Yanagihara, now deceased, never came close to launching the proposed business. Boykin didn’t deliver either. With Yanagihara, at least, the cost was limited to embarrassment, disappointment and loss of credibility. Boykin got $1.5 million from the taxpayers in incentives. And in both cases, the problems came to light only because of Indianapolis Star investigations.
Then there was the strange case of Monica Liang, hired under a $100,000 contract by the IEDC to explore business opportunities in China when her only experience was as an interpreter for the city of Marion. She was quietly terminated after Chinese government officials accused her of soliciting a bribe, a charge the IEDC investigated internally rather than taking to the authorities. Offering little detail, the IEDC said it failed to substantiate the allegations.
Lack of openness, lack of due diligence, lack of measurable results — it certainly adds up to an agency deserving of the priority attention Pence assigned it shortly after taking office in January.
State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Indianapolis, author of the new law, says he is heartened by the governor’s strong words upon signing the legislation and believes the law should be allowed time to show its effectiveness. If a need for modification arises by the start of the General Assembly session in January, he added, he would be open to revisit the law.
“We don’t want to make companies disclose trade secrets,” he said. “But it’s a balancing act. I’m a strong believer in the public’s right to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent.”
So far the balance has been tipped to the private side. It’s time for the weight to be shifted back toward transparency and the public — the people who are paying the bills.
— The Indianapolis Star