Photographs only go so far in supporting claims that some South Bend city employees allegedly did some work at a private residence.
The private residence in question just so happens to belong to the mayor’s chief of staff.
“At no time did I ask or instruct a city employee to do work on my property,” said Chief of Staff Kathryn Roos in a written statement. “I believe the thorough unbiased investigation by the City’s Legal Department will soon prove this to be the case.”
Some community activists claim that a city crew helped pour a private concrete patio in the backyard of the home in late July.
“I just received a phone call from someone and they said hey, we have a problem, you know. There’s city workers out here pouring a patio in a backyard, uh working on a concrete patio,” said Jesse Davis of People United for Better Government. “And by the time I happened to get there, the work had been completed.”
However, Davis says that the caller did follow up a few days later with photographs. “You can see specifically in the photograph that a section of privacy fence was removed and these gentlemen are inside the property line in her yard.”
Another photo purports to show the truck the alleged city workers rode in on--city truck number 460--which was parked near the home
“It’s an unfair advantage for anyone to utilize city equipment, city workers on their private property for their own private gain,” said Davis.
But none of the photos amount to a smoking gun. There are no pictures of any alleged city employee in the proximity of the patio.
In a case of, ‘they said, she said,’ the community activists claim to be holding a trump card.
“The importance of having the justice department involved is they can offer the appropriate protections to witness, there are witnesses, there are witnesses who will come forth once the justice department decides to take this investigation on,” said Mario Sims with People United for a Better Government.
The community activists have requested that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Indiana State Police get involved
As for the probe by the city’s legal department, that seems to have hit a snag.
On August 20th, the city sent a request that any witnesses be identified so that they could be interviewed as part of the probe.
The community activists are reluctant to do so, saying that the witnesses in question fear retaliation.