Indianapolis Business Journal

Dateline: Thu 08 Apr 2010

takes the prize for its investigative reporting on Marion County's Republican prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who is insisting that he will stay in office despite calls for his resignation from Mark Massa, also a Republican who is running for prosecutor, and Tom John, GOP chairman.

IbJ's five-month long investigation of Brizzi's office is bringing the house of cards down: Brizzi personally intervened last year in a drug case, offering a reduced sentence for a business associate's client; the defense attorney in that drug case arranged for Brizzi to own half of an Elkhart business building worth $900,000; and Brizzi told his own staff to return $10 grand in cash to the defendant in that case.

And of course, there's also the friendship with troubled and embattled financier Tim Durham, the investment in a lucrative restaurant, the divorce, the partying...the comments section alone is a whole separate chapter.

IBJ points out that Brizzi has a financial incentive to remain in office through the end of his second term; he will be eligible for a lucrative pension if he completes eight years of service.

But Massa is in a full court press, saying that the prosecutor's office "should inspire public confidence, not cynicism."

You can read all about it at

From my vantage point, it's another case of a guy who climbed his way into the big leagues and whose head was subsequently swollen by pride and power. As a young, affable, very approachable prosecutor -- Brizzi has always been good to the press -- it was clear he liked the camera's eye.  That can be a flaw, but the real fatality is when a public servant succumbs to his own image and starts believing the hype.

If you want more insight into the mindset of a tough prosecutor, please read Indianapolis Monthly's April issue, which has a compelling story by former GOP proseuctor and all around good guy Scott Newman, "My Battle with Parkinson's." Newman talks about the power trip that every eager young deputy prosecutor experiences -- the courtroom drama, the desire to win, the incessant workaholism == and some of the fallout, in his own life, for that behavior.

More on this story later. Trust me that it's worth a read, not only for its insights about an insidious illness, but for its reflections on the meaning of life.

Will Carl Brizzi be writing such an article? Let's hope it's in his future. A little interior work, it seems, is in order. But first, he has to fight to stay in office....


nicmart [Member] said:

Ruth. Before his recent bad fortune, was Brizzi's goodness to the press reciprocated with favorably coverage? Rarely do reporters dish dirt on a prosecutor -- even when he abuses his authority (Nifong) -- until tangential scandal takes the prosecutor down.

2010-04-08 08:01:20

ruthholl [Member] said:

I think Brizzi has gotten a lot of good press in the past. If you look at his Facebook page, he lists Emmis as his employer; he does his radio gig (I think on Saturday) so in effect, he's in the media game as a player. Just one of the guys...
He is likeable -- he likes to be liked, so he works it -- so I think most people, including reporters, gave him a pass, with maybe the exception of a couple Behind Closed Doors items in the Star and of course gossip.
I do think some reporters at the Star thought/knew he had a big head, liked the sound of his own voice, etc., but once again that's a reporter's wet dream: a public official who likes to dish it out...
Have to give credit again to IBJ for pulling off the complete package in terms of looking at everything that has transpired. And I am sure you saw the Star is calling for him to step down; that's drastic...

2010-04-08 09:22:02

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Among public officials, Ruth, we need to demand the highest standards from our judiciary. They have legal and ethical codes that exceed statutory duties.

Alas, there are hundreds of damned fine attorneys in our fair city. But when you shift your attention to the bench and the prosecutor, well...the scenery changes. Ask any of those good attorneys, and they'll tell you, if you have a civil case to file in this county, your chances of getting a decent judge are less than 50%.

There are judges who have DUIs that get overlooked or quickly disposed-of. There are judges who couldn't lawyer themselves out of a paper bag, or who got their jobs because of their spouses--look no further than the Democratic county chair for that brutal fact.

Our prosecutor's chair has been occupied by some pretty heady PR merchants. I never thought I'd look fondly on the tenure of Steve Goldsmith--he of secret cameras on the circle fame. But Carl has done the impossible.

A good legal friend of mine put it thusly:

"Carl got a degree from a third-rate law school, used his personality to move up fast, and he's just not very good at lawyering. What did you expect?"

I expected a prosecutor to eschew shady real estate deals. To avoid letting drug dealers off lightly, especially when they're repesented by his real estate "partner."

I don't care about the playboy thing...he can party with whomever he wants. If he parties with felons, that's one thing, but I don't think he does. He parties with self-absored high-rollers. So what? His official conduct was and is sufficient to demand his head.

2010-04-08 10:38:06

varangianguard [unverified] said:

I read the letter to the editor (of the IBJ) that Mr. Brizzi wrote following a less than flattering article about one of the real estate deals.

Mr. Brizzi stated that he followed the letter of the law in his dealings in and out of the Prosecutor's Office. Omitted the "spirit" of the law part.
Want to know how warm and fuzzy that makes me feel that the Prosecutor only cares about the letter of the law?

I am also quite positive that Mr. Brizzi really doesn't see any conflicts of interest here, in or out of the Office. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about the state of law enforcement/justice in Marion County as well.

2010-04-08 11:07:21

ruthholl [Member] said:

TTT, what law school did Brizzi graduate? I know I can look this up....
V, I will also go back and read that letter to the editor of IBJ. What a terrible argument. But how revelatory of his mindset...
I am getting so I measure his success by Facebook: how many of his friends are saying "hang in there, Carl"? Only 3 as of 7 a.m. Have not looked for awhile. This is quite different from when the Tim Durham scandal first broke.
So how do you remove a prosecutor who refuses to resign? As the Star points out, he has not technically broken any he himself has apparently indicated...
Some defense, eh?

2010-04-08 11:38:47

hendy [Member] said:

Brizzi has to maintain his office, and it would appear that these are distractions to the integrity of the office, much like McRobbie's investment into Cha-cha. It gives the appearance of possible bias, where zero bias is mandated by the very oath taken; justice should be served, not backroom deals with seeming influence peddling.

Brizzi, in his defense, has also consistently dissected the IBJ's reporting, explaining each point and also denying specific damning details. Who do we believe, becomes the next question? Should he take a temporary LOA or appoint a special prosecutor, or grand jury? He needs to be cleansed. Let the soap begin.

2010-04-08 16:01:47

Exorcist [unverified] said:

"If [Brizzi] parties with felons, that's one thing...."

Methinks, Durham is just a few months from being in that category!

2010-04-08 20:45:16

Cope [unverified] said:

Brizzi went to Valparaiso's law school.

2010-04-08 22:44:15

John M [unverified] said:

I think the shot at Valpo by TTT's friend is a cheap shot and has little to do with Brizzi's problems. First, while Valpo is the lowest-ranked of Indiana's four law schools (Notre Dame and IU-Bloomington generally are top 30, IU-Indianapolis typically ranks at the lower end of the top 100), it's been around for a long time and is far from a school of last resort. There are plenty of good lawyers, here in Indianapolis and particularly in the Region, who went to school there. And there are plenty of graduates of elite law schools who lack the common sense necessary for everyday "lawyering." I'm a graduate of a top 25 law school, so I have no inferiority complex that requires me to say that.

I crossed paths with Brizzi a little bit before he was elected, and I don't disagree with the assessment of his intellect, but being the elected prosecutor has little to do with actual lawyering. Also, nearly all of Brizzi's problems seem to arise from greed, not incompetence. If he were in such a hurry to get rich, I'm not sure why he couldn't have kept his head down for a few years and then taken a busy-work job with a big firm.

2010-04-09 08:24:10

Just sayin' [unverified] said:

If you want some help on crimes Brizzi allegedly has committed, review the link on his party buddy and felon Daniel Laikin's guilty plea--notice the dropping of charges on Red Rock Pictures stock manipulation in return for the guilty plea on Lampoon?

Now go pull Carl Brizzi's disclosures and see how he gobbled up hundreds of thousands of shares of....gasp...Red Rock Pictures....this, of course, on the heels of his spectacular bet on Cellstar stock shortly before Brightpoint bought them.

Not bad for a guy who was sued in June of 2004 for failure to pay about three months of his kids gymnastics bills.

For those not familiar with financial schemes, if charged and convicted this is called insider trading and felony stock manipulation. It is a FACT this entire case is under continuing investigation by the Philadelphia SEC. It is also a FACT that Daniel Laikin's sentencing last week was POSTPONED until the case is sorted out with the rest of the parties involved.

I did notice Carl's scalp has been sweating a lot lately. And, he went to LA and was allegedly spotted having dinner with Tim Durham last week.


2010-04-10 14:05:36

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

Hats off to the Indianapolis Business Journal, for doing the right thing. It is terrible that the behavior of Brizzi caused them to decide to take such a terrible step, that is, to editorially call for him to resign.
I don't expect that Carl will.

2010-04-12 04:45:08

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