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Massa says office 'should inspire public confidence, not public cynicism'

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Republican Prosecutor candidate Mark Massa has called on Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, also a Republican, to step down in the wake of a five-month-long IBJ investigation.

Massa, a former general counsel for Gov. Mitch Daniels and deputy prosecutor in Marion County, on Wednesday announced a series of ethics reforms he plans to enact if elected. Highlights of the plan include a new public integrity unit within the Prosecutor’s Office and a whistle-blower hotline for public employees to report malfeasance among elected officials.

He also said the man he hopes to replace should resign before his second four-year term ends Dec. 31. Massa cited a series of "disturbing published reports" detailing Brizzi's business dealings while in office, including an investment with a prolific defense attorney.

"I believe the prosecuting attorney should inspire public confidence, not public cynicism," Massa said in response to questions from reporters outside the federal courthouse at 45 E. Ohio St.

"I will work simply for the paycheck from the people every two weeks, and I'll work hard to earn it," he added.

Brizzi has resisted calls from former supporters to resign, and he has a personal interest in sticking around: He will be eligible for a public pension if he finishes his second term. With eight years of service, he would be entitled to earn 24 percent of his highest annual salary of $125,000, or about $30,000 per year once he reaches retirement age, by IBJ’s calculation.

Brizzi, 41, said in a statement late Tuesday that he has no plans to resign.

“I have received no communications from anyone concerning a request to resign, period,” Brizzi wrote. “Instead of adding to rumor-mongering or allowing innuendo to substitute for fact, I believe it is in the best interest of our community to focus on real-world issues, such as the safety of our residents and the effective prosecution of criminals.”

Massa promised that, if elected, he would not engage in outside business interests, serve on the board of any for-profit company or accept gifts of any kind.

IBJ.com reported earlier Wednesday that Massa has been talking with Republican elected officials, seeking their support for a call for Brizzi to resign. Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John said he supports and agrees with Massa's request.

The request for Brizzi to step down comes just days after IBJ exclusively reported on Brizzi’s personal intervention last year in a major drug case to offer a reduced sentence to a business partner’s client.

Brizzi insisted on a plea deal for Joseph Mobareki that would be acceptable to defense attorney Paul J. Page, despite objections from both law-enforcement officers and his own deputy prosecutors. Brizzi also directed his staff to return $10,000 in cash seized from Mobareki. A year earlier, Page had arranged for Brizzi to own 50 percent of an Elkhart office building worth $900,000 without investing any cash or co-signing a loan.

If Brizzi stepped down before his terms ends, the responsibility under Indiana law to fill his position would fall to the Marion County Republican caucus, which likely would appoint Massa. If Brizzi were removed from office, the governor would appoint a replacement.

State law spells out a process for impeachment by the Indiana General Assembly should a prosecutor be convicted of a misdemeanor. A felony conviction could lead to removal from office by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Questions about the Mobareki case are only the most recent of Brizzi dealings to attract scrutiny. He has invested in public companies affiliated with Timothy Durham, the target of a federal securities fraud investigation. He bought a stake in the restaurant Harry & Izzy's. And he has invested in real estate deals with John Bales, the real estate broker who represented the Prosecutor's Office in its lease deal.

Terry Curry, the Democratic candidate for prosecutor, said Brizzi’s involvement in outside investments and business dealings sends the wrong message.

“It is clearly poor judgment to enter into business relationships with anyone while you are the full-time prosecutor of Marion County,” Curry said in an interview. “I can absolutely pledge as prosecutor I wouldn’t enter into any kind of outside business relationships.”

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  • Answer to Ryan Short
    Please give this thought before expressing
    emotionalism. When an individual is intentionally doing wrong, they first look to cover and hide the transactions regardless of what they may be. Brizzi is a smart guy and could have backdoored his actions and nobody would have been the wiser
    like so many other politicians have done and
    still are doing. If you remember when the
    Tim Durham case first broke, the media didn't
    have to dig for the financial info it was
    previously disclosed by Brizzi. I believe his
    direct quote on the air was "this is not a
    gotya moment". Bales was introduced and presented as a business partner by the well
    respected Scott Newman. Leases were signed,
    arrangements were in place and Brizzi followed through. Over the period of 8 years,
    endorsed by Newman why wouldn't Brizzi have
    Bales as a business partner. Are they opportunist, of course. Nothing was compromised, tax dollars weren't stolen, they
    didn't engage with terrorist as Andre Carson
    has been accused of by taking campaign money
    from them (source:Advance Indian) but covered
    up so well by the Democratic Party and the
    media. Just the other day we were informed that Judge Kurt Eisgruber gave a light sentence to a person who helped murder three
    family members in spite of the prosecutors office objecting. With no proof of any rehabilitation the young lady will serve only
    14 years. No outcry from anyone. When Brizzi's chief trial deputy Weyser pleaded
    the release of Epperly after serving 10 years
    and a record of good behavior, the press went
    crazy and said Brizzi signed off on it for the campaign money that was given to his campaign. I for one followed that campaign
    closely, it was a brutal campaign for Brizzi
    and Meanie Kennedy. In another recent on air
    disclosure with the IU Professor who wrote
    that Brizzi's actions were questionable by
    signing off on Weyser's plea and a guest of
    Brizzi's ,the professor was asked if he knew
    how much money was raised. His reply was no.
    The amount I believe was close to 2 million.
    The $28,000 contribution by Epperly's family
    was a LLC check. Now let's just use some good old ommon sense here. Do you really think for a minute that preparing for and
    being in the middle of a hot poitical race
    that Brizzi cared or gave a dam about a $28,000 check that he returned when the press
    tried to make something out of nothing. Even
    the professor, a guest on Brizzi's radio show
    Crimebeat (Saturdays 3-5PM, 93.1FM) had to agree with Brizzi but that was after his comment to the press. Please look into it, it
    was an interesting interview.

    Thank you Ryan but I am not a member of Brizzi's staff. I am however a concerned independent voter who wants what you want
    but will not jump to conclusions, trust the
    media or entertain ignorant bloggers. I wanted to answer you because you seemed sincere in your quest for justice. I could tell you more but Ive already been on too long. Like any workplace, we make longtime friends, business partners and emenies. One would be living on another planet to think
    that would ever stop. Frankly, if nothing illegal is being done, taxpayer money isn't
    being abused or stolen it may not be the
    way of the idealistic but there is nothing
    wrong with it. One person on the blog wrote
    Usually, the person doing the accusing has
    more to hide than the accused. Although an
    individual would appear to be upright, it may
    be their way of thought we need to fear. Mark
    Massa and Tom John yelled lights, camera, action but never once called Brizzi to express their concerns. We are talking about
    a sitting prosecutor of the same party regardless of what one may personally think of Brizzi. He deserved a private call, a discussion to reveal the facts and truth and
    then if you need, do your granstanding. Massa
    was on a search and destroy mission so he
    could politically gain from it. He goes to
    Tom John and convinces him to join him. This
    is a dangerous man (Massa) who never wanted
    the position to begin with. What deal did Daniels cut with him to run??????? By the
    way, a message to Tom John who patted himself
    on the back for giving MC a Republican Mayor
    and majority city council. Now for a reality
    check Mr. John even though you believe voters
    to be sleeping. The PEOPLE were so fed up with the Peterson administration that Elmer
    Fudd could have ran for that post and won. It
    had nothing to do with Tom John. As far as
    the City Council, here again Munoe Gray and
    others disgusted the PEOPLE so much with factual wrong-doing that the voters made the
    difference not Tom John. Talk Show hosts were
    playing angy voters concerns 2/7. So, Buckaroo Tom, get off your white horse.
  • Brizzi Should Go
    I'm seriously concerned about the post defending Brizzi above. No doubt this is his paid PR firm, Hirons, earning their keep. Anyone who can read the report from the IBJ can see that Brizzi clearly had a conflict of interest as it related to Page's law firm. Who in their right mind thinks it's ok for the prosecutor to go into business with a defense attorney who has cases in the same county??? The easy thing for Massa to do would be to tow the line and hope that more dirt didn't come out on Brizzi. Only someone who is paid by Brizzi could vilify him for doing the right thing.
    • Lisa, Lisa, Lisa
      You know so little as it relates to fact and truth. Is it OK for the former Chief Counsel to Govenor Daniels
      to blndside and backdoor a sitting Prosector
      for his own gain. Massa didn't want this job but when the Republicans had no candidate
      Newman spoke to Daniels and Massa. What deal
      did Daniels cut with Massa to run. If he
      is sucessful in ousting Brizzi, then Daniels
      steps in and appoints Massa. How convenient?
      How did u like that photo op in front of
      court house as Massa grandstands. He lost all
      credability when he asks the public to judge
      and destroy a person on appearances rather than fact & truth. He calls all the cameras, lights and
      action but never calls Brizzi. What happened
      to taking the high ground and professional
      courtesy.

      Start investigating all your politicians.You might see that Brizzi is an angel compared to some.
      What about Andre Carson who took money from terrorists groups. (Source:Advance Indiana)
      Where is all the outrage. I have to hand it
      to Ed Tracey he covers his own and so did
      the media.
      I just hope you know what appears to be may not necessarily be. Did Daniels broadcast the
      $10.00 per day penalty for those that are
      late in filing their state taxes. What a guy
      in the middle of recession. Source: H&R Block

      Wow isn't Marion County blessed. Blindsiding
      people seems to be the thing. Chicago politics in Indy but well disguised.
    • Vipor
      Maybe is hasn't "come out" because it simply isn't true. Ever thought about that? Not everything you hear through the news or a friend is true.

      You would think more people would know that
      • Comment to Mark Massa
        Mark,

        It pained me to watch your eyes divert the camera as you rendered sheepish or no responses. For example, not commenting on David Wyser, and the way your eyes averted the camera as you stumbled through your response on Brizzi.

        You know what, I think you are ashamed to run for the position, and you are only doing it to help out Mitch. WHY is Mitch so concerned about who the Marion County prosecutor is? WHY did Mitch have an alleged falling out with Brizzi at the same time Cellstar/CLST Holdings redirected the cash reserved for Verizon (or for the gang of shareholders who knew Verizon would never be paid) to Fair Finance? We know Carl traded in the stock. Did Mitch, and is this why he wants you in the prosecutor position so badly, and is this why you are embarrassed to look straight in the cameras eye?

        Does anyone in Marion County politics tell the truth?
      • Anyone associated with Brizzi?
        It now turns out that Brizzis campaign manager is now Dennis Fishburns campaign manager. How does that look for Fishburn. I assume that means that Fishburn will hire Brizzi in the Sheriffs department when he is Sheriff. Im sure that was the deal.

        Anyone associated with Brizzi needs to come clean.That includes Dennis Fishburn and where his campaign money came from. He could not afford a campaign manager, so Brizzi gave himn his.

        I also assume that means that Brizzi will have a great deal of influance over Fishburn and the Sheriffs department. Since Brizzi helped Fishburn get elected.
      • re
        Helvis, about that black Viper...ask Carl where it was repaired at. We have the pictures in case you want to see them.

        PS, We have LOTS of documentation. It's bittersweet because this case is beyond pathetic, but it's all coming out now.

        Kudos to Mr. Greg Andrews of the IBJ for breaking this series of stories.
      • GOP is Crooked
        I think Brizzi should resign in spite of Tom Johns. The only suspicious thing about the call for Brizzi to resign is that Tom Johns is requesting it...WHY? He is just as crooked.
        • I want to see Viper Story
          Did Brizzi wreck a Viper while drunk? I want to see this story. Why won't the arrogant Brizzi resign? Can he be impeached?
          • Viper DUI
            Why has it been so difficult for the story about the DUI in the Viper to come out? There aren't that many vipers being totaled in indy are there?
            • Oops, forgot idea for Mark
              You might consider pulling Brizzi's mortgage applications and financing statments to see what he told the various banks he was involved with.

              I don't believe he told the truth.
            • Mark Massa--please SUBPOENA CARL'S BROKERAGE AND BANK ACCOUNT RECORDS
              The Star states Carl is in California now. Considering good buddy and Tim Durham busines partner Dan Laikin's felony entencing this week was just postponed AGAIN Carl must be wondering what else is going to happen. Would make sense he would want to discuss his strategy in person with Tim Durham. After all, Tim had such good advice for Carl on when and how to buy a massive position in Cellstar right before Brightpoint bought them (you know Brightpoint is run by the brother of Dan Laikin, the guy above who is going to prison soon.)

              And those pesky feds are surely tapping phones! Strategy is much easier to discuss in person, isn't it Carl?

              Tom John and Mark Massa should insist on Brizzi disclosing his brokerage and bank account records right now to show 1) where the funds came from to timely buy hundreds of thousands of shares of Cellstar right before Brightpoint bought them...(I think he got the money from Durham, I mean c'mon!) and 2) subpoena all Carl's computers to show he wasn't doing any research on buildings in Elkhart. I mean, c'mon! 50% equity for a finders fee? LAUGHING!!!!! I doubt Carl had even been to Elkhart, it is a haul of a drive and a lot of work to drive there. Plus, you can't exactly drink and drive...or...can you?

              And, after all, Brizzi's expense reports indicate to me he has billed all his travel to his campaign...for example, Lake Maxinkukee...French Lick...all over the state, but golly gee whiz, no Elkhart...hmmm....

              Carl should quit. Now.

              But, he won't. Why would he? He can plow along for 7 3/4 months and collect a nice pension. Even if he were charged, he would not be convicted in that time frame so he qualifies for the pension. And, with the income coming from the Elkhart deal, which by the way was an $825k building (see link) that he is receiving approximately $280k a year on a triple net lease (that is where the tenant pays 100% of maintenance, taxes, you name it)--a 30%+ return, in this economy, and in Elkhart!-- he has it made. Don't forget all that moolah $$$ he made on Cellstar and the other real estate deals he scored along the way with his importantly, connected job as Prosecutor. And, of course the rumored DUI overturning of the golfcart, the rumored drunk crash of the Durham Viper he allegedly crashed and borrowed that was allegedly towed over to the garage at 117 N East Street....he didn't get spanked for any of that!

              Not bad for a guy who was getting sued in 2004 for not paying his kids gymnastics bills at Carmel Gymnastics.

              You have to hand it to the brood in Indy. White Collar Crime DOES pay.

              Carl's timely purchase of an Elkhart building just in time to ink a 10 year lease with Child Care Services!In a NO MONEY DOWN partnership with a defense attorney with active cases in front of the prosecutors office! Oh, and wait, doesn't that defense attorney have a smoking hot condo in Naples, Florida in LA SCALA???? Didn't Carl allegedly have another little issue called LA SCALA???? No one's dropped that bomb yet but I'm sure it's coming!!!!

              Isn't Indy fun!!!

              1659 Mishawaka St., Elkhart, $825,000, Abnikcar LLC; sold to L&BAB LLC, April 18
            • Wyser should resign as well
              Why is David Wyser not being brought into the Mobareki case - He took fundraising dollars from Paul Page as well right around the time of a portion of the funds being returned to the criminal?

              Not to mention that in both sentence modifications, Willoughby and Guilford Forney, Wyser received campaign donations right around the time he signed...from Epperly and Barnes & Thornburg.

              I realize that your focus is more on Carl Brizzi and Marion County but with Wyser running for Hamilton County Prosecutor - someone needs to take a stand against this guy otherwise the cycle will just continue in another county.

              Also, Wyser is still be investigated for Little Hatch Violations...

              So frustrating.

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            1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

            2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

            3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

            4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

            5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

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