Monday, September 17, 2012

Community Activist Files Lawsuit to Stop Prop 15

From a press release just issued by attorney, Paul Ogden:
Contact Person:   Paul K. Ogden, Attorney at Law
317-297-9720 (office); 317-728-6084 (cell)  pogden297@comcast
Date:          September 17, 2012
Private citizen Clark Kahlo today filed a lawsuit asking that a Court put the brakes on the expansion of the Downtown tax increment financing district.
Kahlo's lawsuit claims that a city ordinance requires that tabled motions be removed from the table within six months or they are considered dead and have to be removed from the list of pending proposals.  Proposal 15, the downtown TIF expansion proposal which includes Massachusetts Avenue, was tabled by Councilor Vop Osili at the February 6, 2012 meeting of the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee ("MEDC") and not taken off the table until the August 27, 2012 meeting of the MEDC. The lawsuit alleges that the Proposal is dead and that it is a violation of the ordinance for the full Council to consider the Proposal at tonight's meeting.
The lawsuit also notes the MEDC failed to hold a vote on an amendment to the Proposal 15, which amendment reflected a backroom deal to gain the support of additional counselors for the expansion.
Attorney Paul Ogden, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Kahlo, noted the short period of time before the Council's meeting tonight saying:  "I hope that Council President Lewis will do the right thing and pull the proposal from consideration.  In light of the City's ordinance limiting tabled motions to a life of six months, if the Council passes Proposal 15 the measure will be in legal limbo.  The right thing to do is to remove the measure from consideration and have the councilors supporting it to reintroduce it if they so choose."
Proposal 15 seeks to expand the consolidated downtown TIF in two directions - to the east by 112 acres for the purported purpose of financing development on 0.8 acres on Massachusetts Avenue and to the west by 604 acres to finance the development of a couple acres near the old Bush Stadium.

The lawsuit notes that many of the 45 TIF districts in Indianapolis are underperforming and take property taxes away from schools, libraries, parks and public safety.  The lawsuit also discusses that the Indianapolis-Marion County Tax Increment Financing Commission found that there is little transparency and oversight when it comes to the Indianapolis TIF districts. The Commission's several recommendations regarding the creation of TIF districts are on the agenda to be introduced at tonight's meeting.
It should be noted that Prop 16, introduced on exactly the same day and tabled on exactly the same day, has been pulled from the list of pending proposals, as required by Council rules.
You can read the court filing by clicking here.

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