The chief of staff to Gov. Mitch Daniels, Earl A. Goode, bought a residential lot from the real estate broker John M. Bales about two years after an agency led by Goode awarded Bales a contract to handle state leasing.
Goode, a former telecom executive, joined the Daniels administration in 2005 as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Administration. He remained in charge in January 2006 when the IDOA selected Bales to broker office space for state agencies.
A few months later, in March 2006, Goode went to work for the Governor’s Office.
Goode said he and his wife, Vicki, had planned to downsize from their current home and she found a lot nearby in Sycamore Springs, a custom-home community with cobblestone driveways, brick sidewalks and mature trees a few blocks south of East 82nd Street and just east of Dean Road.
They bought the property in September 2007, but ultimately did not build a new home after the housing market tumbled. Goode said he did not know Bales owned the lot, one of only a few remaining in the development, when his wife found it with help from a real estate agent.
He declined to discuss what he paid or whether he obtained an ethics opinion on whether the deal was appropriate after he learned Bales owned the parcel.
“I paid above market, so I certainly didn’t get any special treatment,” Goode said in an interview. “That’s my personal business.”
A sales disclosure report shows Goode paid Bales $450,000 for the lot at 4114 Wythe Lane.
There is no record of a mortgage on the property, which Bales acquired two years earlier for $285,000 from his former business partner Samuel Smith, records show.
Goode has the property up for sale with an asking price of $399,900. Its assessed value for tax purposes is $239,000.
Jason Barclay, an attorney for Bales, said Goode initiated the deal and paid a fair market value.
“Nothing about the details of the transaction suggest anything illegal or improper or unethical,” Barclay said. “I know Earl Goode to be a well-regarded, credible and upstanding man.”
It’s particularly important when public funds are at stake that a government contractor and the government employee hiring him maintain a “reasonable distance,” said Judy Nadler, a senior fellow on government ethics at Santa Clara University.
She sees the real estate deal between Goode and Bales as a potential violation of that distance. Such ties can raise questions about whether relationships affect the awarding of government contracts.
Goode said he never heard of Bales before he went to work in state government, and had no involvement with Bales or his state contract after he left IDOA to work in the Governor’s Office.
“I have nothing to hide,” he said.•