Mayor Ballard reacts to Department of Metropolitan Development fallout after FBI probe

2 city officials charged in bribery case

INDIANAPOLIS - After Tuesday's FBI probe into alleged corrupt business practices in the Department of Metropolitan Development, Mayor Greg Ballard reacted to the indictment of two city officials linked to the city's land bank program.

Reggie Walton, 29, assistant administrator of the DMD, and John Hawkins, 27, senior project manager for the agency, were taken into custody Tuesday on multiple charges of wire fraud and bribery.

Mayor Ballard acknowledged that the FBI had contacted him last week concerning impending trouble with the city's land bank program. The program takes distressed properties through the county tax sale and puts them back in the hand of non-profit organizations and private developers to get them back on the tax rolls.

"People believe we're trying to do the right thing. When this came out, we fully cooperated because we don't want this in our city any more than anyone else does. I think the average citizen ought to be outraged by this because we just can't let this happen," Ballard said.

City officials also announced Wednesday that the land bank program is on indefinite hold until it can conduct an internal review and status of the properties in question.

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