County Auditor Stabosz denounces Commissioners Mrozinski and Matias, citing free speech violation


Submitted by La Porte County Auditor Timothy Stabosz


La Porte County Auditor Timothy Stabosz released a statement Feb 4, 2021, alleging that Commissioners Richard Mrozinski and Sheila Matias violated his First Amendment rights and cut him off during public comment at the Feb. 3 La Porte County Commission meeting. Stabosz released this press release:

“I’m extremely uncomfortable with what I saw transpire at (the commissioners’) last meeting. What I witnessed was Commissioner Matias representing that Commissioner Haney was incorrectly placed on the Redevelopment Commission at your first meeting in January, owing to a so-called ‘scrivener’s error.’ Let’s be clear: A scrivener’s error is a mistakenly written-down name. When I, as auditor, publicly asked who the scrivener was, instead of saying it was a secretary to the commission (the logical person), Commissioner Mrozinski stated ‘I was.’ He then went on to explain not how Haney’s name was innocently scribed wrong by Mrozinski himself on a list of appointments, but how, after discussing it with certain members of the RDC, it was decided that Mrozinski’s lengthy experience in RDC matters argued for HIS being the RDC appointment, and that it ‘wasn’t about Joe.’ But if such is the case, why not simply admit that the Haney appointment was a mistake and acknowledge to a fellow commissioner as such beforehand, with regret, instead of misrepresenting it as the fault of an errant pen? That, by definition, smacks of a cover story and a need for a cover story. Does such brazenness help maintain the credibility and dignity of the La Porte County Commission, or the trust and respect between and amongst its members? Most certainly not, as we tragically saw unfold at your last meeting. But there is more.
“What is more disturbing is Commissioner Haney’s statement that Mr. Mrozinski had said to him days prior to your last Commission meeting, in reference to County Attorney Shaw Friedman, that ‘Shaw wants you off’ (the RDC). Moreover, Commissioner Haney stated that Mrozinski further told him that ‘Joe Coar wanted you replaced’ (Mr. Coar being a well connected retired rainmaker for construction company Tonn and Blank). Haney also stated that Commissioner Mrozinski asked Haney to have a meeting with Mrozinski and Joe Coar, but Haney declined because he believed such a meeting would be inappropriate and a violation of the Open Door Law. (Question: Since when is a figure such as Joe Coar supposed to be allowed to ‘approve’ whether or not a LaPorte County commissioner sits on the Redevelopment Commission? It stinks to high heaven.)
“Finally, Mr. Haney expressed concern that undue influence seems like it is being placed upon Commissioner Mrozinski, and the commission generally. That doesn’t sound like a scrivener’s error to me. It sounds like old-style politics.
“I witnessed Mr. Friedman testify, at your last meeting, that he was ‘surprised that the (Haney RDC) appointment occurred,’ but why should the attorney’s opinion on these matters be relevant, and shouldn’t he keep his mouth closed, and stick to giving advice only when spoken to, instead of engaging in unseemly patterns of constant advocacy and lobbying in commission meetings? I further witnessed Attorney Friedman comport himself in a disorderly fashion, with an attitude of contempt and hostility toward Commissioner Haney as Haney was trying to cross-examine Friedman, with Friedman dressing him down and demeaning him more than once. It made me wonder if Commissioner Haney is obliged to be working for Commissioner Friedman and not the reverse!
“The worst of it was Friedman’s statement, addressing Mr. Haney, in reference to Mr. Mrozinski: ‘He’s been involved in economic development for 13 years, and you’ve only been involved for 13 days.’ Are such manipulative and outrageously insubordinate statements, which strip a commissioner of his rightful role, acceptable or respectable? Does a person who would say such a thing know HIS proper role, or is he out of control? Why don’t Commissioners Matias and Mrozinski care about slapping down THAT behavior, which is a direct assault on the proper governance of the La Porte County Commission?
“This doesn’t even get into the issue of the commission ignoring the county health department’s unanimous recommendation of Joe Haney as their liaison, with Commissioner Haney expressing concern that Commissioner Matias’s seizing such appointment for herself seemed to represent an act of retaliation for Haney’s exposing the RDC “scrivener” canard that Matias was willing to put forth.
“For the record, I walked out at the end of your last meeting, during Commissioner Mrozinski’s closing speech, because what I witnessed was Commissioner Mrozinski doing everything but pledge his life and his sacred honor to Attorney Shaw Friedman. It made me sick. Did Mr. Friedman put Mr. Mrozinski up to that? I felt the speech was fundamentally political, the propogation of a false ‘cover story’ that Mrozinski had appointed Friedman in good faith, when it really was the result of a political deal where Commissioner Mrozinski was afforded the pleasure of no Democratic opponent caucused in last summer in exchange for a pledge that he would retain Friedman as county attorney. Ergo, this is not at all about Mrozinski’s standing with integrity, separate from a political party. It is about pretending you are doing what is best for the county when you were really selfishly doing what was best for you.
“As a result of all of this, we now have a dark cloud hanging over the La Porte County Commission.
“I have an obligation as county auditor to represent the truth as I see it, and I will do just that. There are reasons that I implored you, in a formal letter, not to hire Shaw Friedman as your attorney. Those reasons are now coming out in spades, as I full well knew they would. But the public barely knows it because Mr. Friedman, through manipulation and intimidation, persuaded much of the major media not to cover it. And he threatens public officials, in the lawful execution of their duties, with pointless defamation claims, thrown around like confetti, when he full well knows he is a public figure, subject to criticism and judgment just like the rest of us.
“Commissioners, it is your responsibility to throw off the shackles of corrosive and corrupting forces. It is time for each of the 3 of you to re-find your moral worth and your moral authority and reject the outside influences that are being placed upon you. There is no other legitimate reason to possess the power that your position affords you, other than to wield it yourself for the people! I implore you to do as such without fear, or having the yoke of another placed upon you, or to be subjected to the threats of another.
“Let me be clear: What I witnessed at your last meeting was a kangaroo commission operated by a not-so-invisible hand, with Commissioners Mrozinski and Matias transparently executing the will of an attorney. There is a word for that where I come from: sordid.”
Video of commission meeting:

6 Responses to “County Auditor Stabosz denounces Commissioners Mrozinski and Matias, citing free speech violation”

  1. Bill Proud

    Feb 06. 2021

    Tim you have picked up where you left off from Laporte city gov.You attacked the mayor at every meeting and now it’s the same. Government doesn’t work when we don’t work together.

    Reply to this comment
    • Slicer

      Feb 08. 2021

      Agreed! He complained about everything while he was a city council member. He belittled other city council members and the mayors, especially Blair Milo. He seems to throw a fit any time things don’t go his way.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Walter Allen

    Feb 07. 2021

    Tim, you be surprised of many Cities and Countries would love to have Shaw as theirs attorney as much as he have fought big names to help LaPorte County Peoples over the years! I agree with Bill of you always stir the pot of complaining and just do your job! Mitch will find somebody else he can use for his puppets show.

    Reply to this comment
  3. John

    Feb 24. 2021

    Tim, why are you so not well liked in city government circles? Tsk, it’s a shame you are so contentious with people. You clash and resound.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Steve Holifield

    Apr 14. 2021

    Thank you sir for standing up for the taxpayers

    Reply to this comment
  5. Fed Up

    Sep 07. 2021

    Mr. Auditor, it is quite obvious you and Mr. Haney have an agenda and its sickening. You two clowns need to go away. You are nothing but an educated, pompous, elitist who thinks he knows it all. You’re a child and a disgrace. Go to either the west or east coasts where you belong you clown.

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