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Massa calls on Brizzi to resign

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Republican Prosecutor Candidate Mark Massa is calling 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 was scheduled to announce a series of ethics reforms he will enact if he is 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.

Massa also will promise not to engage in outside business interests, serve on the board of any for-profit company or accept gifts of any kind.

“The criminal justice system cannot function without public confidence in the people we ask to exercise power on our behalf,” Massa was scheduled to say in prepared remarks on the steps of the federal courthouse at 45 E. Ohio St. “The people have a right to expect and demand integrity from all of their elected officials, but particularly from their prosecutor.”

Massa also is prepared to call for an early end to Brizzi’s second four-year term. He has been talking this week with Republican elected officials, seeking their support for such a move.

The request would come just days after IBJ exclusively reported on Brizzi’s personal intervention last year in a major drug case to offer a reduced sentence for 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.

Brizzi, 41, said in a statement 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.”

If Brizzi stepped down before his terms ends in December, 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.

Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John told IBJ Tuesday afternoon that he wasn’t in a position to talk about a potential response from Massa.

“We’re troubled by the allegations in your story, and we’re reviewing what our response should be,” John said.

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.”

This story will be updated.

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  • Question on Brizzi for anyone
    Someone sent me this video this morning of Brizzi, claiming he is in California with Tim Durham, strategizing on how to fight back against the feds.

    Anyone know if this is true?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLtYv1aRD34&feature=related
  • Carl, Carl, Carl
    Carl, you know you aren't allowed to offer private placements across state lines without some kind of SEC approval...bad boy!!!

    How do you have time to be a prosecutor when you appear to be so busy selling private placements?

    http://www.venturevaluefund.com/pdfs/vvf_llc_ppm.pdf
  • news
    Why not send some reporters out to california and wait for the Brizz to come out of Durham's hideout? He'd probably crap himself!
  • Identity?
    Tim Durham perhaps?
  • DING! DING! DING!
    We have a winner. Another news source is reporting Brizzi is on vacation in California. Maybe meeting face to face in case phone lines are tapped? Keep the water running.
  • They're all buds
    Actually, he is the general counsel (i.e. head lawyer) for the governor. But, too bad call didn't come directly from the Gov. himself.
  • Massa is not the point
    Of course Massa's move is just political posturing - but it is not the same as the average citizen asking for Brizzi's resignation - because the media wouldn't cover that. It is just a shame that the officials haven't taken any steps before they are shamed into at least indicating they are considering.
  • Massa is a piece of work
    Despite being a candidate for office, Massa is, at this time, a private citizen with no authority over Brizzi. For him to call on Brizzi to resign is like me calling on Brizzi to resign--carries no weight or efficacy. In addition, Massa has something to gain from a Brizzi step-down or removal. This is a self-serving political campaign speech, pure and simple, and does not deserve to be covered as important or interesting in any other context.

    Having said that, let me hasten to add that Brizzi's actions certainly bear investigation as the whiff of corruption grows stronger with each new incident.
    • Vacation
      Apparently Brizzi's on vacation, while still relently chasing the bad guys (as he so colorfully puts it). I wonder if he is out in Cali hanging with Durham, living large at Page's condo in Naples, or in Vegas with Bales. Anybody have a GPS on our beloved prosecutor?
      • Tim D
        Perfect!
      • Thanks, Buddy
        Carl, thanks for taking the heat off for a while. Your buddy, Tim.
        • End it !
          Many thanks for the outstanding journalism. PLEASE keep pursuing Carl. I am personally embarrassed I gave money to his campaign only to discover he squandered it on trips and expensive gifts and meals for floozy girlfriends. This is just the tip of a very large iceberg. Thanks again and keep up the great work.
        • So Long Overdue
          Most of these inappropriate affiliations and shady deals have long been known. Thanks to IBJ for finally forcing his bedmates to acknowledge and put on a public face.
        • Where Are the Dems
          Why didn't the local Democratic party leaders call for Brizzi's resignation when this story first hit the news stand?? What a wasted political opportunity.
        • The old boys club
          The elect Burton and Wyser signs started popping up this week--coincidence?

          Keep digging, IBJ!!!
        • nip it
          this whole atmosphere of corrupt behavior needs to be nipped in the bud. Brizzi's resignation is necessary. Even if Massa determines that by asking for his resignation, he should not run for the office, that would also be a good idea. This type of dirty politics must not be tolerated.
        • yikes massa
          Simultaneously brilliant and self-serving. Politics is such a tangled web of politicians. If Brizzi had any common sense it wouldn't have come to this.
        • Move ON
          Brizzi should take the hint and resign. I am sure there will be a job waiting for him at Baker & Daniels.
        • Messy Situation
          The guy who would replace him is asking for his resignation - Something rotten in "Denmark". The whole mess of them are probably corrupt from top to bottom. Gonna take a whole lot to restore credibiity again and it probably does not begin with this.

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        1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

        2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

        3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

        4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

        5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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