Local attorney enters plea deal, will cooperate in probe involving Brizzi, sources say

A local attorney and developer has signed a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney of Northern Indiana, admitting to wire fraud for his role in the purchase of a building leased to the state of Indiana in Elkhart.

As part of his agreement, Paul Page surrenders the building to the federal government and “will cooperate fully with the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana in regard to matters that I have been informed the U.S. Attorney Southern District is investigating.”

Multiple sources tell Fox 59 News that those “matters” involve former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who was a partner in the Elkhart building deal at the center of the investigation of Page and real estate broker John Bales.

Bales and Page were due to come to trial in U.S. District Court in South Bend later this month as a result of a 14-count indictment regarding the purchase of the building which was later leased to the state of Indiana.

Brizzi previously told Fox59 that he was granted half interest in the building, worth an estimated $500,000, as a “finder’s fee” even though he put no money into the deal.  Bales and Page have been longtime associates of Brizzi’s, donating money to his campaign for prosecutor as well as engaging in other personal business deals.

Fox59 first reported on allegations of questionable plea deals approved by Brizzi in early 2010.  In one deal, Page represented steroids dealer Joseph Mobareki.  In a rare move as part of the plea bargain, Brizzi approved returning money seized by narcotics officers to pay Page’s legal fees.

In July of 2009 Brizzi and chief trial deputy David Wyser approved an unusual sentence modification of convicted killer Paula Willoughby.  Willoughby, who was originally sentenced in 1991 to 110 years in prison for the murder of her husband Darrell, was given an early release.

Willoughby’s father, Harrison Epperly, donated at least $55,000 to Brizzi’s 2006 re-election campaign.  Willoughby’s attorney, Jennifer Lukemeyer, held a political fundraiser for Wyser at her downtown condominium a month after the early release.  Brizzi and Wyser have always maintained the early release was for humane reasons, including that Willoughby’s remaining son was without parents since his father had been murdered and his mother in prison.

Brizzi was a personal associate of convicted swindler Tim Durham.  Durham was sentenced to prison in November for his role in the $200 million collapse of Fair Finance – an Ohio-based firm where Brizzi briefly served on the board of directors.  Brizzi and Wyser both received campaign donations from Durham.

Fox59 spoke to Paul Page’s attorney by phone.  When asked to comment on his client’s plea agreement and whether Page would cooperate in the investigation of Brizzi, attorney Robert Hammerle responded, “go figure it out for yourself.”

Tim Horty, a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett, told Fox 59 News, “the plea bargain speaks for itself.”

Page faces an April sentencing of up to 20 years.

Fox59 reached out to Carl Brizzi, leaving a voicemail message on his cell phone.  So far, we have not heard back.

42 comments

    • Ugg

      Ummm,I thought Carl was always a nice and trustworthy guy. I mean after all, he was the host on 'CRIME-BEAT'
      LOL

  • Sam Adams

    It's like watching the old ketchup commercial, to the tune of "Anticipation." It's been a long time coming, but watching this crook and bum get found out to truly be a crook and bum, just may be worth the wait.

    He's spent his whole professional career as a charlatan. He's a used car salesman with a law degree. With no PR department and professional office to carry his water any longer, he has no place to hide.

  • Lawrence

    When asked to comment on his client’s plea agreement and whether Page would cooperate in the investigation of Brizzi, attorney Robert Hammerle responded, “go figure it out for yourself.”

    I hope that McQuaid keeps this in the headlines. Justice delayed is justice denied.

  • Susan

    Great reporting, Russ.

    Carl Brizzi has done a lot of very bad things, I know from personal experience what he did to me, a person he never met, in his quest to help his buddy Tim Durham that I worked for years to get prosecuted. I have never met Carl, he should not even know my name.

    Carl has never met Larry Michael, a former competitor of Tim's, yet do you know someone–a male prosecutor from Indianapolis back when Carl was the head DA–had one of Larry's celebrity buses impounded by sending out an Oregon sheriff, lying to that sheriff that this certain male prosecutor was heading a "multi state sales tax investigation" over license plates. Gee, i wonder who that was, Carl, especially given the timing was when Larry and Tim were in a lawsuit–Tim using the legal system to bully people like me who turned him in or were "not on his side"–all the while being financed with the life savings of elderly victims he fleeced.

    Carl, you did this to yourself. Go look at your kids–was the money worth not seeing their faces outside a prison cell for many, many years to come. Page was smart to cut a deal out of the mess he never should have been in in the first place. If you have any brain cells left you should be cutting deals on everyone else you know to have done corrupt things because it sure looks like you are going to have a prisoner identification number very soon.

  • Sara P.

    Russ, thanks for keeping this in the headlines. But I do think you should give credit where it's due – to the IBJ for their uncovering and reporting of corruption that led to this indictment. They uncovered the information – everyone else is reporting it. You may want to consider giving credit to your news-gathering partner.

    • Fred Sanford

      Russ had the story and let IBJ in on the business side which the IBJ/Cory/Greg kicked but on. Russ focuses on the criminality side of things so go back and see how he connected the dots for Odendahl, Mobericki, Constantino, Willoughby, etc…. I am sure he has more thru all the FOIA requests.

      Many of those clients were represented by Page. Great joint effort by journalists and federal authorities in Northern Indiana and Southern District as being reported.

      • Sara P.

        Russ has done a great job with the story, but he did not give the story to the IBJ. The IBJ found it after years of research. Get your facts straight.

      • Fred Sanford

        I have my facts straight and am on all fours. Russ handed them Elkhart. Russ has put the quid pro quo together and he let the IBJ run with the purported "business" arrangement story in Elkhart. TV has a limited element called TIME. Ask Cory and Greg they will tell you.

        When Briz goes down it was because he was doggedly chase down by Russ, Cory and Greg. Good work to all of them.

  • latasha stwart

    Brizzi I hope u get everthing got comin to u .u r a no good rat …I told u god don’t like ugly…u convicted my brother with no envadence gave him 425 years…now lol ur judgement day is comin I hope u go to hell

  • RJ888

    Known as a dirty rat and raging alcoholic for years. The gold-diggers on his arm are a treat to interact with as well. Doesn't deserve a plea deal. Deserves prison.

  • confssa

    I hope they can implicate Mitch Roob as the crook at the FSSA leg of this triangle. He was in charge of the welfare dept then and OKed leasing (for an unheard of 10 years) for all these welfare offices. Been in a few of those offices and they were horrible. The workers deserved better conditions, at least one office had mold. He got away with that IBM fiasco unscathed, too. Daniel's buddy seems to be teflon, but so did Brizzi. One can hope.

    • Guest

      Mitch Roob has been flying under the radar for years. Look what he did to the honorable Carl Moldthan.

      Mitch is a dirty snitch.

  • Carmelita Willoughby

    I cannot begin to express the emotions I am experiencing since I heard this news. Thank you Russ for your committment and tenacity in your pursuit and reporting of the corruption that prevailed in the prosecutor's office during the administration of Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. I am elated to think that justice may yet prevail. I hope that Carl Brizzi spends the time in prison that Paula Willoughby should still be serving…

  • F. Abagnale

    It has been excellent reporting and not YELLOW JOURNALISM as Brizzi previously called Russ…

    Russ is a good man, good reporter and true to journalistic integrity.

  • Michelle

    I just want to say thank you for exposing the truth. Paul and Brizzi were in bed together for a very long time. It is very difficult to say how many people were victimized by their actions. The mere fact the two of them have been made uncomfortable is more than I ever thought would occur. I do however, hope they both get what they deserve. What they deserve should come in the form of a very small cell in a prison.

      • Gary

        Yes, please ante up details. A prime whistleblower is the one who looked at the Elkhart property records and found that second purported mortgage for L&BAB which everyone else missed–that was timely filed on the Friday before Thanksgiving which immediately preceeded the Tim Durham raid. Now then, where did Bales get that money–why would someone drive all the way up Highway 31 on all that ice, on Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, to hurriedly file that second purported mortgage just before Tim Durham was raided. What a coincidence, huh. Why did Carl blurt out the whisteblower's name on Emmis radio when he had never met or spoken or seen that person? Why did Carl take it upon himself to cause legal injury to that person who was a relentless pitbull against Tim Durham–and apparently in Carl's mind against him as well for outting that nasty little second purported mortgage with such uncanny timing, just like the uncanny timing of Carls stunning Cellstar purchase, hundreds of thousands of shares right before Brightpoint bought them, yet Carl didn't share all of these spectacular investing gains with his wife in his divorce now did he? And she has enough class to just walk away from him and want nothing to do with his allegedly ill-gotten gains. Carl, Carl, Carl. I heard he called Jack Rinehart a MOTHER FUC*er last week, sounds like he is a bit stressed these days cuz good ol Jack didn't cause Carl's problems nor did Russ.

        Carl caused Carl's problems.

        You know what's really ironic? Carl could have become President if he had busted all the goons instead of getting into bed with them. Wonder who he will be hiring as his defense counsel–won't be Barnes and Thornburgh, I bet! hahahaha

      • WHO

        Wonder who he will be hiring as his defense counsel–won't be Barnes and Thornburgh

        G R E G G A R R I S O N?

  • agendas

    MainStreet Properties next. The crew who knew…so many involved it's mind boggling…Keep digging and connecting the dots…

  • latasha stwart

    Just think about all them peopl with all these years behind bars because of this rat brizzzi do they deserve to have all that time r did he give them paula time she was suppose to spend behind bars…shame on u rat brizzi…I hope they gone give these people another court date… who knows how many cases been brought by this man who suppose to uplift the law I hate u brizza

  • Frank

    Russ has had this since the beginning. You have done an exemplary job in this. Patience, bravery, persistence, meticulous , restrained all are accurate descriptors in watching you do this Russ. You continue to impress. You do your station, your proffesion, your family, and our community a great service.

    Many in this community have known the truths about this band of characters for a long time. It is refreshing to know that the drivers of the wheels of justice watch Fox 59 and read the IBJ. Mr Page, I admire your courage and pray lieniency in your situation. Would impress me if the old Carl I knew many moons ago would display the type of character he has the ability to have by being honest and facing the music. You have crapped on enough people.

  • Bob

    It has been sickening watching the various corrupt stuff happen back during Carl Brizzi's tenure as Marion County Prosecutor. If Brizzi wasn't a crook, he certainly acted like one. His feeble excuses of 'bad judgment', 'I won't make that same mistake again', etc. just don't cut it with me. He even sat on the Board of Directors of Fair Finance while his good buddy raided it to the tune of $250,000,000. Brizzi has not scruples and also no conscience.

  • Jennifer

    Question for any legal eagles that read this board:

    If Carl is indicted, and among his indictments is included public corruption for allegations of fixing cases, will he be a no-bail hold?

    It seems to me he would have even more reason to run that his friend that was taken into custody upon sentencing. And I don't know what holding cell he would be safe in given the allegations against him that I have heard include screwing a bunch of people who should never have been in jail. I would not want to be in Carl's shoes at all. Ugh.

  • latasha stwart

    I love russ he does his job a1 ….. almost four years ago I told carl rat that he will get his day …a lot of kids parents l locked. N the other has passed I didn’t see carl rat let them kids parent free….but let a woman who took her son father from him frree wow carl really.n u sleep at night

  • catalina

    This is catalina and Rachel and Carl is our attorney and a Damn good one he knows more about the law then any of you. All of you are Haters, and this prison cell you keep wishing on him will surely come back to you. All of your loved ones that are locked up deserved it, its a dog eat dog world, for all the Haters Carl has he has ,100,000 backing him, he hasn't done anything that noonday can prove, live and let live….Carl we love you

    • Larry M

      He hasn't done anything that nobody can prove–you are right. Anybody can prove what he has done, it is that bad.

      In the future, if you want to demonstrate a "point" it migh be more helpful if you were literate.

      No one hates Carl. People hate Carl's behavior, which he owns, honey, along with that shiny scalp that much larger men will be rubbing their palms on as they grip his head with one hand and his waist with the other in a thrusting motion.

  • guest

    Tell it to Charlie White, sweetheart. I sat through a lot of that trial. White got convicted largely because of the pathetic lack of skills of his trial attorney, one Carl J. Brizzi. It was evident to everyone in the room, judge, jury, prosecutors, witnesses, audience, even the defendent himself, that the defense counsel was in way over his head, and it showed in the body language and facial expressions of everyone there. Just one obvious and undebatable example, of many for those who know him. You can go visit him in the federal pen and keep affirming his ego, though, fairly soon. To openly state that you "love" any given political figure, even good ones, is at least a bit bizarre in its own right. To vouch for a bafoon like Brizzi is just hilarious. Hopefully 59's comments section won't overload from the 100,000 or more supporters so strangely silent to this point.

    • Guess

      I watched Bozo Brizzi practice law for many years. He was a third rate lawyer at best and I was surprized when he was elected as county prosecutor. I knew then that Jack Cottey, Tim Motsinger, and Scott Newman must have put another crook in place to protect their interests. I truly hope they all go to prison. Their buddy, Lincoln Plowman, is there waiting for them.

  • Guest

    I'm very glad that Brizzi will hopefully be held responsible for being corrupt in the release of my brother's murderer, his wife, Paula Epperly Willoughby, who was set free after only 18 of a nearly 80 yr sentance. Nearly everyday I still think about how she paid two men to take his life and watch him die. And just like paying them for his death her father paid for her release. And so there is no justice . Darrell has been gone since July 1, 1991, and she is free . Put her back in prison and that would trully be justice for my brother. But that will never happen, I may be a sinner but good look buying your way into heaven . I don't think being a millionaire will impress God at all. And i want to remember my brother for the amazing person he was to everyone, not for the what happened to him. Need I say more? It's the reason I trust only God in this world .

    • guest

      To the relative of the victim: Don't I recall both Brizzi and Wyser claiming that they got approval of their sentence reduction from members of the family? I am very dubious that this ever occurred, especially reading yours and Carmelita's entries here.

      What actually occurred? And, did you ever get a result from the disciplinary complaints filed against them?

      • Michelle

        Wyser is just as much a thug as Brizzi. They will encourage you to not give a statement to the judge when the deal is given in court especially if you do not agree with the deal. I can not speak for the relative above. I know in my case, I had asked for my personal attorney to go with me and she said "Oh this is bad why would Wyser be here? There is something going on in order for us to be graced with his appearance." It all went downhill from that moment on. They all were aware of the illegal deals and chose to take the money and ignore all ethics they were sworn to.

      • Carmelita

        Because of the length of my response, I have to divide my reply to your inquiry into several postings.

        Although this may seem long, I hope that by putting our story in context, you will have a greater understanding of what has occurred since Paula Willoughby, Douglas Stueber, and Kevin Spore murdered our brother Darrell.

        At the time of Darrell’s murder and Paula’s arrest, her parents (Harrison and Donnette Epperly) petitioned for custody of the two children. At that time, Jeremy was 8 and Joshua was 4. Darrell’s family did not seek guardianship, but went to court to assure that we would have visitation with the children. The Epperlys required Darrell’s mother, Dorothy Willis, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine that she was emotionally unstable and therefore should not have unsupervised, or overnight, visits with the boys. Provision for limited visitation was granted to Darrell’s parents, Jim Willoughby and Dorothy Willis. But even so, the Epperlys did not honor the court ordered visitation schedule as well as avoiding all our phone calls and attempts to contact the children. Before long there was no contact between Darrell’s family members and his sons.

      • Carmelita

        In the summer of 2005, Darrell’s youngest son Joshua was killed in a car accident. No one in Darrell’s family was notified of his death. A friend of Darrell’s mother saw the obituary notice in the paper, and called Dorothy on the morning of the funeral to let her know. We were able to get to the funeral home just in time for the service.

        A few months after Joshua’s death, several family members were contacted by attorneys representing Paula, seeking someone who would agree to support Paula’s early release from prison. As far as Darrell’s family knew, every one refused to sign such a statement. When lawyers contacted Richard, Darrell’s brother and my husband, he replied “When my brother’s sentence can be commuted, then I will agree to commute Paula’s sentence.” When Richard told their mother, Dorothy Willis, of the call, she said that because of Joshua’s death, the Epperlys were trying to get Paula out of prison, and had even offered her money if she would sign a paper that she did not object to Paula’s release. She told us she refused to sign the statement

      • Carmelita

        When Paula was convicted in July 1991, she was sentenced consecutively for two charges, Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder, for 60 and 50 years respectively. Her attorney’s immediately filed for sentence modification, which Judge Gary Miller denied. In her appeal to the Supreme Court, the conviction was upheld as well as the consecutive sentencing, but the length of sentence was reduced to 40 and 30 years. The prosecutor’s office assured us that there was nothing else that could be legally done to change Paula’s sentence.

        You could not imagine our shock and disbelief when Russ McQuaid contacted us for our comments on Paula’s release in July, 2009, only 18 years after she murdered Darrell!

      • Carmelita

        The approvals that Brizzi and Wyser say they received from Darrell’s “key” family members were statements that were signed by Darrell’s oldest son, Jeremy, and Darrell’s mother, Dorothy Willis.

        From the time of Darrell’s demise, Jeremy was completely estranged from his father’s family, and raised by the parents of his father’s murderer. Only God, and the Epperlys, knows what Jeremy has been told, and believes, regarding the killing of his father.

        As for Dorothy Willis (the same woman the Epperlys presented as being mentally unstable in the custody hearing 14 years before), any intelligent person, after a 5-minute conversation with her, should realize that she is incompetent to make a rational decision to support any agreement that would release her son’s killer. In fact, Dorothy continued to deny signing any paper, even after we confronted her with a copy of the statement bearing her signature and the date of December 3, 2005. Dorothy’s signature was coerced from her by her grandson Jeremy at a time when she was grieving the death of her estranged grandson Joshua, along with a financial “gift” and promises of a future relationship with Jeremy.

      • Carmelita

        There was also a statement signed by Dorothy’s husband, William Willis, who was presented as Darrell’s father. Bill Willis was not Darrell’s father, and the two did not have a close relationship. Even Darrell’s relationship with his mother was, at best, fractured because of her mental instability and his turbulent childhood.

        Brizzi and Wyser wanted it to look as though Darrell’s family was okay with her release. That was not true. Not one of us was contacted by the court, and or even believed that the early release of Paula was a possibility, and we certainly would not have agreed to support such an action.

      • Carmelita

        As for the letters we wrote filing complaints against Prosecuter Carl Brizzi, Chief Trial Deputy David Wyser, and Judge Grant Hawkins:

        We received copies of letters, dated April 14, 2010, sent from the Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court to Brizzi and Wyser, demanding a written response to the grievance we filed within 20 days of receiving the letter.

        We received an acknowledgement from the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission of the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, dated April 19, 2010, that said the complaint would be added to the commission’s agenda, and as soon as a decision was made we would be notified.

        We have had no further communication from either of the commissions.

      • guest

        Russ McQuaid, can you find out where the disciplinary complaints are now? Wyser is still representing the state of Indiana in Madison County, and both still retain law licenses. I've never seen this full of a vetting of that aspect of the situation regarding the alleged family approval, until now.

        This is sick.

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