Tag Archives: David Woerpel

Mayor McDermott Attempts to Quash Investigation into Campaign Finances

6 Dec

by Ken Davidson

In a filing with the Lake County Election Board today, Mayor McDermott, by his attorney David Westland, asked the board to dismiss the complaint filed by Eric Krieg. You will recall that Krieg filed a complaint asking the board to investigate payments of over $300,000 from the campaign to the Mayor’s wife; non-payment of rent to Pyramid Development Corporation for office space; and a one-time payment of $6,000 to David Woerpel from the campaign.

In the filing the Mayor states “there is no substantial reason to believe that a violation of election law has occurred.” The Mayor argues that Indiana law does not require a written contract between a candidate and his wife for payment of services to the campaign. In support of this argument, the Mayor cites the fact that the advisory opinion was never codified and the statement of Brad King, co-chair of the Indiana Election Commission, which was obtained by The Times of Northwest Indiana for their article on the issue.

As to the rent issue, the Mayor argues that rent was paid and the Board should not look to the fair market value of any such agreement. Finally, as to the one time payment to David Woerpel, the Mayor points out that the payment was made three weeks before his arrest and states that Woerpel performed services for the campaign. The nature of the services are not outlined in the reply.

The Gazette would like to hear your thoughts. Should the Election Board investigate the above issues?
You can read the full response here:
12051302 (1)

Krieg Calls for Feds to Investigate McDermott Campaign Finance Issues

26 Nov

by Ken Davidson

In the wake of recent FBI activity in Lake Station, political activist and former county surveyor candidate Eric Krieg planned to call on the Lake County Board of Elections to refer Mayor Thomas McDermott’s campaign finance reports to the office of United States Attorney David Capp. Krieg will have to wait until the Board meets in December to present his allegations as this month’s meeting was cancelled.  In a statement provided to the press prior to the planned meeting, Krieg compared McDermott’s payments to his wife with the recent conviction of Former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. He outlines several allegations of impropriety in the reports including:

-Payments to Kelly Consulting, Inc. of over $300,000.  The payments ranging from $3,000-$4,000 per month span a period of over ten years. Krieg alleges that Kelly Consulting, Inc. is owned by Marissa McDermott and that Indiana law requires a written contract on file with the election board in order to pay family members for campaign services;

-a one time consulting fee paid to David Woerpel. This payment is alleged to have been in the amount of $6,000 and paid around the time that Woerpel was charged with a crime in Lake Superior Court;

-A single payment of rent for McDermott for Mayor Headquarters in the amount of $1,000. Krieg alleges that free rent should be reported as an in-kind donation on the finance report.

Krieg explained that the contributions to Kelly Consulting, Inc continue in non-election years. The address for Kelly Consulting is listed as 7134 Knickerbocker, Hammond, IN 46323. Documentation was provided from the office of the Indiana Secretary of State showing that Marissa McDermott is listed as President of Kelly Consulting, Inc. Total payments to Kelly Consulting from the McDermott campaign for the years 2005 to present totalled just over $330,000.

The lack of payment to Kaplan controlled Pyramid Development may be the most damaging allegation. As reported previously, Pyramid Development is owned by McDermott friend and contributor Greg “Krazy” Kaplan. Kaplan later sold the building to the Purdue University Foundation for a reported $1M. Politically connected WJOB radio has announced that they will move into the building sometime next year. So far, they are the only announced tenant.  While not illegal on its face, the entire transaction certainly seems to require some explanation. To date, we have heard none.

You can see Mayor McDermott’s 2011 campaign report here:  http://lwvcalumet.org/files/cfb.mcdermott_jr_thomas_m_2011_annual_rpt.pdf