June 8, 2015

City-County Councilors Trying to File Lawsuit Over Electric Vehicle Fleet

Christopher Ayers/WFYI

Christopher Ayers/WFYI

A group of Indianapolis lawmakers is trying to file a lawsuit over the contract to put 400 electric vehicles into the city fleet.

Five Democratic City-County Councilors say in a resolution before the council that Mayor Greg Ballard’s contract with Vision Fleet misleads the council and public. They say the contract was inappropriately changed in secret.

Part of the proposal says:

"[T]he actual signature dates of the Vision executives (June 12 and June 13) were then whited out and backdated to February 18, 2014, and the cover page of the agreement was also backdated to February 18, 2014, in an effort to mislead the council and the public and conceal the existence of the original Lease Agreement ..." 

It continues:

"[D]espite the city’s belated effort to characterize the Vision contract as a “services agreement,” under state law it is a lease-purchase agreement for supplies; and Whereas, even assuming that it is a services agreement, it would still be illegal ..."

Councilors have been critical of the deal and even ordered an audit of the deal. Marion County Auditor Julie Voorhies found the city may have illegally paid Vision Fleet nearly $300,000 out of its stormwater utility fund.

Vision Fleet C-E-O Michael Brylawski writes in a letter to the Indianapolis Star that the courtroom is not the place to settle this disagreement.

"A handful of elected officials have suggested that the only way to resolve these concerns is in court. We respectfully disagree," Brylawski writes. "We’re engineers, not politicians, and we believe every problem is solvable without costly litigation that could result in the disruption of this successful program."

Councilors are expected to consider the resolution at tonight’s meeting.

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