The Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana took a trip down memory lane this week, looking at the alleged corruption of former Calumet Township Trustee Dozier Allen Jr. Allen drew ire for having many family members and friends on the township payroll, and enjoyed suspicious salary add-ons during his tenure. Throughout the Indiana Chamber’s ongoing stance in favor of township reform, our spokesmen have referenced all too many instances of corruption and nepotism in township government in Indiana. This case is a prime example of that. The Post-Tribune remembers:
The Indiana Township Association reported Calumet Township, made up of Gary, Griffith and the Lake Ridge area, has 134,519 people, while neighboring North Township, including Hammond and East Chicago, serves 157,942 people.
North Township Trustee Greg Cvitkovich doesn’t have as many demands for help as the Calumet Township Trustee, but records show Cvitkovich operates with 53 employees and a $4.5 million budget.
Allen spends almost that much in salaries on his way to a total budget around $14 million.
Records show the Calumet Township Trustee’s office, which provides poor relief to the indigent and homeless, has a payroll bulging with Allen’s friends and family members, as well as heavyweight politicians and their family members.
Allen’s sons, daughter-in-law, cousin and wife have been on his payroll in the last two years.
That’s something Allen readily acknowledges and defends.
"Nepotism may be bothersome to some, but I think relatives have a right to survive like anyone else," he said. "If they’re willing to work a day’s work for a day’s pay, then I don’t see any reason they shouldn’t be treated like any other employees."
UPDATE: Dozier T. Allen and two of his top deputies were found guilty of two counts each of fraud Wednesday for pocketing a combined $140,000 in state grant money during the final years of Allen’s 32-year tenure as Calumet Township Trustee.