No criminal charges to be filed in ROC deal

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INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry told Fox 59 News that his office will not file any criminal charges related to the controversial 25-year lease of the Regional Operations Center on Indianapolis’ east side.

“It was not our role to determine if it was a one-sided lease or the terms were inappropriate,” said Curry.

Last December the prosecutor asked Indiana State Troopers to examine the $18 million bargain for a combination command center/IMPD headquarters that opened in time for the 2012 Super Bowl despite major workmanship flaws and fire safety hazards.

Curry said detectives told him they examined enough evidence and interviewed enough witnesses to determine there was no crime in the agreement.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs ordered the building closed last September pending improvements. Public Safety Department staff and IMPD officers are gradually moving back into the facility at the former Eastgate Consumer Mall.

Earlier this month Joe Simpson, chairman of the City County Council’s ROC Investigating Committee, sent a letter to former Pubic Safety Director Frank Straub, now the police chief in Spokane, Washington, to request his presence in Indianapolis for a committee hearing on the deal.

Straub responded today, noting he was interviewed by state troopers and had testified before council committees in the past. Straub said he would respond to committee questions via email.

The lease agreement between the city and developer Alex Carroll was signed by Straub in May of 2011. Less than two weeks later, according to the lease, the city’s attorneys and controller refused to sign off on the contract.

Current Public Safety Director Troy Riggs told Fox 59 News he learned that city code inspectors in 2011 were told not to re-enter the building during its construction phase after they determined there were code violations. Riggs was told that city attorneys were skeptical of the lease that Straub signed without their advice.

Curry asked troopers to examine the negotiation, execution and performance of the lease.

A number of sources have indicated to Fox 59 News that it is not illegal to sign an ill-advised faulty lease and take possession of a command center that is not yet completed and contains several design, workmanship and safety problems.

When the lease was signed, the city’s Department of Public Safety was in deep financial straits and facing a late January, 2012, deadline to be in place in advance of Super Bowl XLVI per its agreement with the National Football League, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

“We didn’t have any money,” one top official explained.

Simpson’s council committee, controlled by democrats, complained that Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration has not provided it with all the documents it needs to determine how the ROC deal was hammered out.

Ballard’s attorneys argue they have complied though a number of documents have not been supplied to the committee.

Marion Circuit Judge Lewis Rosenberg has given the city until this Thursday to respond to the committee’s lawsuit seeking compliance with the documents subpoena. A mid-July hearing has been set as the judge indicates he expects to make a quick decision on the committee’s request.

During a recent hearing, city attorneys told the judge that the committee has, in essence, accused the city of destroying the documents.

More: Letter from Frank Straub to Joseph Simpson