Muncie Sanitary District

The Long & Winding Road

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The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door

We’re back.  Not going to lie, it has been a journey the past few months.  Life happens and we must travel the long, winding road at times.  We’ve been watching the city, the elections, the candidates, the weather and it’s been interesting, to say the least.

Now that we have the niceties out of the way, let’s get down to business.

The City of Muncie is out of control.  Shocking, we know.  If it’s not Mayor Tyler’s city council giving him the nod for nearly eight years, it’s the board of public works approving the purchase of ambulances.  Before the deal was even sealed, the city lined up an EMS director.

Dear people, don’t be fooled with Mayor Dennis Tyler’s feigned concern for the “underserved” of this city.  He had ample time to address the “underserved” and did nothing much, in fact, he never even considered it until a few weeks ago.    He held the position of state representative for six years.  Again, where was his concern?

Tyler has never been one to be proactive, rather he would be considered reactive at least when it comes to serving his constituents.  Do you know when he was proactive?  When he was in the back room of 214 Walnut St.  Also known as Democrat Headquarters.  Talk about designing an elaborate scheme to funnel tax dollars into the pockets of the elite.

After the 4th of July, the campaign season will kick into high gear.  You will hear promises, see plenty of smiles, handshakes.  In fact, you may even see city council members actually looking as if they are working for you.

Here’s what we have, incumbents all have records.  How did they vote?  Did they spend the past seven years voting straight down 214 party lines?  Suddenly, they are giving volume to your voice, or so it seems.  Are they really?  What will they be doing come January 1st, 2020?  Will, there still be a place for them at the 214 dinner table?   Probably.

You can be certain Tyler and Company had a plan in 2011 and it was executed fairly well.  We believe all the things we are seeing today is also a plan.  No, Mr. Tyler won’t be on the ballot but he and his cohorts will still be guarding their territory, make no mistake about it.    They must have their own sitting on the council and in the top seat.

Voters! Wake-up and smell the stench.

 

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Larry Riley “How uninvolved?”

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Larry Riley

3 hrs

Terry Whitt Bailey, Democrat candidate for Muncie mayor, has tried to separate herself from scandals at City Hall, where for years she’s led Community Development department, appointed by Mayor Dennis Tyler. “I was not involved in any of that,” Bailey wrote in today’s Star Press. How uninvolved?

In autumn of 2015, I was one of few people following Muncie’s building demolition program – this was months before the FBI got interested – and saw an odd new company enter the picture.

Capitol Consulting and Property Management began getting municipal, Muncie Sanitary District contracts for demolishing houses. I wanted a copy of city documents with the firm, whose sole contract person was an obscure south-side woman who had run an income tax prep firm. Company headquarters was her home in a residential neighborhood.

My request to the Board of Works for the Capitol Consulting contract was turned down: the board didn’t have a copy. That seemed odd, too, since the board, presided over by a city attorney named Quirk, is the official agency that handles city business. I was, however, told to ask Terry Whitt Bailey. Only she had a copy of the contract. Nobody else.
The city’s CD office had for years handled routine demolitions of abandoned and blighted housing, usually with a $100,000 annual budget covering 20-25 demolitions – at the usual price of $4-5,000 tops for tearing a structure down.

So I asked Bailey for a copy of the Capitol contract, a public record. She gave me a copy. I read it, checked with the Secretary of State’s office. Sole name I could find was the same south-side woman. The company incorporated only a few months earlier. I dug through records of Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management to find Capitol had *no* employees certified for asbestos testing or abatement. Yet asbestos work and demolition is what Capitol would do for the city and MSD. Law requires asbestos inspection prior to any building demolition. More oddities.

At the time, a confluence of events shaped up that I was trying to connect dots on. First, a new federal Blight Elimination Program had dumped $4 million on Muncie, but the city was sitting on the grant, taking forever to get its program underway. Admittedly federal and state requirements were complex, but was anything else at work?

Meanwhile, Bailey fired the one CD employee experienced in property demolitions. The employee was in charge of the city’s demolition program and worked with the city building commissioner and Unsafe Building Hearing Authority. She kept the records and prepared bids for demolitions. No one else knew as much about the process. I had known the employee for a long time: she worked hard and honestly.

About the same time, I uncovered phantom demolitions done by the building commissioner’s private firm under pretense of emergency work – billing the city more than $80,000 for razing just four houses, none of which actually had been taken down by the firm. I wrote that up in early 2016.

A few months later, for reasons unknown The Star Press decided to part ways with me.
Now, as is well known, the city’s former building commissioner Craig Nichols has started a federal prison term for those phantom demolitions that the FBI investigated. That strange new company Capitol Consulting? Turns out to have been a firm Nichols secretly owned, too. Capitol would bill the city, say, $800 for an asbestos inspection, then farm out the actual inspection to a certified firm from Fort Wayne who’d do the job for $500. Then another firm would be contracted to do the demolition for less than what Capitol was charging.

In retrospect, one can’t help but think somebody was putting all the pieces in place for the right people to siphon off lots of the federal millions coming up for demolition: get rid of an honest employee who wouldn’t have put up with the corruption and concoct a sham company to get the contracts. Amidst it all was the woman now chosen to be Democratic Party Headquarters candidate for mayor, to succeed Dennis Tyler, who decided not to run for re-election.

Bailey was at the nexus, a key to both the fired, honest employee and the bogus contractor.

At best, was Bailey manipulated and used by forces more powerful than she to do their bidding? At best, could she have been naïve beyond unbelief? At worst … well, you decide whether she “was not involved.” I always got along well with Bailey. She was always willing to see me. When the employee in question was let go, Bailey was the person I went to for comment. Bailey had none, but she confirmed the employee’s discharge. When I asked for the Capitol contract, she did not evade the request.

Yet she straddled the corruption of the Tyler administration. She was at the epicenter of wrongdoing and would appear to have been on the precipice of helping create an even bigger money grab at City Hall before the feds stepped in. Now she runs for mayor. The candidate of Democratic Headquarters.

Not an April Fool’s Day Joke

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black and white dog
Are you pulling my tail? Photo by Helena Lopes

 

Do you all remember Hank the Dog?  If not, here’s a synopsis.  Once upon a time, there was a dog named Hank.  Hank was notorious for being picked-up by city animal control.  You might go as far as to say he was targeted.  The owner was summoned to city court, and although the details are a little murky, one thing we do know, the City of Muncie violated their own animal control ordinances.  You see, there was nothing about the number of times an animal could be picked up and nothing about an owner having to appear in court.    Later they did change the ordinance after they violated it.

Dennis Tyler hired a local attorney firm to represent the City of Muncie. (We’ll leave out Tylers Indy firm for now.)

First, we need to ask, “Why are we paying for their services?”   Did the law firm not read city ordinances pertaining to Hank the Dog?  Did they not know about the Indiana law from 2013? Mayor Tyler and his administration are surrounded by attorneys. Think about this for just a minute.

Funny, how the city’s attorney could find an ordinance that was decades old. Suddenly, the elected officials are concerned because they aren’t following this ordinance. City Code 32.33.

Sec. 32.33. Time and place for regular meetings.
The first regular meeting of the council shall be
held on the first Monday in January after the
general election of the members-elect of the council, at 7:30 p.m. as provided by IC 18-1-3-2. All
regular meetings shall be held on the first Monday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. and may
be adjourned at the pleasure of the council. Adjourned meetings shall have all the force and
effect of regular meetings. Meetings shall be held
in the council chamber, unless otherwise determined by the president and designated on the
agenda.
(Code 1968, § 31.14; Ord. No. 620-80, 10-10-80)

The city council has been in violation of this for years.  So, what’s to stop them from violating a 2013 Indiana State law?  Or any law, for that matter?    As you can see, absolutely nothing.  Ah ha. Let’s have a meeting on January 1, 2018. Surely no one would show. And, and,  and we’ll be following an ordinance we have never observed.

As the City-run EMS began to heat up, the elected officials, who are supposed to represent the people were hoping to find a something that would weaken the DCEMS supporters on council turnouts.  Wrong on Muncie City Proper’s part.

Demolishing empty lots?  No problem.  We’ll change the addresses.   Who said anything about bid rigging?  Did you hear anything about bid rigging?

This has to be the most poorly run administration to date.  Or at least it comes close.  With all of the history and many of the old-timers would remember days gone by, there was quite a bit of action.  Have talked with a few and the stories they would tell.  Sadly, many have passed from this earth.  Oral history is most effective.

So just for fun, and possibly to jog a few memories, here is a clipping from the local newspaper dated February 21, 1993.  You would think the cost of corruption would be enough to throw these characters out on their ear.  Nope.  They are like a bad penny…just keep showing up again and again.  Most have been replaced with the younger generation.  Make no mistake they learn from their elders.

How do you define insanity?  Well, yes, it’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Muncie Debt History 2011-2018

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Muncie, IN

As we were sifting thru the Muncie Politics files we found an editorial written after McShurley lost the election.   The editorial ended with McShurley saying she is leaving the city in better shape than when she took office.    The writers of the editorial concurred.  This piqued our interest and decided to see if it was an accurate statement.

Mayor McShurley announced in 2011 during the Chats with the Mayor there was enough money to provide raises/or bonuses to every employee.  At the end of her term, she said there would be enough money to fund the MFD if the SAFER grant was not renewed.  These comments infuriated Dennis Tyler’s supporters and they lost no time calling her a liar and various other vulgar adjectives.

Was it a lie?  She did leave the city with $8 million and it was confirmed by the audit Mayor Tyler’s administration commissioned.  Government reports showed a minimal amount of debt.    Of course, we knew the debt was Tuhey Pool.

The debt spiked in 2013 and it appears the city borrowed money and the next year paid off some debt.  This is the only logical explanation minus a clerical error, which is doubtful.  So, listed is the principal debt only (no interest) owed by the City of Muncie and MSD.  If you want more complete detail,  simply click on the link directly below each year. 

Oh yea, 2013 is the year Mayor Tyler appointed Todd Donati as the MRC director.  

Pulled up the Annual Financial Reports for 2011 & 2018 and searched for accounts which had a negative beginning or ending balance.  The search showed 2011 with 10 negative balances and 2018  having 25 negatives.  You will find the full Annual Reports for 2011 and 2018 at the end of this post. 

All the data is from the Indiana Transparency Portal and based on the financial reports submitted to the State of Indiana from the City of Muncie and Muncie Sanitary.  The city, knowing the revenue was declining, the debt growing and the insatiable need to use taxpayer-funded-monies for personal and party gain had no recourse but to increase taxes 43% in 2015.

If you’re reading this and a candidate for a city position, you may consider taking some time to review the documents.  After all, should you win, this will be your baby to diaper.

Muncie Civil City, Delaware County, Indiana
Total Outstanding Debt Obligations

As of 3-16-19

Muncie City: Principal & Interest Debt as of Mar. 16, 2019 $69,899,513
Wastewater: Principal & Interest Debt as of Mar. 16, 2019 $177,301,243
Muncie Civil City, Delaware County, Indiana

Debt Statement – 2011-2018

Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2011 $2,682,274.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2011 $22,530,000.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2012 $2,760,000.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2012 $22,530,000.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2013 $53,596,000.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2013 $66,297,638.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2014 $39,897,615.09
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2014 $71,096,393.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2015 $38,236,432.09
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2015 $77,435,645.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2016 $ 38,562,681.56 
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2016 $137,838,344.85
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2017 $ 37,706,163.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2017 $139,133,585.36
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2018 $ 35,997,466.75
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2018 $137,251,590.57
Annual Financial Reports

Ex-building commissioner – going down

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MC900439169

Bad company corrupts good morals.

One who runs from corrupt people is wise indeed.

Birds of a feather, flock together.

Be sure, your sins will be found out.

Here we are nearly three weeks into 2019 and finally, the sentencing memorandum of Muncie’s ex-building commission has been made available.    So, let’s begin with the persons named in the memorandum.

Here is every name listed in the Nichols sentencing memo

(Full text of the memo is located at the end of the post.)

The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.   Some of the people were doing their jobs – their consciences could not be seared.  Those would be the ones who resigned or perhaps fired.

One name, Aaron Kidder, was a rising star in the city’s administration.  He was the right-hand man to Mayor Tyler.  Intelligent, well spoken and to his detriment (at least in this administration) honest.

“Nichols asked Kidder if he would be willing to say that he acquired quotes from Gibbs even though he had not. Kidder refused.”

And then there is Audrey Jones, the city controller.  She complied with an FOIA.

Jones gave Marsh copies of the original invoices, and then approached Nichols to inform him that she had turned them over during the FOIA request.

What exactly did Dennis Tyler know and was he aware of the bid-rigging, demolitions?  The answer would be yes.  Although when issues came up, he blew them off with a “nah” and a smile.  How could average citizens, people not privy to the inner workings of his administration, have information and the mayor didn’t know?

Note Ross Bater’s comment:

  • Brater states that had they been competitively bid instead of awarded to Nichols through fraud, it would have cost the Muncie taxpayers between $8,800 and $9,200 on average to demolish each property. Nichols (according to his own calculation) billed on average $19,500 per property.  Source: Muncie Star Press 1-18-19

Local columnist and what he knew

Three years ago Larry Riley wrote about the cost of demolitions done by Nichols’ company.    We might presume Gibbs Construction would be the one and the same.  Just a wild guess.  Amazingly, Riley had all the facts, figures and names and the column published in the local paper yet Mayor Tyler did nothing.  Larry was on top of it and the FBI confirms it.

Certainly having him give quotes to compare with Advanced Walls helped the latter immensely, as each Gibbs Construction quote was even higher, usually a few hundred bucks, than the unduly high Advanced Walls quote. Thus a cost conscious administration went with the lower quote.

The four demolitions averaged $20,375 each, or more specifically:

— 527 W. Wilson, an 850 square-foot house with no basement, razed for $22,000 by Advanced Walls.

— 424 S. Proud St., 1,700 square feet, two stories, plus 400 square-foot detached garage, for $19,500.

— 320 S. Beacon, 1,216 square feet, no basement, for $19,500.

— 909 S. Wolfe St., 964 square feet, half basement, for $21,500

Source: Muncie Star Press March 6, 2016

Check-out the full column below.

Larry Riley: More lair-razing questions

 

 No one would notice or no one would care

Given his powerful allies, Nichols figured that either no one would notice or no one would care, and he quietly submitted $81,500 in invoices to the City between August 7, 2015, and October 5, 2015 for work he didn’t perform. Nichols used his company, Advanced Walls and Ceilings, for this.

What did the mayor know and when

Did no one notice or did no one care?  The administration did notice and no one cared.  It’s amazing all the channels put in place and Nichols slipped by?   The public didn’t seem to care and so it continued.  But yes, considering all the information we have received in the past 24 hours and past articles, State Board of Accounts audits, and the continuous presence of the FBI should have been a wake-up call and instead, it was business as usual.

To read the full report click the link below (pdf).

craig-nichols-sentencing-memo 1-16-19

 

MC900439169

Missing Larry Riley

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As we get closer to the November elections we are beginning to see the 214 Democrats hard at work.  

Earlier Muncie Politics wrote about the unintentional candidate for a position as a Democrat precinct committee member.  Although, no elected officials, not the County Clerk Mike King or the County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold and neither of the political party chairs felt the need to pursue how the unintentional candidate was able to beat the intentional candidate.  Score 1 for the local Democrat Headquarters.  How to unintentionally win a race

Next on the list is the swinging door for the commissioner’s race.  Phill Peckingpaugh withdrew early on – citing health issues.  The seat for commissioner remained unfilled for several months until Brock Reagan stepped up to run.   A few weeks later Reagan dropped from the race.  He cited lack of time and money. providing an opening for the third time in the commissioner’s race.

As luck would have it, the Democrats immediately found a replacement in Jason Donati,  MSD Stormwater educator, and MCS advisory board member.  Jason was nominated by Mayor Tyler for the new school board but wasn’t chosen.

Asked if he had another candidate to fill the commissioner vacancy on the fall ballot, Craycraft said, “They’re talking to some people.”  Candidate resigns another files

Wonder if “they” talked with Dave Ring?  He ran as a Democrat, albeit, an outsider.  Now Ring is running as an independent for commissioner.    

Here is the timeline of the commissioner’s race:

  1. Phil Peckinpaugh files and drops out.
  2. The position sits vacant for several months.
  3. Brock Reagan drops from the recorder’s race and runs as commissioner.
  4. Jason Donati is not appointed to the MCS school board.
  5. Reagan quickly resigns from the race.
  6. Dave Ring files as an independent.
  7. Democrats immediately pick Donati.

Let’s go back to 2012.  Todd Donati lost his bid for a second term as commissioner.  A few weeks later, Muncie Redevelopment director retires unexpectedly after 20 years.  As luck would have it Mayor Tyler appoints the former commissioner and longtime friend, Todd Donati to the position recently vacated…as luck would have it.

So why the blog title Missing Larry Riley?  We lack solid political commentary in this county.  No one gets to the meat of an issue.  Perhaps there is no need.  We all know what’s what in Delaware County politics.  Here is an example:

Yet we’re facing stranger times. Once Dennis Tyler took over the Muncie mayor’s office in 2012, and then saw no Republican opposition in his re-election, the floodgates opened up for people running Democratic Party Headquarters. Nothing stopped Democratic HQ from using reins of Muncie government for its own purposes, including to line pockets.
That’s what the FBI has been investigating since late in 2015, and resulted so far in one arrest, that of the Mayor’s building commissioner, the son of the man in the seat of power in Democratic Headquarters. That FBI investigation remains ongoing in Muncie, recently heating up.
I’ve always liked Dudley, and he’s always been cordial and willing to talk with me. But joining your star to that particular Headquarters, a corrupt party and city administration, is treacherous. Larry Riley May 1, 2018

The only way Delaware County is ever going to advance beyond the corruption, poverty, absence of fruitful economic development, and 214 political appointments is to vote NO! to anyone who is affiliated with the 214 mainstream Democrats.

  #No!to214Dems