Township Leaders Defend $10K Spent At Palladium Gala

5 Officials, 5 Guests Attended $1,000-A-Plate Gala

Clay Township leaders are defending $10,000 spent on tickets to the grand opening gala at the Palladium, but state officials said they will likely have to pay the money back.

Clay Township Trustee Douglas Callahan, three board members and a former board member, along with one guest each, attended the high-profile event at $1,000 a ticket on Jan. 29 at Carmel's new performing arts complex, 6News' Joanna Massee reported.

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Callahan, who said the purchase was discussed during an open meeting, said the township provides financial support to organizations by issuing grants and sponsoring tables at events.

"From my standpoint, I think it was the right thing to do," he said.

"We view this as supporting the arts in Carmel," Township Board Chairman Paul Bolin wrote in an e-mail to Massee.

But some residents are upset public money was used to buy the pricey tickets.

"I don't think that elected officials ought to be using tax dollars that I paid for the public good, to clean roads and take care of parks and all the other things, for that gala boondoggle," William Hutchinson said.

Deputy State Examiner Paul Joyce told 6News auditors would likely ask township officials to pay back the money used for the tickets.

"If it was me, I would rather reimburse that fund back prior to me coming in and telling you that you will now be charged for it," Joyce said.

Township funds are usually relied on for assisting the poor and fire protection.