Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Delaware County Prosecutor and Drug Money - WTF?

I reported before on the wrangling between the Delaware County Prosecutor and two of the judges and Muncie's Mayor over proceeds from drug forfeiture cases. Just so everyone knows, the Prosecutor is a Democrat as is Judge Dailey. Everyone else belongs to the Republicans. Judge Dailey released a report highly critical of the prosecutor.

Here is the story from The Muncie Star Press, Dailey says prosecutor 'deceitful':

"MUNCIE -- Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney acted deceitfully in using confidential settlements to distribute and spend seized money and property from accused drug dealers, according to a report issued Monday by Delaware Circuit 2 Judge Richard Dailey.
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'McKinney's actions are purposeful, deceitful, and directly against the interests of his clients, the Muncie Common Council and Delaware County Council,' the judge wrote in the findings of his probe on civil drug forfeitures. 'He knowingly and willfully violated a court order and sought to conceal this action from the court.'

McKinney on Monday evening issued a statement denying 'any effort to mislead or deceive anyone.'"

***

Money raised through drug forfeitures and hundreds of thousands more that was seized by abandonment orders or default judgments was supposed to go to local government general funds or common school funds.

Dailey found no instance of any money ever going to government or schools in reviewing such cases conducted over the past decade.

"Those secret agreements... were intentionally drawn to avoid court supervision and adjudication of forfeitures as required by state law," Dailey wrote.

County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Ellison, county DTF supervisor, made many of those deposits along with former city DTF supervisor Jess Neal, who had been reassigned.

"Nobody ever told us the money was supposed to go there," Ellison said about depositing seized money in general funds.

***

Contacted Monday, Reed (former prosecutor) said he was shocked that McKinney -- elected prosecutor in November 2006 after several years as a deputy on Reed's staff -- misled the courts by using confidential settlements and other means to hide forfeiture work.

McKinney had a contract with Reed to handle forfeitures for more than a decade, generally receiving 25 percent of seizure money and property for attorney fees. That agreement was filed with Dailey's court two weeks ago.

Dailey found the confidential settlements generally avoided the mention of attorney fees and showed that McKinney and Hoffman clearly intended to "profit from their special positions as public servants invested with a public trust."

Reed also insisted he did not know the seized money and proceeds from property were going into accounts for the DTF or Muncie police instead of general funds for local government.

"It is actually shocking how they misled the courts like that," said Reed.

***

The prosecutor also said Reed lied when he claimed he did not know the forfeiture money was going into accounts for the DTF rather than the general fund.

"This was the procedure he himself established before I ever joined the prosecutor's office," McKinney said.

"For him to now claim he did not know the money was going to the DTF and that 'they misled the court' is pathetic," McKinney said of his former boss.

All right, it is common knowledge that our Democratic brethren in Delaware County would rather fight amongst themselves as the Star-Press reports in Local Democrats divided:

Thomas Cannon Jr., the Democratic nominee for Delaware Circuit Court 5, was unable to attend a golf outing sponsored by the local Democratic Party earlier this year because of a prior commitment.

He made a personal donation to sponsor a hole and had a few political signs delivered to the golf course.

'I have received an eyewitness account that my sign that had been placed in the vicinity of one of the tee stations close to the clubhouse was taken out of the ground, destroyed and thrown in the trash can by our party's appointed fall campaign liaison,' Cannon wrote in a letter on June 20 to Margie Landers, Democratic County Chairwoman."

(Worthwhile reading the comments, too.) We do not need this BS this year.

Meanwhile, McKinney's woes continue in Judge Feick's court. Today's Star Press headlined the story as Forfeited money not listed in DTF inventory.


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