sues Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi
Steel Dynamics, Inc.’s wholly–owned subsidiary,
OmniSource-Indianapolis LLC, has filed a lawsuit in Marion Superior
Court in Indianapolis against Carl Brizzi, the Prosecutor of
Marion County, seeking to force him to return $277,508 in cash
seized on February 23, 2009 in connection with a police search
of OmniSource’s Indianapolis scrap yards.
The pretext for the search were allegations that OmniSource was
knowingly purchasing stolen scrap metal. To the contrary, OmniSource
has been, and continues to be, the established scrap industry
leader in developing and implementing anti-theft programs and
training for both its employees and for the law enforcement community.
These programs are designed to assist in the identification of
potentially stolen property and, in such instances, to require
its employees to take extra precaution to try to ascertain the
seller’s authority to sell the property and, if the property
turns out to have been stolen, to work with law enforcement to
prosecute the thief.
In fact, when OmniSource entered the Indianapolis market in 2006,
it provided anti-theft training for Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department officers at its own expense and even hired
51 off-duty Indianapolis police officers to provide security
and advice at all of its Indianapolis facilities. And with the
help of OmniSource’s employees, those officers identified and
arrested dozens of suspected metal thieves.
“We regret that we have been forced to initiate this action,”
said Mark Millett, OmniSource’s president, “but, after almost
20 months, it has become clear that this action by the Prosecutor
has never really been about a legitimate concern about metal
theft in Marion County or about a desire for accuracy or justice.
It has become quite apparent that the Prosecutor’s real motivation
was about headlines and a money grab, threatening OmniSource
with forfeiture of all of OmniSource’s Indianapolis facilities.”
To assist him with his plan, the Prosecutor hired a private lawyer,
Greg Garrison, to organize and pursue the investigation against
OmniSource and promised to pay Garrison a percentage of anything
Garrison can extract from OmniSource.
Ben Eisbart, OmniSource’s vice president and corporate compliance
officer, explained that “We engage in hundreds of thousands of
scrap purchases each year with the best trained anti-theft staff
and operating procedures in the industry. How could anyone seriously
suggest that OmniSource intended to purchase stolen scrap metal
when OmniSource annually devotes hundreds of hours and spends
hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to prevent metal
theft and works cooperatively with the police to create an atmosphere
at all OmniSource scrap yards that metal thieves are not only
not welcome but will be prosecuted?”
OmniSource’s lawsuit also contends that Prosecutor Brizzi’s forfeiture
practices are illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to established
standards of conduct for prosecutors, in that he has enlisted
a private lawyer to direct a forfeiture case in which he has
a direct financial interest.