Councilman Dan Coffey should appreciate this one.
In the city’s recent triumphant press release, “Discussions Underway Concerning Public Housing,” we learn that in the coming crusade for scattered site public housing, units of which almost surely will be constructed atop various parcels of downtown land owned by the city and cleared of neglected buildings, and most assuredly NOT built atop Silver Hills anywhere close to Bob Caesar’s place, a very well lubricated Indianapolis law firm will be retained.
Mayor Gahan and other city officials traveled to Indianapolis to meet with officials from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The Mayor and his staff along with the various officials discussed the areas of concern and began to develop a plan to address these issues. In order to ensure proper requirements are met to address the concerns, the City retained public housing experts from Faegre Baker Daniels who have experience in dealing with HUD to help develop strategies to move forward.
Faegre Baker Daniels … where have we heard this law firm’s name before?
Ah, yes. It was early 2015, so long ago that we still had a city beat reporter, and Coffey — then a council appointee to the Redevelopment Commission, and a veteran con artist himself — knew a scam when he saw it.
Major retailers’ tax challenge in New Albany costs city’s law firm its job, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)
NEW ALBANY — If New Albany loses property tax challenges to Meijer and The Home Depot, it could cost the city some significant funding. The fact that Faegre-Baker-Daniels represents The Home Depot in its appeal against the city will cost the firm at least $50,000.
Though it’s a large firm with attorneys working on both sides of the issue, the New Albany Redevelopment Commission declined to renew its $50,000 lobbying contract with Faegre-Baker-Daniels as a result of The Home Depot appeal.
“We have got to draw the line somewhere,” said Dan Coffey, a New Albany City councilman and a member of the redevelopment commission.
The city annually hires a firm to represent its interests when it comes to local government funding. There are some potential bills that could be considered at the Statehouse this session that would limit some funding for municipalities. The commission and administration agreed that lobbying to protect those funds, including tax-increment financing levies, is critical.
While Faegre-Baker-Daniels is well-equipped to lobby on behalf of the city, Coffey said the firm’s representation of The Home Depot makes it difficult to want to hire them.
“Why do I want to pay somebody who is basically cutting our throats?” Coffey asked.
David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city, said he proposed the firm because it has a history with the city. Duggins proposed tabling the item for two weeks until another firm could be selected that doesn’t have ties to The Home Depot or Meijer, which are the only businesses fighting their property tax assessments to the state.
The commission elected to approve the $50,000 in funding and allow Duggins to hire a firm, as members said they wanted somebody in place to lobby on behalf of the city as soon as possible, as long as there isn’t a conflict of interest.
Couldn’t we at least use local greaseball attorneys? But look at the bright side, Dan.
At least it wasn’t Mossack Fonseca … was it?