INDIANAPOLIS – An attorney representing fired Public Safety Chief Ellen Corcella tells Fox 59 News she is prepared to file a second tort claim signaling her client’s intention to sue the city.
“I intend to file a Notice of Second Tort Claim this week given the recent media coverage following the Bisard pretrial hearing in Fort Wayne,” wrote Kimberly Jeselskis in response to a request for an on-the-record comment from Corcella.
On Sept. 11, Corcella filed a tort claim notice informing the city that she intends to sue for wrongful termination. She was fired from her job as Deputy Chief of Professional Standards by Public Safety Director Troy Riggs last March.
Corcella claims she was marginalized and turned into an “overpaid administrative assistant” by Riggs once he became director in October 2012.
Riggs succeeded Frank Straub, who oversaw Corcella during the first eight months of the year. The former Marion County prosecutor was hired to root out waste, corruption and fraud within the Department of Public Safety while focusing on IMPD.
Corcella claims she uncovered widespread corruption, including sexual harassment, name-calling, pornography and officers attending to personal business on city time.
In her tort claim, Corcella claims Prosecutor Terry Curry and Ryan Vaughn, Mayor Greg Ballard’s chief of staff, injected themselves into her “independent” investigation of evidence in the David Bisard Case. Straub directed Corcella to determined how a vial of Bisard’s blood was moved to an unrefrigerated IMPD property room in November of 2011.
During a recent hearing in Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck’s courtroom in Fort Wayne, it was revealed that Corcella was present when two conversations with lead prosecutor Denise Robinson were secretly taped without her knowledge.
Det. Kevin Wethington testified that Corcella used his access to observe Bisard evidence in violation of a judge’s order in an IMPD property room and instructed him to remove the IMPD internal affairs file on the case and deliver it to another detective.
Wethington also told Judge Surbeck that Straub ordered him to download the emails of then-Police Chief Paul Ciesielski to determine what he might have known about the blood vial transfer.
Bisard’s four-week-long trial is slated to begin October 14th. He is accused of the on-duty drunk driving death of motorcyclist Eric Wells in 2010.
Corcella and Straub have both been listed as potential witnesses for the defense in the trial.
Judge Surbeck has warned both the prosecution and defense that he will not allow the trial to become a hearing on the competency of IMPD’s initial investigation or the handling of evidence.
Corcella has refused requests to provide on-record comments beyond denying that she took part in an alleged document shredding that may have occurred during the three months Straub was allowed to remain on the job by Mayor Greg Ballard following his April 2012 resignation announcement.