal, all ignored. Owner Emmis Communications is also a client of Ice Miller, as noted above.

District 7
John Cardenas (2012) [station manager]
WTHR TV

Cardenas, his hotshot reporter Bob Segall, his news director, AND the station owner all refuse to report this scandal. They've gone to great lengths in their refusals, I'll grant them that, but none of it makes any sense. But it's hard to make sense when there's a hidden agenda.

Finally: The Daily Journal and its owner, Home News Enterprises, are the "good ol' boys" of small-town newspapers in Indiana. The DJ will not report on local public corruption, and will go to any extreme to cover it up. As for the Indianapolis Star - God knows. It's fallen very far, very fast. Let's hope that the new editor will save it. But since its owned by Gannett, don't bet the farm on that.


Info and docs: http://www.ccjcin.org/library.htm
More audio and video: http://www.youtube.com/user/djsuxdotcom

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