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Report: Investigators tailed Libman before resignation

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The city of Carmel hired private investigators to tail Steven Libman, the former CEO of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, because of concerns of possible misuse of city funds, sexual harassment and sexual intimidation, Fox59 is reporting.

The station, IBJ's news-gathering partner, said invoices for more than $8,000 of surveillance by private investigators were filed with the city in July, the second of them less than two weeks before Libman abruptly resigned on July 29.

Citing undisclosed personal reasons, Libman stepped down less than three months after his contract had been extended through 2016. A voicemail message left for Libman on Tuesday morning was not immediately returned.

According to e-mails obtained by WXIN-TV Channel 59, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard told Carmel city councilors that “individuals came to us—concerned that city funds were misused. It was of great concern that foundation funds were at risk … as well as sexual harassment and sexual intimidation. … [The] police chief was informed … but not requested to investigate."

Instead, city attorney Douglas Haney hired Indianapolis-based International Investigators Inc., according to invoices signed by Haney. The invoices have the name of the target of the investigation redacted, but Fox59 cited a source close to the probe who said Libman was the target.

Haney, who was appointed by Brainard, is also a member of the board of the Center for the Performing Arts. The $175 million complex kicked off the inaugural season of its largest theater, the Palladium, in January.

A call to Haney’s office was not immediately returned Tuesday morning. A call to Brainard was referred to Carmel’s community relations department, which did not respond immediately.

According to the e-mails cited by Fox59, Brainard told city councilors, "The city attorney conducted his own investigation because he needed to prove or disprove these serious concerns that put the city at risk."

Libman, who took the helm of the center in September 2009, was paid $200,000 in his first year as CEO. The Palladium hosted 24 shows in its inaugural season, selling about 96 percent of available seats and grossing $1.67 million in revenue.

Since Libman’s departure, Frank Basile, a center board member, has been serving as interim CEO. Basile told IBJ  in late July that the board plans to use the same search committee that found Libman two years ago. He said he hoped the search would last just a few months.

Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Basile said he had just had a meeting discussing the investigation and what information had gone out about Libman. However, he declined to comment beyond an Aug. 1 statement he gave to stakeholders of the center, acknowledging that there were many questions about Libman’s resignation. He asked for understanding about the need to respect an employee’s privacy.

"I’m sure you can appreciate that I will not satisfy everyone’s curiosity," Basile wrote, adding, “As is common when any organization is faced with an unexpected executive-level resignation, I have started a review of all internal operations at the Center. As the interim President/CEO, my goal is to maintain a smooth transition for the day-to-day operations.”

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  • Libman's Invaluable Asset to Performing Arts Center
    A cursory investigation into Mr. Libman's qualifications to be the CEO of the Performing Arts Center reveals a life-long career in performing arts: Opera, Ballet, Theatre, and now the PAC of Carmel, Indiana. Having had the privilege of conversing with Mr. Libman over a 20 year period, I know that he has a sacred passion to advance the arts AND benefit the community that he serves by presenting the highest possible artistic performances. I've been to Lincoln Center. Isn't it a shame that the Mayor decided to harass the one and only person who could have possibly effected the building and opening and staffing and providing quality talent for Carmel's PAC? Yes, a shame. Mr. Libman is a good man AND he is a genius at presenting the perfect spaces for the perfect artists. You will never find a person with equal passion and integrity and commitment to the arts and the community in which it is performed. Watch the interview with Steven Libman on You Tube and judge for yourself. You had a star with a heart and a vision and apparently some people in Carmel, IN,decided to throw it all away. What a crime. Just think, you have a Lincoln Center right in your backyard, and soon you'll have to fly to the Lincoln Center to see anything comparable. Shame.
  • COI?
    If Haney is the city attorney, the city is his client, not the mayor. If Haney was aware of alleged illegal activity (misuse of city funds), did he not have a duty to report it to the city police? Who's interest was Haney protecting, the mayor's or his "client," the city's? I hope that the media follows through on this story and gets some answers.
  • I Knew Something Was Up
    The day Steven's resignation was announced I knew there was more to the story. Now we are hearing about it. Scandal is everywhere amoungst us, just surprised that a Brainard scandal wasn't first.

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