In strong statements during an Afternoons with Amos interview, key Democrats on the City-County Council went on the attack against Mayor Greg Ballard and his Administration over the continuing lack of clear information about the Regional Operations Center (ROC) Center. In the interview, Democrats flatly said they won’t move forward with the Mayor Ballard’s Justice Center proposal until all questions about both projects are answered. Include new charges of alleged corruption and wrong doing by two of the major vendors involved in the Justice Center.
Council Majority Leader Monroe Gray and ROC Special Committee Chair Joe Simpson accompanied the Council’s Fiscal Analyst Bart Brown explained the issues surrounding, from democrats point of view, being getting stonewalled and the run around from officials all year from the Ballard Administration over the financial shenanigans surrounding the controversial Regional Operations Center (ROC).Joe Simpson
The ROC was a facility built inside the old Eastgate Shopping Mall just before the 2012 Super Bowl that would serve as a joint emergency command center for public safety, homeland security and Indianapolis police. But Democrats have put their foot down, demanding straight answers from the Mayor and top Ballard Administration officials about the bizarre arrangements, leases and unusual financial transactions surrounding the ROC. Councilors Gray and Simpson said if Democrats don’t get straight answers they’ll stall consideration of a new Ballard Administration proposal to hire a consortium of private, mostly non-American companies to build a new combined Marion County jail and Marion County Criminal Courts Building, referred to as the Marion County Justice Center. Council Analyst Bart Brown told Afternoons with Amos listeners new information not shared by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Adam Collins in a December 15th Afternoons with Amos interview about the Justice Center. Bart Brown said Justice Center documents indicate the city will be paying “escalating yearly payments” to the developers. But, Collins told Amos and listeners the City would be paying a fixed rate of $4x.x million yearly for 35 years. Councilman Grey and Simpson blasted the total lack of information about African-American owned companies participating in major ways on the Justice Center. A sharp departure from past major projects which had African-American owned contractors involved at high levels from the project’s initial days. Asked directly if Deputy Mayor Collins misled or told untruths in his December 15th Afternoons with Amos interview, the Council leaders said yes. All three blasted the inclusion of Cofely Services as one of the Justice Center’s vendors. Cofely is under investigation in their home country Spain, accused of bribing mayors and other Spanish public and elected officials. Amos dropped a bombshell with the guests quoting the Advance Indiana blog which reports that another Justice Center vendor, Walsh Construction, has been sued by Black employees charging racial discrimination and having a hostile workplace for Blacks and minorities. They said the amount of money involved in the Justice Center, which could approach over $2 billion over 35 years and the many unanswered questions in the ROC deal mandates that the Council take its time evaluating the proposals to “get it right”. Click the Media Player to hear Council Democrats Response to the ROC Scandal and the Justice Center Plans. Runs 29 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.