Indiana mayor, a Democrat, is arrested after an FBI investigation.

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Did I mention the mayor in question is Dennis Tyler, the mayor of Muncie?

For all of those who have ever asked why some of us pose the questions we do, Muncie is the reason.

What’s happening in Muncie could happen in any city in the state. All the potential moving parts for malfeasance are there, defined in terms of business as usual, behind the scenes and out of view; there’s lots of money, and precious little transparency.

This is why a municipal habit of ignoring and obfuscating public information requests is worrisome.

Someone in Muncie wouldn’t let it go, and the feds got involved.

Were it so, just a little bit closer to home.

Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler arrested by FBI agents, by Douglas Walker and Corey Ohlenkamp (Muncie Star Press)

MUNCIE, Ind. – Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler was arrested Monday by FBI agents at his northside home.

‘I can confirm an arrest warrant was executed at the home of Mayor Dennis Tyler this morning and he is currently in custody,” Christine Bavender, a spokesperson for the FBI, told The Star Press.

The doors to the mayor’s wing at City Hall, normally open during business hours, were closed about 9 a.m. Monday. A sign that frequently hangs on that door when the offices are closed said, “Out to lunch. Will return shortly.”

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler scheduled a press conference, with FBI agents, to discuss the arrest and charges. Tyler is accused of accepting a $5,000 bribe in exchange for what federal authorities said was “steering lucrative excavation work to a local contractor.”

According to the indictment, Tyler received the cash from Tracy Barton, the Muncie Sanitary District’s superintendent of sewer maintenance and engineering, for “awarding of contracts under Tyler’s influence.”

A federal investigation of allegations of corruption in and near the Tyler administration has been under way for nearly four years.

The probe apparently began in early 2016 with allegations against Craig Nichols, at that time Tyler’s building commissioner.

This timeline mentions a high-powered Indianapolis legal firm which has been known to scatter largess in the direction of certain mayors around SoIn.


Muncie mayor arrested: A timeline of the FBI probe into city of Muncie
(Muncie Star Press)

This article, initially published Jan. 5, 2017, recapped developments in the FBI’s investigation of Muncie city government to that date. It has been updated with later developments.

MUNCIE, Ind. — Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler was arrested at his home by FBI agents the morning of Nov. 18 in the latest in a series of events since May 2016, when The Star Press first reported on the FBI investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in the Muncie city administration …

… In November 2016, The Star Press reported that the city’s Indianapolis law firm, Ice Miller, had been paid more than $160,000 since the beginning of the FBI probe and Shroyer lawsuit. After The Star Press published its story and City Council member Dan Ridenour called for information, Ice Miller acknowledged $92,000 of the legal fees were for the Shroyer lawsuit and grievance process for Gretchen Cheesman, a fired city employee. As of September 2017, Ice Miller had been paid more than $390,000 since early 2016.

Tyler said the FBI investigation had nothing to do with his decision to retire after two terms. The Republican candidate won big, in part by campaigning against documented corruption.

Dan Ridenour cruises to mayoral win in 2019 election, by Corey Ohlenkamp, (Muncie Star Press)

MUNCIE — Election night saw major changes come to the city of Muncie as Dan Ridenour rode atop a Republican wave through the election on Tuesday, winning the mayoral race in dominating fashion …

 … Ridenour kicked off his victory speech with the core arguments and goals that were his focus since he announced his campaign.

“I can tell you right now we are going to do what we said we’re gonna do,” Ridenour told an ecstatic crowd.

“We’re gonna be open. We’re going to be honest. We’re going to be transparent. We’re going to seek input from the public, from our not for profit partners, from our businesses, and we’re going to help Muncie get back to where it needs to be,” Ridenour said as the crowd broke out into a round of cheers and applause.

Hmm. Where have I heard this before? The problem is … well, you know.

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