I pose that question in conjunction with the latest news regarding Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.
Brizzi, who has already ready come under fire for relationship with embattled financier Tim Durham and questions regarding his support for the early release a woman whose father donated to his campaign, now finds a new controversy at his doorstep.
The Indianapolis Business Journal reported this weekend that despite the objections of police and prosecutors, Brizzi allowed plea deal with a defendant whose attorney was his business partner that resulted in a reduced charges and the return of $10,000 in seized money.
In light of this news, Brizzi should give serious consideration to resigning.
I do not make this statement lightly. I reached after spending the past few weeks speaking to a number of local party members, police and members of the legal community. Each time the response came back with a phrase I can’t repeat here.
There’s only so much bad news a person can take. Although the Durham stories were not flattering, you could argue they were still beyond Brizzi’s sphere of control. You could even argue the donation critics say was made in connection with the early release was questionable, however when you raise $3 million it’s not impossible for something like that to happen and people should pay closer attention to campaign accounting.
This story on the other hand is all Brizzi’s. The IBJ reviewed a number of e-mails between Brizzi business associate Paul J. Page. The paper reported Page Brizzi a 50 percent stake an Elkhart office building worth $900,000 without Brizzi having to invest any cash or co-sign a loan.
Page also had a client who charged with dealing steroids and faced 10 years in prison. Over the objections of deputy prosecutors and police Brizz’s office returned most of the confiscated cash and reduced the sentence.
The prosecutor’s office denies any quid pro quo. However it really doesn’t matter at this point. As I have said on this blog before, it’s not what it is, it’s what it looks like. Had this story, or any of the other previous mentioned stories happened by themselves, it would be embarrassing, but the news cycle would eventually run its course. However, when you pick up the paper or turn on the television and hear the prosecutor’s name and wonder what shoe is about to drop now, that’s when you have to say enough is enough.
Since I am not part of the conspiratorial echo chamber, I am not willing to say Brizzi has done anything criminal. I will say the steady stream of bad publicity can’t be good and after a while it truly becomes counterproductive and hampers your effectiveness.
Brizzi should seriously think about how effective he can be for the rest of his term. This is unfortunate because he was a rising star who could have easily run for statewide office in a few years. It’s a story that’s almost Shakespearean in nature; however it’s a tragedy.
Unless Brizzi can do a major mea culpa and have a come to Jesus meeting with the voters, I really don’t see how he can salvage his reputation. At best he can stop the hemorrhaging and the only way to do that is to call it a career.