Election briefs

Candidates are welcome to submit press releases to wnlp@whatsnewlaporte.com.

Timothy Stabosz, candidate for La Porte County Auditor


“I have made a sincere and concerted effort, these last several months, to express how important it is to elect as county auditor someone with a background in business, accounting, and AUDITING, as I have.   I also possess a 30 year history as an investment and finance professional.   I have done the books for, or been the treasurer of, a number of not-for-profits, over the years.  And I have an 8 year record in municipal finance, as a former city councilman.  Part of me badly wishes that my opponent had such a record, because I truly believe that La Porte County needs and deserves a person, 1) who can be a trusted, valued, and relied upon financial advisor to the Commission and Council,  2) who can command the respect of the department heads, and 3) who can appropriately instill in all officials a sense that there is a “checker” who is watching, and “on guard.”
“It is my express wish to be able to serve the people of La Porte County, in a role for which I know I am ideally suited.   I am, at bottom, a “numbers guy.”    It is my wish to have the opportunity to protect public assets, and to provide the oversight that is needed, to make our County function in a fiduciarily responsible, and, in fact, MORAL fashion.  If elected, I pledge to the people of La Porte County to bring a level of integrity, responsibility, accountability, and loyalty to the office of county auditor, that will allow you to feel, with confidence, that the store is being properly minded.   On or before November 3rd, I humbly entreat you for your vote, and respectfully put myself forth as the candidate that is, by far, best equipped to serve in the office of County Auditor.”

Joe Haney, candidate for La Porte County Commission, District 3  

Joe Haney

Joe Haney said that at the Oct. 7 LaPorte County Commission meeting, he called into question the timing and purchase price of a property located in downtown LaPorte.

“At issue is the proposed purchase of 507 Monroe Street, a defunct carpet warehouse that has been vacant for nearly a decade. The events surrounding this attempted purchase are extremely disturbing and smack of eerily similar questions surrounding the sale of the County Home earlier this year. What is going on in this county? How do these sweetheart deals keep happening?

“The property at issue was purchased in 2015 by its current owner for $76,000, according to county records. MLS realty records show the property was listed for sale in January of 2018 for $160,000. In early 2020, the listing was renewed, again at $160,000, where it remained until September 1st 2020, when it was pulled. During the October 7th Commission meeting, County Attorney Shaw Friedman admitted the listing was pulled from the market at his request and that he gave the seller “assurances” he would present a purchase agreement for the property to the Commission. Indeed one day after the listing was pulled, on September 2nd 2020, Commissioner Vidya Kora motioned for the county to proceed with “due diligence” to acquire the property, with the intent to store “Personal Protective Equipment” (PPE) there, and the motion was approved by the Commission.

“ALCO video of the October 7th 2020 Commission meeting shows Commission Candidate Haney, during public comment, calling into question the prices, listings and curious timing of the listing being pulled on Sept 1st, and Commissioner Kora’s motion on Sept 2nd. The video also details the bizarre responses of the Commission and County Attorney, in attempting to justify all the inconsistencies.

Regarding the timeline, “What transpired during the surrounding weeks is not totally clear, but as a result of unscripted, off-the-cuff comments from the Commissioners and County Attorney, we can begin to piece together what happened. The first question is, how did the County Attorney feel he had the authority to begin negotiating on behalf of the county to purchase a property, when it wasn’t publicly decided to pursue negotiations until September 2nd, 2020?” Haney continued, “As the alleged period for ‘due diligence’ proceeded, the property, which had not sold for $160,000 over the entire 2 ½ years of its listing, suddenly received a purported offer of $196,000. It was this alleged offer that led the County to attempt to justify a purchase price of $185,000. If this sounds strange to you, it should. What property owner is going to turn down a $196,000 offer, and replace it with a $185,000 offer that was conditioned on not just Commission approval, but also state CARES Act funding? It just doesn’t make sense.”

“This is flat out wrong. Earlier this year Commission leadership failed us with a botched sale of the County Home: $50,000 for the home, over 5 acres of prime land on State Road 2, plus a commercial generator (valued at over $30,000) that they left on the property… and now this? If I didn’t call them out and expose this travesty, they would have signed a contract that same day to buy an old warehouse that sat vacant for over 5 years, with no heat and no air conditioning, for $25,000 over its asking price.

“What we have witnessed from Commission leadership and the motions of Commissioner Kora reflect, at best, incompetence, and at worst, gross negligence or even malfeasance. The way this entire series of events has transpired is not just inconceivable, but unconscionable. If I am elected, I promise the people of LaPorte County that I will give you the trust and transparency you deserve, and that the days of the sweetheart deal will be over.”

Haney is a small business owner who resides on a small farm near Door Village with his wife of 18 years and their daughters. Haney is active in the community and has spent his adult life volunteering his time and talents, from serving as a Volunteer FireFighter/EMT to volunteering at homeless shelters, animal rescue groups and more. Visit JoeForLaPorte.com for more information.

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