Carmel discovers payment to former Palladium CEO
A Carmel City Council member is calling for the ouster of the City Center's Development Commission after discovering its leaders paid the former CEO of the Palladium $100,000 to leave and not file a lawsuit.
After the CEO of the Carmel Palladium abruptly resigned last year amid serious allegations of misconduct, Eyewitness News has learned of a six-figure settlement to help him go away.
The discovery came as the Carmel City Council set out to investigate the Redevelopment Commission Debt.
Just weeks ago, Indiana's Department of Local Government Finance put out a debt report showing the city of Carmel with $895 million in total outstanding debt, ranking it the number one city in the state when it comes to debt load.
The council also made a surprising discovery: a settlement involving the former CEO of the Palladium, Steven Libman.
Libman resigned after allegations of a romantic relationship with his assistant. The mayor hired a private investigator and said money given to the foundation was misused for travel, hotels, meals, and shows.
Until now, Councilman Rick Sharp says City Attorney Doug Haney and Mayor Jim Brainard denied paying Libman any money. New documents now show that was not true.
Sharp revealed that the mayor and city attorney later paid $100,000 to Libman to keep Libman from filing a lawsuit against them. The settlement had never been disclosed to the council.
"When you're trying to deal with a body, an entity, an administration that has proven that they will actively cover up things, it's kind of tough for me to pull the trigger on a potential $200 million debt issue until I can feel that I have clearly gotten to the bottom of it all," said Sharp.
Sharp tells us he won't vote for the bailout until the city becomes more transparent.
Statement from Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard
"I am limited in my ability to comment on this issue by the terms of a settlement agreement that Councilman Sharp knows exists. The City entered into a settlement agreement with Mr. Libman to avoid the cost, expense and uncertainty of litigation, such as the risk of an adverse judgment against the City. All settlement agreements represent compromises from both sides, and part of this compromise was to agree to mutual confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions. So while I would very much like to discuss the circumstances under which we resolved this matter - and I am sure the same goes for Mr. Libman and his attorney - I simply cannot comment about the issue any further, except to make you aware that a settlement agreement does exist and that I and the City are bound by it.
"It would seem, however that the campaign for mayor has started early. I do want to emphasize that the settlement was made on the advice of experience and competent outside legal counsel."