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Prosecutor's Office missed deadline on $273K in seized OmniSource cash

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The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department likely will have to return more than $273,000 in cash seized as part of a racketeering investigation after the Marion County Prosecutor's Office missed a civil forfeiture deadline.

Law enforcement officers from IMPD, the FBI, Indiana State Police and other agencies in February 2009 raided six Indianapolis scrap yards operated by metal recycling powerhouse OmniSource, collecting evidence and seizing cash and property.

The raids were the culmination of a year-long undercover investigation into the company's purchase of stolen cars, boats, gutters, wiring and other items as scrap metal prices boomed.

Law enforcement officers turned the case over to the Prosecutor's Office Grand Jury division, which continues to investigate. And the locally based Garrison Law Firm, which Prosecutor Carl Brizzi hired several years ago to handle select forfeiture cases in exchange for 30 percent of the take, began working on a case under federal racketeering statutes.

But no one—not Garrison nor anyone at the Marion County Prosecutor's Office—filed the paperwork necessary to keep the seized cash within 180 days, as required under state law. Each party blames the other for the oversight.

Law enforcement sources said the case never was referred to the internal Prosecutor's Office forfeiture unit, and that Garrison took responsibility from the start. A series of e-mails among Prosecutor's Office officials, obtained by IBJ, say the civilian employees who run IMPD's forfeiture division were told Garrison was handling the case and were never notified of a change.

But Greg Garrison said his contract with the county only gives him a cut of forfeited property he recovers directly, so he would not have been entitled to a percentage of the OmniSource cash seized by police on Feb. 23, 2009.

"They seized a bunch of money when they executed those search warrants," said Garrison, a talk-show host on WIBC-FM 93.1 and Brizzi pal. "That’s not my bailiwick. I don’t have authority over that stuff."

IBJ on Monday requested a copy of the contract that outlines Garrison's role but has not yet received it from the Prosecutor's Office. Brizzi elected to split the forfeiture duties between the private law firm and employees of the Prosecutor's Office over objections from some of his own top deputies, who were concerned about just such a slip-up.

Deputy Prosecutor Larry Brodeur, who heads the narcotics and forfeiture units, reiterated his concerns in an an internal e-mail after learning of the missed deadline.

"Without assigning any blame to any particular individual or group of individuals, I would note that this is an inherent problem with having forfeitures done in part internally and in part through outside counsel," Brodeur wrote on March 29, in a message to Brizzi and other top officials. "Sooner or later there is going to be some confusion or miscommunication on a particular case that results in a missed filing or other problem."

A law enforcement source said IMPD is considering filing a disciplinary complaint against Brizzi for failing to file in time to hold the seized cash. At least $273,727 was seized in the raids, according to a tally of amounts listed in IMPD incident reports.

Garrison said he could not discuss a timetable for taking action under the federal racketeering statutes, but he said an asset seizure still is possible even if a grand jury decides against criminal charges.

"Our intention is to seek forfeiture of the assets used in the criminal enterprise," said Garrison, who also handles forfeiture cases for the Metro Drug Task Force.

OmniSource has not yet asked for its cash back but would be entitled to collect the money immediately if it asks, multiple law enforcement sources said.

Marion County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Susan Decker said the office cannot comment on active grand jury cases. Top-ranking Prosecutor's Office officials including Chief Trial Deputy David Wyser, who negotiated the Garrison contract, did not return phone messages.

OmniSource, a subsidiary of publicly traded Steel Dynamics Inc., is represented by Barnes & Thornburg Partner Larry A. Mackey, who previously served as campaign chairman for Brizzi. Mackey said his relationship with the prosecutor has earned him no favors in the case.

"OmniSource was stunned when it became the subject of search warrants at their Indianapolis facilities more than a year ago," Mackey said in a statement. "Upon conclusion of the MCPO reviews, OmniSource will seek the return of all of its property that was taken during the searches, including a sum of seized currency."

No civil or criminal charges have been brought against OmniSource or any of its employees, Mackey noted. He said OmniSource has worked to eliminate scrap-metal theft and is cooperating with investigators.

Before the raid, OmniSource was one of the largest employers of off-duty IMPD officers. Department brass last year ordered officers to stop working for the company. No charges are expected for the roughly 50 officers who worked for OmniSource.

A spokesman for the IMPD referred all questions to the Prosecutor's Office. Police haven't discussed the case publicly since IMPD Maj. Chris Boomershine told industry newspaper Platts Steel Markets Daily in February 2009 that OmniSource kept documents on how to avoid antitrust violations, hired off-duty IMPD officers to target competitors and bought cars altered to appear stolen from undercover police officers.

Mackey blasted Boomershine's disclosures in a three-page letter to top officials at IMPD and the Prosecutor's Office in March 2009.

"Divulging confidential information in and of itself was wildly inappropriate," Mackey wrote. "Divulging it to Platts Steel Markets Daily constituted a purposeful effort on the Major's part to publicly damage OmniSource and its publicly traded parent."

The fact no action has been taken against OmniSource 14 months after the raid is no surprise to Republican blogger Gary Welsh. He predicted in May 2009 on his Advance Indiana blog that the case would go nowhere under Brizzi.

“These cases drag on and on and when nobody’s looking, they quietly announce there are no charges and is no evidence of a crime,” Welsh said.

Brizzi has refused, through spokeswoman Decker, to answer questions or grant an interview with IBJ in recent weeks, even as he conducted several interviews with other news outlets including WIBC radio.

IBJ has been investigating Brizzi's outside business dealings while in office, including a building he owns in partnership with a prominent defense attorney who has landed favorable plea deals from the Prosecutor's Office. Brizzi, a Repubican whose second term ends in December, is not running for re-election.

"When there is a tangible and meaningful request for additional information, Prosecutor Brizzi would be willing to sit down for an interview," Decker wrote. "During and after the WIBC interview, Prosecutor Brizzi fully addressed all of the issues and the answers speak for themselves."

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  • looks like garrison lied
    Now Omnisource is suing Garrison and Brizzi, saying they worked together on this. Once again, Larry Brodeur has the balls to tell it like it is.
  • Online Petition for Brizzi's Resignation...

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/brizzimustgo/
  • re
    i hear carlito wasnt so honest aboutthe elkhart property...notice how he never said WHICH BANK had a mortgage....want to know why he flew out to see California recently? soon enuf it will all come out.....carlito, you bad boy, did you panic the day before the fbi raided fatfacetimmy and run up to elkhart and so something that all the snoops missed? me thinks u did.....bad boy.....
    • We'll see...
      For at least one of those questioning the character of Mr. Brizzi...that pot/kettle thing may be coming your way...Let's see how you are treated by the media in the next couple days...tht glass house may become rather uncomfortable.
    • Mickey's Hatch Man
      Careless and reckless reporting. Your insinuation that there is an ulterior motive behind every case involving an attorney who contributed in anyway to Mr. Brizzi, or any other elected official's, campaign is ridiculous.
    • Nixon?
      Nixon comparison, really? I suppose, since Nixon was still a better President than his predecessor and the first full-term President to follow him. I would not give the national electorate a great deal of credit, take a look at DC today. Guessing not the kind of change they were looking for...
    • Nixon was elected twice
      Nixon was elected twice too. "He was not a crook."

      BTW, the Star reports the falcons are in now danger from visiting turkey vultures.
      http://www.indystar.com/article/20100429/NEWS/4290461/-1/nletter07?source=nletter-news
      • What?
        "How stupid is that comment..."
        Answer: Suggest it is far more congizant than: 1. Assuming that IMPD would get to keep the $270K 2. Stating that Brizzi is stealing money from the people of Indianapolis (look at the conviction rate, number of cases handled, oh may also want to note that he was elected TWICE! 3. Must be a darn good litigator to get a conviction that will hold-up on appeal if he in fact did "influence the jury" 4. That he is in it solely for a pension (ask yourself whether he gets it now and if previous articles are correct, it is enough to support 4-kids)
        5. "Noone will hire him" - a successful prosecutor with many friends in the Indiana business community (why would anyone hire a guy like that) 6. "Court of public opinion" - did you not get the memo that he is not seeking reelection and who makes up the jury in that court - the media and those who did not vote for him? Can't imagine that they would speak ill of him.
        Brizzi's business interests were largely a non-issue before the accusations against his friend Tim Durham and neither has had a charge brought against them (how hard is it to prove an alleged ponzi scheme - didn't they sieze those records in November - I suppose that is not worthy of investigative journalism). Find me the witch you are hunting, everything the man does in public information, how hard is it to find, unless...nah...there must be something there, because his opponents and the media say so.
        • Thank you witches
          The real problem is that in a market generally void of actual reporters, public officials are being forced to answer tough questions about their behavior for the first time in a long time.
          For the last decade or more the Indy (fallen) Star has degraded its coverage to the point of depending on News from You. (although I do see they've assigned 2-3 reporters part time to make up the ground they've lost to Cory and his weekly publication).
          This reporting is not out of bounds; it's just unusual for consumer who've gotten used to a neauseating stream of reports on Carmel youth soccer, picture collages of skanks caught in nightclubs and in depth reporting on how many eggs some damn falcon on the top of the Chase Tower laid this spring.
          Kudos to Cory for the reporting and to the IBJ for having the courage to run these reports.
        • Yet another movie...
          And yet again, Carl is able to protect a business buddy. I wonder when the full connection of this will come full circle. The Omnisource case (which will disappear in the Grand Jury), and the Dan Constantino stolen car scam, followed by all the additional financing The Brizz is getting through Paul Page....

          HEY - Did you hear that the men in black are talking to the detectives and police involved in the steroids dealers case.... Something The Brizz forgot to mention on Saturday...
        • About that $270 Million
          To FGB,

          IMPD can't simply keep the $270 million in a forfeiture actual. They can only keep enough to cover the cost of the law enforcement action. The rest of the money goes to the State.
        • Symbolism over substance
          These investigations go absolutely no where, because of the political connections. It's all symbolism over substance designed to make the public think these losers are doing their stinkin' jobs!
        • Garrison
          Garrison's too busy running his mouth to the media to pay attention to saving the County money. Brizzi's too busy ducking for cover to pay attention. So, the taxpayers get screwed again.
        • What?
          What kind of stupid comment is that? Its only $270K? Then stoke a check to the IMPD, who could really use it, hot shot! Furthermore, stating that Cory has disdain for Brizzi shows your total lack of observation of what's going on. Brizzi is personally responsible for stealing money from the citizens of Indianapolis, abusing his office for personal gain and using his elected position to bully people. This guy is nothing more than a 12 year old juvenile, immature joke. He's only holding onto his office for the pension because NO ONE will hire this arrogant, corrupt criminal and he has no future after this office. He'd be better off moving to another state to start over and Indiana would be better off without him.
        • fpb must be durham
          "let's consider them innocent until proven guilty - a courtesy the IBJ may want to consider extending to Mr. Brizzi and Mr. Durham"

          That's rich. Let's give Carl the presumption of innocence. Hey, what is one of Brizzi's disciplinary complaints currently before the Supreme Court? Oh, that's right--inappropriately commenting on the guilt of a defendant before trial and possibly tainting the jury pool.

          Carl can have his presumption of innocence in front of a jury. He doesn't get in the court of public opinion-he's an elected official. If he wants to give an interview to anyone besides one of his employers, I am all ears.
          • re
            yeah, you r right, it is only $300K that belongs to the IMPD as a result of confiscation...what's the big deal...and thsoe Amish and Mennonites are out over $200M because you know, who really cares, that's what they get for not trusting the US government and giving their money to a con artist with connections to the point that his assets are unfrozen so he can entertain the prosecutor during a spring break trip four weeks ago...it's all in Indianapolis, the white collar crime center of the good ol US of A...remember Anacomp...nothing happened there either....what about the you know who with the prescription drug problem, oh yeah, who was his supplier, that guy Brizzopad let off the hook after multiple felony counts....yet Brizzopad doesn't mind tapping the phones of whistleblowers, does he? Yeah, it's true, it's all gonna come out, just wait.....ps hey Brizzopad, you left a loose thread, it's all about to unravel and it couldnt happen to a nicer guy
          • Find any witches in the scrap metal
            Mr. Shouten,
            The IBJ's general disdain for Mr. Brizzi (and Mr. Durham)remains apparent and you seem surprised that Mr. Brizzi will not give you an interview? Your lines like "...Brizzi pal..." and your quoting of a relatively unknown "Republican blogger", coupled with a quotation from a "law enforcement source...", don't exactly lead me to believe that this bit of reporting will make it to the Pulitzer Committee.
            Why would anyone be so concerned about $270K in seized cash from a company whose parent has a market cap of nearly $3.5Billion? Did it cross anyones mind that the fine they will incur if - (I know it is difficult, but let's consider them innocent until proven guilty - a courtesy the IBJ may want to consider extending to Mr. Brizzi and Mr. Durham)- the fine they receive will likley make this look like petty cash?
            • Connections
              Cory, can you diagram these connections for us?
            • Due Process
              Why the heck is the government allowed to seize our property without due process anyway?
            • Just Thinking
              I have no inside knowledge, and am just thinking out loud. Anybody else wonder if the reason those boys in Carmel haven't been charged yet is because their families are politically connected and are able to hold things off until the new prosecutor is elected? Maybe they've already bought and paid for the dropping of the charges.
            • Press Conference
              Lee Buckingham should hold a press conference talking about the bad decisions and corrupt deals involving David Wyser who is running for Hamilton County Prosecutor. Buckingham needs to get his name out there and be aggressive if he wants to win.
            • Greg Garrison
              Greg Garrison wouldn't miss a filing deadline even if he only stood to make $50.00 on the forfeiture of some poor mope's 1987 Cutlass.
              • Inspector General
                Where is the state office of Inspector General? Legislature and Gov. Daniels created it with great fanfare in 2005, but the office appears to do very little. It's whole purpose was public corruption.
                Get with it, boys.
              • Transfer him to Chicago
                Since he won't leave - can we transfer him to Chicago? He would be a much better fit for their kind of politics.
              • Here we go again
                This wasn't a screwup, this wasn't coincidental. This is Brizzi's masterpiece. Would someone please fricking charge Carl Brizzi with public corruption.

                In the interim IMPD should consider a civil lawsuit for unjust enrichment against the forfeiture as well as a separate lawsuit against Carl Brizzi personally for fraud and public corruption.

                Only in Indy!
              • Go get 'em, Cory
                Keep it up. I'm sure there's more to come.
              • add to the list
                Quite a little money machine they've got downtown. Flows in, flows out, scandal, denial...and somehow capo di tutti capi Brizzi is always connected.

                Yet another episode to prove that Tim Durham picked the right friend.

                I remember when the prosecutor's office was only in the paper because of its struggles and successes in going after criminals. But thatâ??s been a while.
              • add to the list
                Quite a little money machine they've got downtown. Flows in, flows out, scandal, denial...and somehow capo di tutti capi Brizzi is always connected.

                Yet another episode to prove that Tim Durham picked the right friend.

                I remember when the prosecutor's office was only in the paper because of its struggles and successes in going after criminals. But thatâ??s been a while.
              • Brizzi, Resign!
                It is well past the time for Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to resign. Like a leak in the roof of a building, the bad news will keep coming and can only get worse. The only way to handle this is to take yourself out of the spotlight by resigning.
              • Leave
                Brizzi:

                You're in over your head - cut your losses, leave now!
              • Looks bad, is bad
                Okay, so this isn't just an appearance. This is an outright screwup due to mismanagement.
              • He won't quit
                He won't quit - he is too close to that pension that we will pay for but most of us can never collect similar. That is why impeachment needs to begin NOW - to preclude his lifetime pension while joining all of us shady buds for their next 'job'.
              • Brizzi
                My guess is he will spin it to say they couldn't keep it anyway. Just quit Brizzi, get it over with. Your office is the joke of this city.
                • I was waiting...
                  I was waiting for the link between OmniSource and Brizzi. And, there you go! Man, he certainly has his hands in lots of cookie jars. I expect the "I'm not a crook" rhetoric to continue.
                • Accidentally on purpose?
                  What a shocker - another Brizzi connection (his former campaign manager is the attorney for Omnisource) can now claim the $273k seizure. Where is impeachment committee? If not for his many significant and public misdeeds, what would it take to justify impeachment?
                • Shady Business
                  I think it is funny how corrupt things have gotten at the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. Larry Mackey was Carl Brizzi's campaign manager. Also, look at when Larry Mackey donated money to David Wyser's campaign for Hamilton County Prosecutor. David Wyser was in charge of the Grand Jury during the inception of the OmniSource investigation. He will claim otherwise now because if he admitted it, it would be a Hatch Act violation because prosecutors and detectives' salaries are paid with federal money. What type of deal was set up between Carl Brizzi, David Wyser and Larry Mackey in regards to the seized money. Was Carl Brizzi expection a job if he tanked the case and gave back the money? Was Wyser expecting more campaign contributions? Soon we will see that the case will tank and not have any impact on the higher management at OmniSource and Steel Dynamic.
                • Lost $$$$$$$
                  Time for another investigation. What's next?

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