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NCJ Number: 65575 Find in a Library
Title: TAX ASSESSOR HAS MANY FRIENDS
Journal: HARPER'S MAGAZINE  Volume:245  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1972)  Pages:102-104 106-111
Author(s): G CRILE
Corporate Author: Harper's Magazine Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1972
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Harper's Magazine Co
New York, NY 10016
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A REPORTER DESCRIBES HIS EXPERIENCES IN GARY, IND., DURING 1970 AND 1971 INVESTIGATING CORRUPTION IN THE TAX ASSESSOR'S OFFICE.
Abstract: GARY HAD BEEN CONTROLLED BY A POLITICAL MACHINE HEADED BY GEORGE CHACHARIS UNTIL 1967 WHEN THE CITY'S POPULATION SHIFTED TO A BLACK MAJORITY AND ELECTED RICHARD HATCHER AS MAYOR. BY 1970 HATCHER HAD INSTITUTED MANY REFORMS BUT FAILED TO NEUTRALIZE THE MACHINE'S POWER AND TO FORCE A FAIR EVALUATION OF U.S. STEEL'S TAXABLE PROPERTY IN GARY WHICH WAS SUBSTANTIALLY UNDERASSESSED. WHEN A SERIES OF FINANCIAL CRISES HIT THE SCHOOLS AND GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE TAX REVENUES, RALPH NADER BECAME INTERESTED IN GARY AND IN ASSISTING A LOCAL REFORM ORGANIZATION, THE CALUMET COMMUNITY CONGRESS (CCC). IN EARLY 1971, BEFORE HATCHER'S REELECTION CAMPAIGN BEGAN, A WAVE OF ARSONS AND OTHER CRIMES SWEPT THE CITY. ENCOURAGED BY NADER TO EXAMINE THE U.S. STEEL TAX ASSESSMENT, THE REPORTER ALSO BECAME INTERESTED IN THE TAX ASSESSOR, THOMAS FADELL WHO HAD BEEN A PROTEGE OF THE MACHINE BOSS CHACHARIS. WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF AN EX-EMPLOYEE IN THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE AND A FORMER INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE AGENT, THE REPORTER UNCOVERED NUMEROUS ABUSES OF CITY FUNDS AND A PATTERN OF ASSESSMENTS WHICH REFLECTED PERSONAL VENDETTAS OR BUSINESS ARRANGEMENTS FAVORABLE TO FADELL. ALTHOUGH THE REPORTER WAS PHYSICALLY THREATENED, HE COMPLETED HIS INVESTIGATIONS SO THAT ARTICLES COULD BE PUBLISHED IN TIME TO DISCREDIT THE MACHINE IN THE ELECTION. DESPITE A DELAY IN THE ARTICLES' PUBLICATION AND THE MACHINE'S ATTEMPTS TO INTIMIDATE THE MAYOR, HATCHER WON BY A LANDSLIDE. THE NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER REPEATEDLY POSTPONED PUBLISHING THE ARTICLES, AND WHEN PORTIONS OF THEM APPEARED IN A CCC NEWSPAPER THE REPORTER WAS FIRED. HE SUBSEQUENTLY DISCOVERED THAT THE NEWSPAPER'S PROPERTY ASSESSMENT HAD BEEN REDUCED BY $150,000. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Corruption of public officials; Fraud; Indiana; Political influences
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65575

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