Marion County prosecutor searches for investigative file in Tony Bennett investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 4, 2014)-- Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry told FOX59 News that his staff is searching for an investigative file that may contain evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Tony Bennett, the former State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Office of Inspector General reported it sent the file to Curry's office last winter, but the prosecutor said no one at the local level remembers seeing it.

"I don't recall ever seeing the binders and, more importantly, the deputy prosecutor and investigator in our office who was assigned to it, a state police detective, clearly never had the ability to review those items."

IG David Thomas issued a statement that his office sent the full investigation to Curry in February of this year and released a confirmation email from the prosecutor's staff that it was in receipt of the dozen binders.

"Given sort of the volume of stuff that comes through here," Curry said his staff doesn't have a recollection of receiving or storing the information.

In July, Bennett was fined $5,000 for his role in manipulating the grades of a politically-connected charter school and violating campaign rules during his failed 2012 re-election attempt.

Curry declined to prosecutor Bennett based on what he understood to be ethics violations.

Now, that the prosecutor has determined a more extensive investigation may reveal evidence of ghost employment or the falsification of time cards among Bennett's statehouse staff, his is directing his staff to do a further review.

"Our understanding is at this point that it pertains to issues other than the ones that we thought was the limit of their investigation which was emails and calendars used in the office and, as I indicated before, the issue of the charter school, and so our understanding is the materials that we need to review are separate and distinct from those two issues."

Even though the U.S Attorney is in receipt of the same file and has so far declined to file criminal charges, Curry said that response would have no bearing on any state investigation.

Bennett returned to Indiana and is a consultant to charter schools. He recently attended a meeting at Gov. Mike Pence's office.
FOX59 News reached out to the former schools boss through a spokesman and received no response.

Curry said his staff will either review a copy of the investigation at the FBI's Indianapolis headquarters, receive a replacement file from the OIG or discover its own copy buried somewhere in his office.