Friday, September 21, 2007

Tim Pape and Harrison Square

One of the things that often angers me in Fort Wayne is the fact that many elected officials and many Board members vote on issues that they should recuse themselves from.

The Niezer brothers are a great example that I have personal experience with. Anytime your brother comes before your Board with a proposal you should recuse yourself from the vote. I have personal experience with this. In fact when the newspaper ran an article in which I said that Mr. Niezer should recuse himself from cases his brother presents to the Board he sits on, Mayor Richards came out the the newspaper the next day and basically said that I was "whining."

This is one issue the Mayor and I strongly disagree on...

City Councilman Tim Pape and I do not see eye to eye on very many issues; the most recent issues being Harrison Square and the smoking ban. Councilman Schmidt has made it clear recently that he feels Councilman Pape should possibly have recused himself from the votes on Harrison Square.

Councilman Pape is a partner in a Fort Wayne law firm. Councilman Pape's law firm has been paid to perform a small amount of legal work on the Harrison Square project. It has now been revealed that Councilman Pape's law firm is also leasing a luxury suite in the new Downtown baseball stadium as well.

It is my opinion that elected officials should recuse themselves from votes on issues where there is an actual conflict of interest or is a perceived conflict of interest.

In Councilman Pape's defense the Harrison Square Project is "small potatoes" to his law firm and I think that should be made clear.

I am certain that several of the readers of this blog will disagree with this post including Councilman Talarico.

What do you think?

I am especially interested in what Democrats who read this blog think! Jeff Pruitt immediately comes to mind since he is a strong advocate for open government.

Mike Sylvester


Charlotte A. Weybright said...

"Councilman Schmidt has made it clear recently that he feels Councilman Pape should possibly have recused himself from the votes on Harrison Square."

Just curious, if Schmidt just "recently" raised a red flag about Tim's votes, why did he wait so long? The votes on Harrison Square were quite some time ago.

Did Schmidt say anything during the debate period or any of the public hearings? I would assume the information about Tim's law firm was available way back in the early days of council voting on Harrison Square. Or was the information hidden and not available to the Council?

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Councilman Schmidt made his comment at a recent meeting and they were then printed in the newspaper.

I agree Councilman;s Schmidt's comments were recent...

Mike Sylvester

John B. Kalb said...

Charlotte - Recall that the information on Papes law partnerships involvement with Harrison Square was mentioned in an article that Ben Lanka wrote for the Journal about how consultants, law firms, realtors, and others were benefiting financially due to activities for Harrison Square. This article is what brought this to the attention of many of us in our city. It has not been common for those on our city council to "call each other out" on items like this - they have left this up to reporting and questioning of the public. We are not saying that this should not happen, but just that there is an up-front way to report such items to the public (the Uniform Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form). John B. Kalb

Jeff Pruitt said...

Open government is about transparency. I don't believe councilman Pape has tried to hide anything involving his support for HS. I have no doubt that if Pape were not associated w/ C&B he would still be an outspoken advocate for HS.

There was/is no need for Pape to recuse himself...

Anonymous said...

And exactly how is your stated goal of transparency achieved when Tim Pape does not disclose his firm's relationship to the projects for which he casts votes, makes it clear that he doesn't think he has to make such a disclosure, and states affirmatively that he won't make such disclosures in the future?

Your judgment that Pape did not need to recuse himself may be the correct one, but an informed judgment can't be made wthout knowing that there is an issue. Pape made the judgment for us, and intends to do so again in the future, by failing and refusing to disclose his financial interest in the matters upon which he casts a vote.

Anonymous said...

You dilute your point when you try to fan the flames of hysteria by adding that it has been "revealed that (Carson Boxberger) is also leasing a luxury suite in the new Downtown baseball stadium." How is that a conflict of interest? I call that putting your money where your mouth is and supporting the project in an appropriate fashion. Hell, if Carson Boxberger didn't lease a suite then you'd probably give them grief for being hypocrites. No one can get a break in this negative, hyper-critical world you people live in.

Bobby G. said...

When it comes to "what I think" of Councilman Pape, TWO words come to mind:


How's THAT for pithy?


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