Published on April 24th, 2019 | by Todd Smekens0
Craig Nichols: Did he act alone?
What if the corruption case in Muncie, Indiana isn’t exactly like Keith Roysdon and The Star Press presented to Muncie residents? Did they get it wrong or at least present another half-truth?
Two years or 24 months in a federal prison is a long time to think about wrongs committed. It’s also a long time to sit on a resentment knowing your friends sold you down the river so their own crimes could go unpunished. By the way, the first to contact the FBI or police usually gets the deal.
Why all this drama?
I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a Democratic insider who is whistleblowing now that the City’s legal gag order has been lifted. Add to that a few FOIA requests and the whole case takes on a different perspective…not exactly the TSP or Larry Riley version.
This article will only deal with Craig’s theft of taxpayer dollars, but there is much more when you consider Gretchen Cheeseman and MPD. As IPR mentioned in their article about the sentencing document, “It also says Nichols has admitted to a gambling problem, which it says is the reason for his crimes. And, it’s also the reason the defense says he has none of the proceeds left to pay back the city.”
Well, it turns out that Craig wasn’t the only government employee who liked to drive over to Anderson and spend their wages. Some employees just couldn’t get enough of the ponies — Craig was one but who else?
Go back to the minutes for the Board of Works. I read them very closely at the time the story broke. There were two prominent employee names who kept appearing on the minutes: Arron Kidder and Audrey Jones. Arron served the mayor as a program coordinator and Audrey was the controller. Audrey’s job was to provide the checks and balances for taxpayers. Both were in a position to stop or shut down Craig’s agenda. Neither did.
Why didn’t they?
For Arron, according to one insider, he also had a gambling addiction. Arron even received monies from Craig to help purchase a vehicle — was it gambling proceeds or taxpayer money? Does it even matter?
So why would our controller ignore the fake addresses and pay bills which she knew were inaccurate or questionable?
According to one email obtained under an FOIA, our married controller was involved in a love tryst with Arron at the time. Her judgment was clouded with the sound of a beating heart.
Craig was called a “thief disguised as an honest public employee.”
From the emails obtained and the discussion I had last week, Craig wasn’t the only dishonest employee we had at City Hall.
It should be noted that the FBI was contacted via phone because there are no emails from Audrey or Arron to the white collar investigative unit. Both employees left city employment rather quickly as well. Neither of them mentioned the FBI investigation or their role in the crimes as reasons for their departure.
Attempts to reach Arron Kidder were unsuccessful. Reaching Audrey was much easier but met with claims of harassment and anger, then silence. Maybe once the two of them get their stories straight, we’ll get even closer to the truth. Don’t “bet on it.”