Tully On Carmel's Use Of Private Eyes

Star columnist Matt Tully takes a somewhat humorous look at Carmel's use of private investigators to investigate private citizens. There are two passages I find worthy of comment. The first is a defense offered by Mayor James Brainard for using private investigators:

"I'm not going to comment because it's not in the best interests of the taxpayers," the mayor said, politely apologizing along the way.
He did inform me that "the big law firms" regularly hire investigators in the course of litigation and that such investigators can assist a city when people file tort claims against it.
"Does that help?" he asked.
Not in the least, I said.
Brainard is correct in his assertion that private investigators are often employed, usually by insurance companies that are on the hook for a claim, to determine if a person claiming to have suffered long-term disability really suffered the injury complained of. Law firms defending tort claims for one of their clients sometimes directly employ private investigators to assist them as well. So if you claim you can no longer work or are physically disabled, the party against whom you are seeking payment may hire a private investigator to determine if you are engaged in physical activities inconsistent with your disability claim. If the news reports are true, Carmel was using private investigators to investigate the personal life of the CEO of the nonprofit foundation that operates Carmel's Palladium. That's an entirely different matter.

Tully's column also includes a column by the head of the trade organization for Indiana's licensed investigators.
And he said cities frequently hire private eyes, er, I mean, licensed investigators, to collect background information or to look into complaints made against workers or the government. When the charges aren't criminal, he said, it is not appropriate to use city police.
"So where else can they go?" he said. "Attorneys aren't investigators."
I think many people would take issue with the notion that attorneys aren't investigators, but that's a whole different debate. The point is the trade group's chairman claims cities frequently employ private investigators. Fox 59 News' Anne Yeager contacted the state's largest city, Indianapolis, and was told it does not employ private investigators--at least not officially.

I've written frequently about the treasure trove of information contained in Dick Cady's book, "Deadline: Indianapolis," about his many years of working as a reporter for the Indianapolis Star. Cady and his colleagues won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on corruption in the Indianapolis Police Department under former Mayor Richard Lugar. Cady's book discusses at length IPD's relationship with the same private investigator at the center of the debate today in Carmel. It's unfortunate that Tully didn't bother to check the archives of his own newspaper to help him with his column today. The Star's reporters are apparently under some general order not to ever mention on their news pages Cady's book, but you would think they could at least call up some of the great reporting he and his colleagues did that brought so much credit to the newspaper. Go figure.