Democrats charge conflict in parking meter deal

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Local Democrats are questioning whether a lobbyist who represents both the city of Indianapolis and the company the city chose to receive a lucrative parking-meter operations contract might have influenced the selection.

Joe Loftus, a partner at Indianapolis-based law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP, is the city’s chief Statehouse lobbyist and also is registered to lobby for Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc.

The city last month entered into a 50-year agreement with ACS in a deal city leaders are promoting as a way to modernize meters and generate at least $400 million in revenue for road and sidewalk improvements in areas near the meters.The deal still needs final approval from the City-County Council, which delayed a Sept. 20 vote on it.

Critics have said the deal would restrict the city’s flexibility when it comes to urban planning while raking in lots of revenue for ACS—perhaps as much as $1.2 billion, according to an IBJ estimate.

Marion County Democrats on Tuesday charged in a press release that Loftus is “apparently using his contract with the city to enrich other clients, most specifically ACS.”

When reached by phone Wednesday morning, Loftus acknowledged he has lobbied for ACS “for years,” but said he was not involved in the negotiations from either side.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” he said. “Nobody’s ever attacked me like this. That’s not acceptable.”

Loftus further said he’s never discussed the parking deal with Mayor Greg Ballard and pointed to an ethics ordinance the mayor led that requires anyone contracted with the city to disclose other contracts.

But Ed Treacy, Marion County Democratic Party Chairman, argued that the appearance of a conflict is serious enough to question the entire parking proposal.

“[Loftus] may not have talked to the mayor directly, but he surely is communicating to his staff,” Treacy maintained. “A lot of stuff can be done by innuendo.”

City spokesman Robert Vane said he is confident that no conflict exists.

“I know from my conversations that he never spoke to the mayor about the parking deal,” Vane said. “Mr. Treacy is a career lobbyist. It’s a little curious for him to be throwing stones.”

The proposal to lease the city’s parking meters would require ACS to bring 200 jobs to Indianapolis for at least seven years.
City officials this week began touting that part of the agreement, as the deal increasingly becomes a subject of heated debate.



  • The Face of Americas Unemployed
    Is anyone familiar with "The Face Of Americas Homeless", a photo essay by Lynn Blodgett founder and CEO of ACS? Look it up and then think about how many of us have lost our jobs at ACS while they outsource to India, Mexico and Guatemala. Why not a new photo essay "The Face of Americas Unemployed, Thanks to my Company ACS".
  • to ahv
    Because they are getting kickbacks
  • Who are you?
    I am fascinated by your posts. I worked at ACS and lost my job there. I would really like to talk to you. I agree with so much of what you say. However, what can really be done about it?
    ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS - SEC Charges Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. With Stock Options Backdating and False Disclosures: "The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., alleges that from 1995 to 2006, ACS engaged in a fraudulent and deceptive scheme to provide executives and other employees with undisclosed compensation."

    Above is a part of a recent investigation into ACS.

    Seriously folks let's get real.
    Public officials are supposed to be trustees of the commonweal, not political
    buccaneers seeking their own private gain. But sometimes, in what economists call a
    principal-agent problem, those trustees forsake that obligation and misuse the power
    delegated to them in ways that advance their personal interests rather than those of the
    Corruption distorts the allocation of resources toward projects that
    can generate illicit payoffs. Besides the undesirable efficiency consequences arising
    from this distortion, the effect is likely to aggravate social inequalities, because the poor and powerless suffer, by definition, a comparative disadvantage in securing special favors.
    If the $500,000 has to be paid if the City-County Council will not vote for the ACS deal. Pay ACS's political blackmail scheme and get them out of town. Like all the other commentaries together with articles I've been reading have showed, ACS is not the kind of corporation we want in our town. Political blackmail, special interests, conflict of interests, WHERES THE FBI? WHERES THE FEDS?
    Has anyone ever read ACS Ethical Standards they try to impose on their employees at the welfare office. Their employees aren't allowed to accept even a Christmas card. Yet the CEO's and Directors of this company have done just that.
    ACS is a shameful, unethical, disgraceful hypocrite, not to mention the so called "leaders" of Indianapolis for creating this mess.
    What an embarrassment to our city.

  • A Cush Job with ACS
    is what Ballard and Huber expect to get out this deal. That's what Goldsmith and Mitch Rube got after they gave ACS a no-bid city contract. And that was for much less money. Ol' Mitch Rube paid ACS back with the state's welfare system contract.

    The least Ballard and Huber could do is pledge they will not accept an ACS job for the next 50 years.
  • ACS in bed with Ballard
    Mayor Ballard must be in bed with ACS or his kick backs from ACS must be worth the bad press. This goes to show that Mayor Greg Ballard has no idea whats going on in the city of Indianapolis. If he had any idea and the mess this company Affiliated Computer Service has made of the food stamp and welfare office, he might have made a more wise choice before choosing acs for the deal.
    Did Mayor Ballard get: Colts seasons tickets? Free Airfare for life from ACS? Free lifetime parking for the Mayor at any downtown location? Maybe he wanted a matching Mitch Daniels RV.
  • Affiliated Computer Services
    Yes they were fined. Now they beat their welfare employees down so that their next federal assessment appears to show improvement. What ACS isn't telling, their current reports are being fabricated. Interesting combination with Roob and Mitch Daniels. That should be enough doubt not to allow ACS to own the city for the next 50 years.
  • response
    Didn't ACS get fined by the SEC?
    • Sorry "Leonardo"...
      But unfortunately we Republicans are so wrong-minded on this deal that we made Ed Treacy correct. That's what's sad. There is no excuse for entering into a 50 year contract or making Loftus' client wealthier to the tune of $1.2 billion.

      This deal is the height of fiscal irresponsibility. I'm ashamed that my Republican councilor may vote for it.
      • Why Dims Fail......
        Ed Treacy, another political hack, professional lobbyist and crony, brays about 'appearance of a conflict'...typical...

        This city is struggling for revenue now...to make badly-needed infrastructure improvements, now....

        We are still waiting for the first non-political recommendation from the Ed Treacys
        in the Indy Dimocrat party to address this city's financial problem.....
        • SAY NO TO ACS
          Quoting a paragraph from the IndyStar, "Robert Lutz, the Republican chairman of the council's Rules and Public Policy Committee, which is reviewing the Indianapolis proposal, said he wants to make sure the city won't be "held hostage" by the vendor for decades to come." -----If you have to make reference "held hostage", why would the city of Indianapolis want to do business with a company that have integrity issues, not to mention transparency issues. If you have to mention, "Make Sure", there's already doubt in the mind of Robert Lutz, so he should use his gut instinct and say NO to ACS.
          ACS has numerous failed contracts throughout the United States and globally. They've failed our cities welfare system. Do we seriously want to keep entrusting ACS? Do we seriously trust a company that has no integrity, no ethical standard, and no transparency?
          • Freddy312@gmail.com
            So Mike, you think a company given a 50 year monopoly contract would be efficient at running the meters? I have no doubt more money will be made on the meters...more money for ACS, not the City. But then we wouldn't know would we? After all we're not allowed to ask them how much they made in the contract.
          • THE FIRM
            Lets see they get a guaranteed bump in 2 years, are entitled to the income stream for 50 years. Can Huber disclose the operating costs? If Not FIRE HIM! It cannot be much relative to the income stream.

            I submit a Securitization for 35 to 40 million say plus another 8 million for new meters be created and the bonds there with be sold with say an income stream to be outstanding for a period of 50 years (if based on the ridiculous income split with ACS)or more appropriately 10 years and let the business owners, ratepayors and taxpayers have the first right of refusal to the SUBSCRIPTION AGREEMENT in that exact order... Thus you align the interest of the business owners, taxpayers and ratepayers (and they can graft from themselves).

            I guarantee this SUBSCRIPTION would be over subscribed. If not the State of Indiana can fill the gap and ALLOW PERF to make a solid investment for the Indiana Retirees as it would be a solid investment WITHIN INDIANA WITH BIG TIME UPSIDE. Thus the City of Indianapolis merely sells off a right to receive income for a period of time but never severed i.e. sold CONTROL of this PUBLIC TAXPAYOR ASSET.

            I cannot believe the inept, possibly unethical leaders that surround themselves around Ballard. WHERE IS THE FBI? From Brizzi to the Mayors Office it is just simply unbelievable. What was that Movie called in Memphis THE FIRM... TOTAL MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC ASSETS, here...

            These thugs have been caught. I hope the STAR will step up. THANKS IBJ great journalism!!

            I think they should feature a REALITY TV SHOW that discloses the Grafters in Bell, CA ; INDPLS, IN , Cleveland, OH....

            • Mayor Marine, Metrosexual Vaughn, Sycophant Huber
              It is not the just the democrats. These thugs at City Hall are not much different than the leaders of Bell,CA who were picked up this week for theft.

              Check out the link to these Cleveland City leaders who were icked up by the FBI as well. Coming to a neighborhood near you soon. Click the link and read. Just how do people like Brizzi, Vaughn, Huber get in these positions?

            • sell bonds to raise cash
              Change meters over time, we have had them this long, what the diff. 200 local jobes for 7 years, why not 50+ jobs for 50 years. Even if the the indy gov. is less then efficient, no profits will leave the state. I would think the self governed revenue would be greater then the (net) split with Texas. Let a privet company tie up puplic free will to property rights is dam scary, and out right criminal. Let me know where and when to picket, I'm in. Hoosiers can handle this themselves. Bonds will be swallowed up, MM is near 1.5% if your lucky. Delighted to know the great state of Indiana is benefiting from our money on the cheep for the benefit of our fellow Hoosiers.
            • Common Sense
              @Mike. Gee, where do you think the company will find this higher revenue? Maybe by increasing the parking rate? The City can do that by itself - it doesn't need a middleman.
            • Parking PR Nightmare
              While the Mayor and is staff. I have to say doing a great job on trying to get us more efficient. I feel he is taking the Steve Goldsmith path of politics. Get the word out do not push deals down our throats. Remember you work for the citizens. Steve. I mean Greg.
            • B&T
              Loftus and Grand are both little thugs. They and their little servants have been running the city for a while. It has taken the press a while to figure it out but it looks like the IBJ at least has figured it out big time. The parking deal is an embarrassment to city. Without raising my blood pressure anymore, I would say it should be voted down.
            • ACS, not again...
              Why does anyone in the State of Indiana (or the City) continue to send business to ACS? They have a horrible track record in this state and others.
              • bad deal?
                I guess I don't park at meters all day long like most people who have commented on this article but the government has never been accused of being efficient so I'm guessing that revenue will be higher with a corporation at the helm. If it's such a sweetheart deal, buy stock in the company.
                • Loftus
                  Loftus is being so disingenous. He's the one who hired Mike Huber. He hired Chris Cotterill, the Mayor's chief of staff. Heck, he and Bob Grand are the ones who hired virtually everyone on the 25th Floor. Loftus sits in on weekly mneetings with the Mayor. He is also the boss of the President of the Council, Ryan Vaughn.

                  The notiont that Loftus had ZERO involvement in the ACS deal is laughable. He has a history of using his position in the administration to further his clients interests. Rememeber AT&T (Loftus' client) and how Loftus worked behind the scenes to get Rick Maultra fired because he challenged AT&T on legal violations and not paying rights of way fees.

                  If anyone thinks this is a Democratic thing...think again. We Republicans are also sick of Loftus and want him out of politics. Loftus has no interest in the fortunes of the Marion County GOP. He's just out to make money.

                • Old Friends
                  Where do Brizzi and Durham fit in, in all of this? :)
                • GOP rapes Taxpayers
                  This guy is a LAWYER, in an office full of lawyers. Don't think for a minute that he has not figured out how to shadow/mask his direct involvement into a sweetheart deal. Yes, he can mask it as being technically "legal", but we all know it stinks. If it smells like a bad deal, looks like a bad deal, sounds like a bad deal, you know it is a bad GOP bill. It is a ruse to raise big money to a corporation (out of state) that is contributing big bucks to political campaigns in exchange for a better than reasonable return on their investment. From their perspective it is buisness as usual, for the taxpayers it is another gang rape.
                • Yeah, vote
                  Vote for another career politician who's already "owned," or another career businessman who knows nothing about how to run a city.
                • Image is Everything
                  I may be uninformed as to the workings of city government, but I would think that the ETHICAL thing to do would be to recuse (right word?) the company from bidding if the lobbyist has a conflict, which he obviously does in this case. OR, Loftus should have made a statement UP FRONT at the beginning that he would have nothing to do with it. Having the story turn up now only makes him and the city officials look bad. The fact that he doesn't seem to understand that only makes him appear arrogant. Do they even care, though? What, really, can anyone do about it?
                  On the other hand, why do we (meaning city and state) have to have these very long (50 year) contracts? If we're getting screwed (which we probably are, or the company wouldn't do it), we have no recourse for a long time...
                • 50 years too long
                  A 50-year agreement is ludicrous! No one can agree on something that will last 50 years. It is so outrageous I can't comment anymore.

                  And to top it off, ACS is the company that failed in its contract with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
                • DUH!
                  Grand and Loftus have been pulling the strings in the Mayor's office since the morning after Ballard won the election -- this is nothing new.
                • The real story
                  I agree - we finally know the real story behind the deal with ACS. Anyone else sick of this type of politics? VOTE IN NOVEMBER!
                  • hold horses
                    I think a 50 year deal can stand the test of a few more months of scrutiny to be sure. There's not a crisis to rush to some conclusion. This should be a clear winner, or if not, then wait for a better deal.

                    Expecially with ACS and Indiana's experience with them already. What are assureances this will go right?

                    We dont need to do this. I'm not a finance wizard, but cant the city run this program at a revenue stream, and then sell bonds to raise cash paying for it out of those future revenues (if you really need the cash now).
                  • ACS?
                    Isn't ACS the same Texas group that was involved with the failed Indiana Family and Social Services contract?
                    • Finally the real reason for the deal
                      As constituents who have been writing our councilors and the mayor trying to get them to abandon the blatant rape of citizens - we knew there had to be some underlying and unsavory reasoning behind it. At least we now know part of it - there is likely payola in some form for the votes, based on the 'we've already made up our minds to vote for it' responses received from councilors.

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