Brizzi: Countdown to Stepdown

In the spirit of the holidays, this space has given Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi a little breathing room since we implored him one month ago today to reimburse the more than $150,000 contributed to him by alleged Ponzi-schemer Tim “D-Bag” Durham or resign his post as an elected officer of the courts. Now the holidays have passed and we at ALO  regret to say that IndyStar.com legal affairs blogger Jon Murray beat us by a few hours with speculation on when and how the Durham-laden prosecutor would call it quits.

"I shall not seek, and I will not accept..."

In his blog post entitled wittily enough Izzi going to run? Decision Clock is ticking, Murray writes:

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has issued a “New Year’s Note” that touts the office’s achievements during his tenure and expresses confidence that 2010 will be “yet another outstanding year.” But still up in the air late in the game is whether Brizzi will spend this year winding down the prosecutor’s office and preparing to hand it over to his successor — or will seek election to a third term in November.

A check of The Star’s archives reveals that last time around, in advance of the 2006 election, Brizzi was openly talking publicly about running for a second term at least as early as September 2005, 14 months out. This time, we’re already four months past that. And if Brizzi decides not to run, I’m sure the county GOP would appreciate a head’s up ASAP. Its deadline for candidates to file candidacy for next month’s slating convention is Jan. 14.

That’s not exactly a hard deadline for Brizzi, though Marion County Republican Party Chairman Tom John acknowledged to me this afternoon that Brizzi would be making it tougher for the party to field alternatives if he waits beyond that date just to announce he isn’t running. Several Democrats — Terry Curry, David Orentlicher and Greg Bowes — have been campaigning since last summer. “The Republicans will have a strong candidate for prosecutor in 2010,” John insisted, whether or not it’s Brizzi.

Officially, the Marion County Election Board’s filing deadline for primary candidates isn’t until Feb. 19, the Friday following the party’s slating convention (set for Feb. 13).

Mr. Murray is absolutely correct in starting the countdown.

ALO looks for the Italian Rapscallion to announce in the next few days that he will not be seeking another term. He just can’t run really. As his chairman states above, he will be putting the party in a deep hole by waiting much longer and he will dig a tremendous canyon if he opts to seek a third term with allegations floating around about him and his cronies. The political commercials practically write themselves.

Just think of how hard it would be for Brizzi to raise money. Would you want to add your name to a list Tim Durham was on? How about that other great Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff?

Durham scuttled Tim Mottsinger’s campaign for sheriff and now will be ending Brizzi’s prosecutorial career.

There is some speculation as to who will be announced as the Republican successor candidate, but the real question that Mr. Murray did not ask in his blog post was whether Brizzi will even fulfill his term.

Brizzi once aimed at running for mayor of Indianapolis or a congressional seat, but with even the most Nixonian, pheonix-like reemergence onto the political stage far-fetched at best, why would he stay in?

Every day his stock drops as a potential law firm partner. I doubt any other banks are going to want him on their board.

We expect the prosecutor to bid the office adieu amid the doldrums of summer so it can be a smaller news story while everyone is at the lake. But also it will allow his party to hold a quick caucus to reappoint the position and allow them to place whoever their candidate is, into the office so he can run with the bully pulpit.

Paranoid? Conspiratorial? Delusional? Never underestimate lows to which Republicans will stoop to hold this office.

Why this office? Because, since Marion county is the seat of state government any investigations mounted and charges proffered or grand juries convened for charges against gubernatorial administration, or a state treasurer or an auditor of state or a secretary of state are filed by the Marion County prosecutor.

Never forget that.

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