Gretchen Cheesman, Part I
Mayor Dennis Tyler wanted the former Chief of Police, Steve Stewart to investigate Gretchen, but the FBI was in town and probing around the Building Commissioner offices/City Hall so the former chief declined. The Chief subsequently resigned but a treasure trove of emails assembled from Gretchen’s trial remains so I thought an FOIA was in order to see why the Mayor and other employees wanted an internal investigation. Gretchen doesn’t work there anymore because she was fired by the City of Muncie with a “just cause” judge’s ruling reached in 2017.
Fascinating reading. Plenty of questionable dealings, including a credit inquiry with her sister from a local credit union.
If you wanted to make extra cash flipping a house or buying one where the owner is having difficulty paying taxes, a call or email to Gretchen Bookout Cheesman with the Unsafe Building Hearing Authority was all you needed to begin brokering you a deal. In one scenario, she offered to increase fees ($2,500.00) on a historic district property owner to “speed along the process.” I’ll touch on the Emily Kimbrough property in part two.
Gretchen worked with unethical slumlords according to Forbes magazine who wrote about a steady customer of Gretchen’s ‘buying low and selling high’ real estate system.
Don’t forget, many of these people were the buzzards who circled communities like Muncie where the 2008-09 financial collapse hit the hardest. These operators were looking for cheap deals they could fix up and lease or sell for profit. Gretchen was the go-to person at City Hall.
She was technically an unlicensed real estate broker and crossing this line from her official duties caused her termination. The specific legislation outlining her duties can be found here.
Once terminated, did Gretchen then call the FBI as an insider knowing how the demolition program worked? Was she fine with it as long as nobody messed with her Fiefdom?
As I wrote recently, I think those involved with helping Craig Nichols ALL started calling the FBI to avoid prosecution themselves. The first to make a deal with the FBI generally avoids jail time.
Before I go, speaking of Queens of Fiefdoms, sources say Nikki Grigsby from the Muncie Sanitation District has been MIA from work for three to four weeks. The same sources say another round of FBI arrests is forthcoming. Is Nikki being allowed to “rest up” before doing prison time?
We’ll know more soon…