Court Docs: LC Commissioners Approved Straw Bidder then Sued to Cancel Bids

As your elected officials scramble to convince you that they are doing something to address fraud at the tax sale, newly unearthed documents make it clear that the Commissioner’s Attorney Matt Fech instructed the Auditor to disregard the law

August 12, 2020-Recently filed documents make clear that Lake County Commissioner’s Attorney Matthew Fech instructed the Lake County Auditor to disregard the law to benefit a straw bidder at a May, 2019 tax sale The correspondence was filed as a part of Tom Wisniewski’s defense after Lake County Auditor John Petalas refused to provide over 500 tax sale certificants to a company named Broadway Logisitics, LLC which were purchased in a March, 2019 Commissioner’s Certificate Sale. Petalas argued that Wisniewski was an undisclosed principal in Broadway Logistics and that Wisniewski was also an ineligible bidder at the tax sale.

After a tax sale, a bidder has a prescribed amount of time to make payment in full. In the case of the May, 2019 Commissioner’s Certificate Sale, that payment deadline was 5:00 pm on the date of the sale. This is pursuant to Indiana Code and the agreement signed by all purchasers according to Wyllie:

The correspondence makes clear that everyone involved knew that Wisniewski was utilizing a straw bidder and that his Attorney, Rinzer Williams, was asking for a special favor on his behalf-making a payment over a week late. Wyllie and Lake County Auditor John Petalas took the position that Wisniewski, through his straw bidder, should not be provided any special treatment. Commissioner’s Attorney Matt Fech made the direction of Lake County Commissioners Jerry Tippy, Kyle Allen and Mike Repay VERY clear-disregard the law and accept the payment.

It should be noted that this is at a sale AFTER the sale which is the subject of the lawsuit. The same dummy corporation; the same straw bidder; and the same attorney were all involved.

Matt Fech did not return calls for comment regarding this article

Up next: What was Kyle Allen’s role in this mess?

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