Criminal Justice Institute director placed on leave

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Roger Harvey /Eyewitness News

Indianapolis, April 26, 2006 -  A state agency director is on paid leave pending an investigation. 13 Investigates obtained records from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute this week, where Heather Bolejack is the executive director. In her role, she oversees criminal justice, traffic safety and victim assistance across the state.

Heather Bolejack oversees $60 million in federal funding as executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. How she runs the state agency is under scrutiny of the Indiana inspector general. Governor Mitch Daniels placed Bolejack on paid administrative leave Tuesday during the inspector general's review.

During the past week, 13 Investigates requested travel records of Bolejack and top staffers. Sources tell Eyewitness News one of the areas under examination is Bolejack's travel and expense reports. She often travels to Washington, DC, and other cities like New York to discuss federal grants and how to bring those dollars to Indiana.

Sources say a several hundred thousand-dollar federal grant given to a friend of Bolejack's husband is also under review.

Governor Daniels would not comment on the details of Inspector General David Thomas's work. "That's exactly why I wanted an inspector general so that any conceivable question gets investigated and dealt with promptly and fairly. That's what's gonna happen," he said.

Eyewitness News spoke with Heather Bolejack earlier this week and she said she is confident she's done nothing wrong. 

Also, the Inspector General's office is also looking at the travel expenses of one of Bolejack's top deputies.  The Inspector General's review should be completed within the next two weeks.

Thomas stressed in a news release that "this request was made to facilitate an efficient conclusion to the OIG review and should not be interpreted as a comment on the nature of the review."

The Indiana Democratic Party later said in a statement that it submitted a records request on March 17 asking the institute for Bolejack's expense reimbursement vouchers and travel and petty cash records. The party said it received a general letter acknowledging its receipt, but the agency had not produced any of the records.

Jason Barclay, special counsel to the governor for public safety and chairman of Justice Institute's board of trustees, and Jon von Arx, chairman of the Commission for a Drug-Free Indiana, will oversee the institute's daily operations until the problem was resolved. Bolejack had worked as a litigation associate for the Indianapolis law firms of Ice Miller and Bingham McHale.

At the time of her appointment, Daniels said he wanted her to focus much of the institute's efforts on initiatives to stop the spread of methamphetamine use.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.