Mayor goes on defense over emails showing he pushed for troubled ROC location

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 19, 2014) - Recently released emails show it was Mayor Greg Ballard who pushed for the troubled location of the Regional Operations Center or ROC.

The new information comes as council members weigh another big proposal, the $408 million Marion County Criminal Justice Complex.

A council committee met Thursday night as part of an ongoing investigation into problems with the ROC. Democratic council members even took the city to court over a request for documents and emails.

When FOX59 asked Mayor Ballard about the emails and problems at the ROC he replied, "What happened, the ROC is working. What happened, what happened? It’s working. The council voted for what they voted on a bipartisan, what happened? The ROC is working right now."

The emails seem to reveal that it was Mayor Greg Ballard, not former Public Safety Director Frank Straub as previously thought, who pushed for the east side location.

“Drove by Eastgate, I’m a visionary (but) I thought it was horrible. It will be a long time before they get (that) space to look good,” Straub said in one email.

“Mayor heard rumor (ROC) won’t be at Eastgate. … Mayor wants it at Eastgate,” the mayor’s former chief of staff said in another email.

“For whatever reason, Eastgate is still being kept in play by the Mayor’s office,” Straub later said.

The ROC opened up before the Super Bowl in 2012.  City-County Council approved a 25 year lease worth $18 million.

“Everybody wanted it at Eastgate that’s why I wanted it at Eastgate because the neighborhoods wanted it at there, the councilors wanted it there, the councilors voted on a bipartisan basis 22-6 to have it there. They did all that, they adjusted the financials, they adjusted the square footage, they did all that," said Mayor Ballard.

As council members examine what happened at the ROC, they're tasked with reviewing the multi-million dollar justice complex. The mayor has asked for council approval by March 31, 2015 but the council's chief financial officer says the process could take months.

"We have to anticipate every cost associated with this move not only the yearly payments but the cost to move in, any other costs that we are responsible for," said Bart Brown, Financial Officer for the council.

Brown told FOX59 the justice center bid is good until June.

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