Documents released from the Indiana Office of the Inspector General accused two Indiana State Fair Commission employees of ethics violations, including ghost employment.
Records showed the workers used state property to run their private businesses
while on the state payroll, Call6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.
The inspector general said supervisor David Hummel and employee Chris Clyne used the Pepsi Coliseum's ice rink and weight-training equipment in the South Pavilion and the State Fair grandstands to train hockey players and various other athletes for a profit.
Hummel admitted to using his state computer for private business activities, according to the report, and using his position to purchase hockey equipment for the private business "at cost" through the Indiana State Fair Commission.
The report estimated Hummel and Clyne took financial advantage
of $7,500 worth of ice rental time.
"These figures do not account for any other financial advantage or gain through the rent-free use of the weight-training room discovered in the South Pavilion or the Grandstands, both used for athletic conditioning purposes by the business," read the report.
Both workers are still employed, according to State Fair spokesperson Andy Klotz.
"The public has to be concerned when our state resources all of us citizens are providing are misused for private gain," said Julia Vaughn with Common Cause Indiana, a nonpartisan government watchdog group. "That's just not something you can take any tolerance for."
Both employees reached settlement agreements with the Office of Inspector General, in which they admitted to Code of Ethics violations, including use of state property and ghost employment.
Hummel also admitted to a violation of outside employment, and agreed to pay a $1,500 fine and serve a two-week suspension without pay. Clyne was sanctioned to a one-week suspension without pay.
State Fair officials denied RTV6 requests to discuss the situation on camera, but in a statement said Indiana State Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye discovered a potential ethics violation and immediately launched an internal investigation.
"She reported the violation to the Office of the Inspector General, which conducted its own investigation that led to the agreed settlement from the OIG," Klotz said in a statement. "Additional sanctions were levied by the executive director against these two employees. We at the Indiana State Fair Commission continue to train employees on and strongly uphold the code of ethics standards of the state of Indiana."
Klotz declined to explain what additional sanctions were imposed, calling it is a personnel matter.
Vaughn expressed concern that state employees can keep their jobs, despite wrongdoing at taxpayers expense.
"The transgressions have got to be dealt with decisively to send a message to others who might be in a position to do the same thing, to say, Hey, there's going to be a serious penalty if I break the rules," Vaughn said. "We want to make sure the folks who work for our state government are there for the right reasons. There's the whole concept of public service.
Inspector General David Thomas told RTV6 Hummel has paid the $1,500 fine.
Last month, the State Fair announced Hummel will retire as part of a restructuring effort.
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