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U.S. Attorney announces new charges in Land Bank plot

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A former city employee already charged in a fraud scheme involving the Indy Land Bank faces a new indictment handed down Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The latest indictment charges Reginald T. Walton with wire fraud for his alleged role in a scheme involving the land bank and a city mowing contract with Mark Harsley. Harsley, who previously had not been charged in the land bank scheme, also is charged with wire fraud.

The two men began their alleged scheme in February, when Walton allegedly began soliciting financial kickbacks from Hartley in exchange for landing Hartley a city contract to mow lawns of properties owned by the land bank, according to the indictment.

At the time, Walton ran the land bank program as an assistant administrator of the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development.

The indictment said Harsley began submitting invoices in the summer and collecting payment as operator of Core Contracting LLC. The one-year contract capped the amount he could receive at about $40,000. Walton, however, received none of the money, according to the indictment.

The land bank acquires abandoned and tax-delinquent properties throughout the city to sell to both not-for-profit and for-profit developers.

“This is really part of the land bank deal because Reggie Walton ran the land bank,” said Bradley A. Blackington, lead prosecutor in the case, at the Thursday announcement. “It’s directly the same investigation into the land bank.”

The new charges against the two follow the May indictment of Walton and four others, including John Hawkins, who was the DMD’s senior project manager.

Hawkins has agreed to plead guilty, though a judge has yet to grant his request. A trial has been set for Feb. 24, but it could be continued because one of the defendants has filed for a continuance.

The other defendants are David Johnson, executive director of the Indiana Minority AIDS Coalition; Randall Sargent, owner and president of New Day Residential Development; and Aaron Reed, a friend of Walton.

Before Thursday’s charges, the indictment against the five contained 11 counts of wire fraud, in addition to bribery and conspiracy related to the alleged real estate scam that fleeced its victims.

The case was developed by a public corruption task force that includes representatives from the FBI, Indiana State Police and U.S. Attorney's Office. The probe, which included the use of a wire tap and an undercover FBI agent, led to a May raid of the City-County Building offices of the Indy Land Bank.



 
 

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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