Judge: Attorneys must provide ROC documents

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Attorneys for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration must turn over additional documents related to the controversial Regional Operations Center, according to a judge’s order issued Monday.

The City-County Council sued Ballard’s Office of Corporation Counsel earlier this year, accusing city attorneys of taking too long to turn over documents requested by a council committee investigating the ROC.

The order – obtained first by I-Team 8 – states city attorneys must provide the City-County Council with the following: documents related to the cost of sites other than the former Eastgate Mall property; documents related to the city’s obligation to provide security during the 2012 Super Bowl; and documents related to expenses incurred with the ROC, according to council attorney Fred Biesecker.

The judge also asked the city to review additional documents that were requested.

The council’s investigative committee formed last fall after the discovery of numerous safety violations led Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs to temporarily close the building and evacuate both police and homeland security personnel. Meanwhile, during its closure, the city continued to pay $57,000 in rent each month.

After a legal battle with the building’s owner, Alex Carroll, the city agreed to pay Carroll to make the necessary safety upgrades – including the addition of a firewall. The building re-opened in May and has been used as an emergency operations hub.

Insiders have said there was a big push to get the building operational before the 2012 Super Bowl. Despite its use for security monitoring during such a huge event for the city, the deal behind it has been surrounded by controversy. The $18 million lease requires the city pay $57,000 each month in rent. At the end of the 25-year lease, the city still won’t own the building.

Some city leaders have called the deal unfavorable. Carroll has said the city got the best deal it could for less than $10 per square foot.

The council’s lawsuit against the city grew out of its request for additional documents this spring. Some members of the committee believe the rules that govern how the city enters lease agreements were skirted, misunderstood or ignored.

Former Public Safety Director Frank Straub signed the lease deal.

Straub, who now lives in Washington state, has declined to appear in person to answer questions of the council. He has also declined to talk about the ROC when reached by I-Team 8 previously.

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