The Jeff Gahan Money Machine, Part 10: Oh Cripe! Or, the path from Al “Indy” Oak’s company PAC leads to Silver Street Park and Breakwater, and probably others.


Previously: The Jeff Gahan Money Machine, Part 9: These west end properties and their ultimate redevelopment surely comprise a rich, albeit tangled, source of campaign finance extractions for our Genius of the Flood Plain.

Some people grow turnips, but during the coming weeks we’ll be plucking highlights from eight years of the Committee to Elect Gahan’s CFA-4 campaign finance reports. Strap in, folks — and don’t forget those air(head) sickness bags.

Back in June of 2017, we examined the “wet your beak” mob idiom and the shady arena of bond fees: SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Lawyers, guns, bond issue beak wetting and how Dean Martin anticipated the Mighty Trumpolini.

This blog holds that when it comes to a wetting of beaks, the thirsts being slaked are far more commonly attached to perfectly upstanding citizens (in appearance), who operate according to perfectly legal mechanisms instituted precisely to facilitate a wetting of beaks. It doesn’t rule out extortion, but it accepts a level of built-in remuneration not always obvious to Joe Sixpack.

The purpose of the current series is to illustrate that Mayor Jeff Gahan, via his campaign finance vacuum, has been merrily wetting his beak from many of the big dollar projects Team Gahan has initiated since 2012.

While construction itself tends to be subject to competitive bidding, a whole class of design, planning, engineering, architectural, legal and consultation work can be assigned without competitive bidding — most often by appointed boards, most conspicuously the Board of Works and the Redevelopment Commission.

The same names pop up again and again … and the deeper you dig, the greater the number of connections between them. As an example, since Gahan’s first mayoral campaign in 2011 he has pocketed a crisp, even $10,000 from something called Citizens for Excellence in Government.

2011 … 500
2013 … 1,000
2014 … 3,500
2015 … 2,000
2016 … 1,000
2017 … 2,000
Total … $10,000

At first it was listed on Gahan’s CFA-4 “tip of the iceberg” form as an “other organization,” but since 2011 it’s been properly filed under Political Action Committee. The state of Indiana concurs.

One might be forgiven for asking, “what sort ideological or single issue advocacy might this PAC be pursuing with its cash?'”

The apparent answer would be: Why, the ultimate ideology, corporate profit, seeing that the head honcho of the Citzens for Excellence in Government and the Cripe Architects firm is the very same guy, one Alex D. Oak.

Alex D. Oak, PE | Chairman & Chief Executive, Partner … Al Oak joined the firm in the summer of 1972 as a land surveyor. Since then, he has served in just about every area of the firm. In 1992 he became Chief Executive Officer and, with that appointment, made some key strategic changes in the firm’s business and cultural model.

Can we assume that his free spending PAC has helped innovate, fertilizing these “business and cultural model changes?” My, my — the beaks surely have gotten wet.

And the connection between Cripe, the Citizens for Excellence in Government PAC, Gahan’s campaign cash reservoir and taxpayer funding of bright shiny objects?

That’s right: Silver Street Park, the involvement of Cripe in which was partially covered in Part 4 of this series.

But that’s not all!

Yes, Cripe also was in bed with Flaherty-Collins on the Breakwater project. We’ve yet to consider Flaherty-Collins’ contributions to Dear Leader’s cash-engorged ego, so maybe that’s coming next.

After a nice, restorative drink of beverage alcohol.


Rebuttals are welcome and will be published unaltered — so don’t forget spellcheck. If you have supplementary information to offer about any of this, please let us know and we’ll update the page. The preceding was gleaned entirely from public records, with the addresses of “individuals” removed.

Next: The Jeff Gahan Money Machine, Part 11: Lawyers from afar, expressing gratitude to Jeff Gahan for their billable hours — and the curious case of Stan Robison.