consultants are sandburs

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FLAHERTY - In its Indiana headquarters area, the Flaherty firm hired a former city official who had been instrumental in engineering favorable city co-participation in the construction loan capital financing stage of a rental real estate adventure in Indianapolis. It was an official primarily responsible in Indianapolis for economic development decision making and implementation. Ramsey's been experienced, that way.

This is reported in a way suggesting the move is much akin to the one McGlone spouse being put onto the Flaherty payroll in Ramsey after the McGlone council member who chaired the HRA back then was instrumental in putting in place a comparable government co-participation in the at-risk capital pool needed to fully fund construction costs of the Ramsey rental Flaherty built. We can recall local events in reading IBJ reporting:

Former deputy mayor joins local developer Flaherty & Collins
Scott OlsonOctober 10, 2014

Deron Kintner, the city’s former deputy mayor of economic development, has landed at local apartment developer Flaherty & Collins Properties.

Kintner left city government Sept. 5 and joined the company Monday in the newly created position of general counsel.

“For a company our size, with 500 employees, to not have a general counsel is unusual,” Flaherty & Collins CEO David Flaherty told IBJ. “Deron fit that role perfectly.”

[...] His move to Flaherty & Collins, however, is drawing skepticism from government watchdog Julia Vaughn, policy director of Common Cause/Indiana.

The city has agreed to contribute up to a $23 million subsidy for Flaherty & Collins’ $100 million, 28-story mixed-use skyscraper to be built on part of the former home of Market Square Arena. Kintner served on a five-member panel that unanimously recommended the developer’s proposal for the project to Mayor Greg Ballard.

The City-County Council in March approved a financing plan to fund the subsidy. Property taxes generated by the project would be used to repay the city's contribution.

“I think it’s way too close for comfort,” Vaughn said of Kintner’s joining the firm. “There should be a period of time before people leaving government service can jump into the private sector.”

State officials are required to wait at least a year before taking a job with a company they have regulated or whose contracts they oversaw, although a provision in state law for waivers allows some to circumvent the requirement.

At the local level, city officials have no time constraints prohibiting them from joining the private sector. [...]

Flaherty doubts that will be much of a concern anyway, since many of the developer’s projects are outside of Indianapolis.

Vaughn remains unconvinced.

“I think this gives Flaherty a big leg up on other developers to have somebody out of the mayor’s office to come work for them,” she said. “It simply doesn’t look good.”

[...] Kintner and Flaherty began having conversations in June, once Kintner informed the mayor of his plans to leave city government. Kintner said he approached Flaherty, although he had casual discussions with “dozens” of potential employers.

From the reader comment stream accompanying the report [the earlier a comment is made, the lower it is in the thread]:

Greg has been smoking on the Crack Pipe too long
Gomers' Pyle October 10, 2014 8:35 PM
Is this Greg Ballard? Seriously what is wrong with this picture quid pro quo? Boss Tweed at its finest. You cannot cut deals to developers to the tune of $20,000,000+ and then go take a position like that. Indianapolis is a BANANA REPUBLIC!

Jerry October 10, 2014 5:30 PM
So, Greg, you see nothing wrong with a city official working on a multi-million dollar deals that benefit a company and then turning around and taking a job with that company? You see no possibility of a conflict of interest, that his work for the city was influenced by the promise, directly or indirectly of future employment at that company?

What's the big deal?
Greg October 10, 2014 5:05 PM
I really don't understand where these negative comments are coming from. It seems to me that he did everything right. What's he supposed to do --- never work again? I imagine it would be nearly impossible for someone in his position to find a job with a company that has not worked with the City. If he would have gone to any law firm, you could have made some kind of connection to the City as well. I agree with everyone that corruption abounds at every level of politics in the US and Indiana. But it sounds to me like Deron handled this exactly as he should.

Some in Ramsey declined to see anything wrong, delinquent, or improper in the McGlone-Flaherty employment arrangement, viewing it as fine and proper, while others objected to appearances (as in the Indianapolis - Flaherty hiring situation). Surely in the Ramsey situation no criminal bar was crossed, but election results were not consistent with the general public seeing the situation as unobjectionable. Voting majorities favored a change of faces at the council table for whatever reasons swayed opinion in the secret balloting. Hence the impact of the McGlone-Flaherty employment cannot be measured but must be guessed at.

Apart from local persons in the parallel instances being accorded favorable employment, the common theme is a questionable arrangement, and the common actor was and is David Flaherty. Gentlemen normally tend to want for the sake of reputation to avoid such questionable appearances. Such a rule or outlook of conduct, avoidance of even the most remote appearance of impropriety, must be something of a back-burner consideration to David Flaherty.

This pattern is most disturbing. It seems a bad way for government officials to behave, and a bad pattern of conduct for private sector persons to repeatedly induce or enable such stuff.

Flaherty is now a two-time offender. (At least only that, per known reporting.)

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