Monday, September 24, 2007

City Controller Channels Baghdad Bob

If you don't remember Baghdad Bob he was the Iraq Information Minister during the 2003 Iraq war. He would give statements of propaganda during press conferences that were so ridiculous people started tuning in just to see what outrageously bogus information he would come up with next. My all-time favorite was a quote describing the mass suicide of US soldiers as they entered Baghdad and saw the unstoppable Iraqi army:
I can say, and I am responsible for what I am saying, that they have started to commit suicide under the walls of Baghdad. We will encourage them to commit more suicides quickly.

Before we get to City Controller Pat Baghdad Roller's response, let's take a look at what the State Board of Accounts audit said about the Redevelopment Commission's purchase of land to be used for Harrison Square. This blogger pointed out back in April that the Redevelopment Commission violated state law by not getting appraisals for the Harrison Square properties before purchasing them. I've stated this numerous times and to date have not seen anyone contradict this. So I was not surprised to see the State Board of Accounts agree with my position:
The Redevelopment Commission purchased the above properties prior to obtaining two independent appraisals to determine the fair market value. The Redevelopment Commission has subsequently obtained two appraisals for the properties. For the residential properties, the purchase price exceeded the average of the two appraisals by a combined total of $1,025,030.

Indiana Code 36-7-14-19(b) states in part: “(b) The redevelopment commission shall first approve and adopt a list of the real property and interests in real property to be acquired and the price to be offered to the owner of each parcel of interest. The prices to be offered may not exceed the average of two (2) independent appraisals of fair market value procured by the commission except that appraisals are not required in transactions with other governmental agencies...”

Clearly the SBA is pointing out that Redevelopment Commission did not follow the proper procedure. Of course that's not how Baghdad Roller sees it. Unbelievably, she concludes that the auditor's statement listed above somehow concurs with her idea that they did nothing wrong: (p12)
"We agree with your audit position that the procedure used by the Redevelopment Commission to purchase land for the Harrison Square Project was appropriate and in conformity with state law."

How in the world did she draw that conclusion? Never mind, I forgot city attorney Tim Manges is still around for another week so she probably consulted with him on that statement. Maybe Roller should use the following Baghdad Bob quote for her official defense:
"The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies and more lies!"

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