GOP: Embattled Councillor Should Resign From Ethics Committee

GOP Chair Says Bateman Shouldn't Serve While Charity Under Investigation

City-County Council Republican leaders are calling on Councilor Paul Bateman to step down from the ethics committee after an investigation into a charity that lists Bateman as an executive.

GOP Chair Tom John called a news conference Thursday morning to demand Bateman -- a Democrat -- recuse himself from the council's Investigative Committee on Ethics, which is set to meet Thursday night.

It comes after Marion County grand jury investigators served search warrants on the headquarters of the Indianapolis-based Russell Foundation, which lists Bateman as chief operating officer on its Web site.

The Christian-based nonprofit has declared bankruptcy, and authorities are also investigating missing funds that could total as much as $1.5 million, according to court records.

"I have grave concerns that Councilor Bateman's judgment will be clouded by the situation in which he is involved," John said. "No elected official should be in a position to pass judgment on a peer when it is possible that same elected official will be in a similar situation in the very near future."

Fellow councilor and Democrat Jackie Nytes spoke on Bateman's behalf Thursday.

"I think he should stay on the committee. He hasn't been charged with anything. He's convinced me he hasn't any complicity in the missing money," she told 6News' Jack Rinehart.

Bateman has not publically addressed the investigation into the Russell Foundation, but told Rinehart last week from behind his front door that he had done nothing wrong.