Hopefully the new Northern Indiana US Attorney will finally tackle the problem of corrupt Porter County's officials.
Former US Attorney David Capp - during his numerous years with the federal prosecutor's office - led major efforts to stop public corruption: Operation Lights Out and Operation Restore Public Integrity. However, Capp focused his attention on Lake County, and ignored the corruption in Porter County.
While dozens of Lake County officials were indicted and prosecuted under Capp, only ONE Porter County official was indicted: Portage Mayor James Snyder . Snyder just so happens to be a foe of former FBI and Portage Police Chief Mark Becker - AND, Becker apparently is in tight with former US Attorney David Capp, who authorized the ONE Porter County corruption indictment, which just so happened to be against Becker's foe: Snyder ... Just saying, eh.
US Attorney David Capp served with integrity and skill. A high bar has been set
March 17, 2017
U.S Attorney David Capp's resignation last week came as no surprise, given President Donald Trump's upset victory in November. That's the political nature of the landscape when parties change in White House administrations.
Capp, a career prosecutor who intended to retire in June, leaves behind an impressive legacy of bipartisan service underlined by a fervent commitment to justice.
A 1968 Gary Lew Wallace graduate, Capp served as the region's top crime fighter since 2007, when his predecessor, Joseph Van Bokkelen, became a federal judge. Capp was sacked last week with 45 other U.S. attorneys by order of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Capp was serving as top deputy under Van Bokkelen when former president George W. Bush tapped him as interim U.S. attorney after Van Bokkelen's resignation. Former president Barack Obama took Capp's interim tag off in 2009 when he named him U.S. attorney for Indiana's Northern District, based in Hammond.
Before his appointment, Capp toiled 23 years under Republican and Democratic administrations showing no aversion to prosecuting corrupt Democratic politicians.
Capp led efforts such as Operation Lights Out and Operation Restore Public Integrity to root out crooked politicians who usually wound up as guests in federal prisons.
In recent years, Capp's office joined with local police, and agencies across the Illinois state line, to go after violent street gangs such as the Imperial Gangsters and Latin Kings, who operated primarily in Northwest Indiana.
Capp remained visible in the region, speaking to local groups about the work his office was doing to fight crime. Last year, he said the 56 members of the Latin Kings and Imperial Gangsters arrested by his office were responsible for 36 homicides.
Late last year, Capp announced stunning indictments against Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and Portage Mayor James Snyder on unrelated corruption charges tied to towing schemes. Those cases will now move forward after Capp departs.
Last year, former Lake Station mayor Keith Soderquist went to prison for improperly taking money from his campaign fund and the city's food pantry account to gamble at casinos.
Capp has also successfully prosecuted a host of Lake County Democratic elected officials including former East Chicago Mayor George Pabey, former Lake County surveyor George Van Til, former Lake County clerk Tom Philpot and former Gary city council members Ronier Scott and the late Marilyn Krusas.
Capp's departure comes sadly as the country is politically polarized and torn. Gary native Clifford Johnson, a federal prosecutor in South Bend, has been named interim U.S. attorney until Trump makes a permanent choice.
It's unclear who Trump might name to succeed Capp, but since the Jimmy Carter administration, the U.S. attorney appointee has come from Lake or Porter counties. U.S. Sen. Todd Young is leading the search.
Capp's successor has an illustrious blueprint to follow. The bar is set high. We hope the next U.S. attorney should be up to the challenge.
EDITORIAL: Successor should follow Capp's NWI justice model
March 15, 2017
Politics may be affecting change at the helm of the Hammond-based U.S. attorney's office, but it shouldn't end a strong justice model maintained by the outgoing leader.
U.S. Attorney David Capp, a prosecutor in the office for 31 years and the office's leader for the past eight, announced his resignation last week.
He did so at the behest of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the expected changing of the justice guard under new President Donald Trump.
It's normal for a new administration to appoint its own people to the ranks of U.S. Attorney and other government offices.
In reality, Capp had planned on stepping down later this year anyhow.
We also appreciate Trump's pledge to beef up the ranks of law enforcement and believe our local U.S. Attorney's office should receive all possible resources to continue a noble fight spearheaded by leaders including Capp.
Capp leaves a stalwart, no-nonsense model of hunting down and vanquishing both Northwest Indiana political corruption and violent street gangs that should be followed by his successor.
In his three decades either prosecuting criminals or leading the Hammond-based U.S. attorney's office, Capp has been party to dozens of cases involving public corruption.
The office has secured more than 60 convictions of government leaders or their politically connected contractors, largely for crimes against taxpayers, since the 1980s.
In recent years, under Capp's direct leadership, those convictions have included East Chicago political powerbroker Robert Cantrell, former Lake County clerk and coroner Thomas Philpot, former Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, former East Chicago Mayor George Pabey and former Lake County Surveyor George Van Til.
Still other officials, including Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, Portage Mayor James Snyder and former Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin face future felony trials in alleged and unrelated public corruption schemes.
These cases were all crafted under Capp's eye for justice.
Like leading federal prosecutors before him, Capp was very familiar with the pattern of corruption and self enrichment that has plagued our Region's political process for decades.
He also has presided over the prosecutions — nearly all of which have led to convictions — of dozens of street gang members in various sweeping indictments.
Convictions in that category have included the imprisonment of Region gang kingpins and rank-and-file members for murder, racketeering, drug-dealing and conspiracy charges, making our cities and towns safer.
Capp leaves behind a commendable legacy of aggressively targeting some of our Region's most glaring shortcomings.
We thank Capp for his years of dedicated and highly effective service.
Whoever the Trump administration selects to replace Capp would do well to follow the tenets of his success.
US attorney for northern Indiana resigns after Trump request
MARCH 12, 2017
FOX 59 - Indianapolis
HAMMOND, Ind. — The federal prosecutor for northern Indiana has resigned after President Donald Trump sought the dismissals of dozens of U.S. attorneys nationwide who were holdovers from the Obama administration.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Hammond says David Capp resigned after 31 years as a federal prosecutor. Capp says he had planned to retire in June.
President Barack Obama nominated Capp in 2009 as the U.S. attorney for the northern third of Indiana after Capp had been the office’s interim leader since 2007. The office pursuing several public corruption cases during Capp’s tenure.
Trump’s Friday request for resignations didn’t include Indianapolis U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. He’s a career prosecutor appointed by the district’s federal judges after Obama appointee Joe Hogsett resigned in 2014 to start his successful campaign for Indianapolis mayor.
U.S. Attorney David Capp resigns
March 12, 2017
U.S. Attorney David Capp resigned Saturday from his position as northern Indiana's top prosecutor.
Capp, who has worked in the U.S. Attorney's office for more than 30 years, submitted his resignation per the request of President Donald Trump's administration, even though he planned to retire in June, according to a press release. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday sought resignations for the U.S. attorneys appointed under former President Barack Obama, the Associated Press reported.
"It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve all these years. The work we do in the United States Attorney's office has such an important positive impact on the citizens of northern Indiana," Capp said, in a statement.
President Barack Obama appointed Capp as U.S. attorney in 2009, though he had served as the office's interim chief since 2007 when former President George W. Bush tapped Van Bokkelen as a federal judge.
Capp, during his tenure with the federal prosecutor's office, took a hard stance again public corruption in the area. Serving under former U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen, now a federal judge, Capp led major efforts to stop corruption, including Operation Lights Out and Operation Restore Public Integrity.
Under Capp, federal prosecutors recently leveled charges against Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and Portage Mayor James Snyder. Last year, his office successfully prosecuted former Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist and Soderquist's wife, Deborah.
As Capp, who joined the U.S. Attorney's office in 1885, announced charges against Buncich and Snyder in November, he issued a stern warning to other officials engaged in corrupt practices:
"You know who you are and we know, currently, who some of you are," Capp said. "And we are coming after you."
"And if any of you want to try to help yourself, time is running short," Capp said.
Aside from his crusade against public corruption, Capp also focused on fighting gang- and drug-related crime in Northwest Indiana.
"Some years ago I spoke one evening at a church in Gary.We had just made some arrests and closed down a drug operation in the neighborhood the church served," Capp said, in a statement. "Afterwards a gentleman came up to me, shook my hand, thanked me for our efforts and told me 'now my grandchildren can play in the yard again.'"
"That has always stuck with me and kept me focused on what our work is really about," Capp added."I hope that I have played a part in making more yards in the Northern District of Indiana safe for 'grandchildren to play in."
Capp is a 1968 graduate of Lew Wallace High School in Gary and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, according to his official biography. He received his law degree from Valparaiso University and was in private practice law for eight years, according to his official biography.
UPDATE: U.S. Attorney Capp resigns at Trump administration's request
March 11, 2017
HAMMOND — U.S. Attorney David Capp — one of several holdover appointees from President Barack Obama’s time in office — has submitted his resignation after being asked to do so by Donald Trump’s administration, his Northwest Indiana District office confirmed Saturday.
The announcement of Capp’s resignation comes in light of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday abruptly requesting 46 chief federal prosecutors — all appointed previously by Obama — to resign, according to the Associated Press.
Many of the federal prosecutors who were nominated by Obama have already left their positions, but the nearly four dozen who stayed on in the first weeks of the Trump administration have been asked to leave "in order to ensure a uniform transition," Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told the Associated Press on Friday.
Capp, who was appointed to head the Northwest District office in 2010 by then-President Obama, said he had advised his staff last summer that he planned to retire this year, according to a news release.
"I had been looking toward a June retirement, so this is just a few months earlier," he said in a news release.
Capp, who joined the office in 1985, has a long history of cracking down on violent criminals and rooting out crooked politicians ensnared in public corruption in Northwest Indiana.
Of late, Capp’s office had been overseeing the public corruption cases against Lake County Sheriff John Bunich and Tim Downs, the sheriff's second in command, and a Lake Station towing firm owner regarding allegations Buncich solicited bribes and campaign contributions.
The U.S. attorney also charged Portage Mayor James E. Snyder last year with soliciting and receiving $12,000 in bribes in exchange for a towing contract with the city of Portage.
Asked what will become of those investigations with Capp’s resignation, Ryan Holmes, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said Saturday will be things will be “business as usual.”
"They were all indicted. (The cases) are all going to move forward,” Holmes told The Times.
'An incredible record'
Former FBI agent and retired East Chicago police chief, Mark Becker, said Saturday that Capp was the 1st Assistant U.S. Attorney when Becker arrived in Northwest Indiana in the late 1980s.
Prior to his appointment as U.S. attorney, Capp served as interim U.S. attorney on multiple occasions, Becker said.
“And that’s an incredible record. He survived Democrat and Republican regimes so it shows they had tremendous respect for his ability to lead the U.S. attorney’s office without allowing influences and outside politics to affect his decisions,” Becker said.
Becker added it’s "a shame someone of his stature is being asked to leave earlier than perhaps he wanted to.”
“I’m not a politically driven person, but in view of what David Capp has accomplished, I have to shake my head at what this president was thinking. This was a decision with little thought,” Becker said. “This was a mistake.”
While it is customary for a new president to replace virtually all of the 93 U.S. attorneys, it often occurs at a slower pace, according to the Associated Press. Jeff Sessions, for example, lost his position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in a similar sweep by then-Attorney General Janet Reno in 1993.
As supervisor years ago with the Gary Response Investigative Team, an FBI-led task force aimed at dismantling gangs and gang-related activities, Becker said he could count on Capp to support the team's efforts.
"Dave, he was the No. 2 man in the office at that time. He could have delegated, but he felt so passionate about our work and our attempts to help reduce Gary's violent crime, he took it personally and became our lead contact for prosecution in the U.S. Attorney's office," Becker said. "We could call him at 2, 3 in the morning, and he would get in his pickup truck and help us write warrants. That speaks volumes about the type of person he was."
Getting gangs off the streets
Those who worked closely with Capp through his 31-year career on Saturday noted a number of capstones — and credited his office for bringing the Region’s street gang members and robbery suspects to justice.
Last year, Capp announced his office had taken 56 members of the Latin Kings and Imperials Gangsters off the streets in the past four years alone.
"And those 56 were responsible — and this is just the ones we can prove — for 36 murders,” Capp said last year during a community forum of the wave of federal indictments on gang members.
Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Saturday that Capp “almost singlehandedly dismantled the Latin Kings.”
“They are nowhere near the threat that they were before those investigations,” Carter said.
In 2015, Capp's office teamed up with local authorities to investigate gang-related homicides. A number of recent federal indictments have targeted members of the Latin Kings operating in Hammond, East Chicago and Gary’s Black Oak section.
Carter said Capp's resignation is an "extreme loss" to Northwest Indiana's citizens.
"He was compassionate but yet very dedicated to the responsibilities of the job," Carter said.
Capp in a news release Saturday recalled speaking at a Gary church some years ago.
"We had just made some arrests and closed down a drug operation in the neighborhood the church served. Afterwards a gentleman came up to me, shook my hand, thanked me for our efforts and told me 'now my grandchildren can play in the yard again,'" he said. "That has always stuck with me and kept me focused on what our work is really about. I hope that I have played a part in making more yards in the Northern District of Indiana safe for 'grandchildren to play in.'"
Statement Regarding US Attorney David Capp
Department Of Justice
United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Indiana
March 11, 2017
HAMMOND- The United States Attorney’s Office announced that David Capp has submitted his resignation as United States Attorney as requested by the President.
After 31 years at the United States Attorney’s office I have submitted my resignation as United States Attorney. I had advised my office last summer that it was my plan to retire in 2017. I had been looking toward a June retirement, so this is just a few months earlier.
It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve all these years. The work we do in the United States Attorney’s Office has such an important positive impact on the citizens of northern Indiana. I want to thank the men and women of the USAO for their dedication and professionalism, day-in and day-out. They are the people that do the hard work!
Some years ago I spoke one evening at a church in Gary. We had just made some arrests and closed down a drug operation in the neighborhood the church served. Afterwards a gentleman came up to me, shook my hand, thanked me for our efforts and told me “now my grandchildren can play in the yard again.” That has always stuck with me and kept me focused on what our work is really about. I hope that I have played a part in making more yards in the Northern District of Indiana safe for “grandchildren to play in.”
Justice Department calls for 46 Obama U.S. attorneys to resign
March 10, 2017
The Trump administration called for the 46 remaining U.S. attorneys appointed by Barack Obama to resign on Friday.
The move does not affect any of Pennsylvania's three federal prosecutors.
Bruce Brandler, of the Middle District that includes Harrisburg, was appointed by Obama-era Attorney General Loretta Lynch but was never appointed by the president. The others, Louis Lappen and Soo Song, filled the eastern and western district posts in an acting capacity following the departure of their predecessors.
On Friday, Brandler told PennLive that he couldn't comment specifically on the call for other U.S. attorneys to resign but that it did happen during the Clinton administration. Eventually, he said, all of them left office.
"I'm not sure in past administrations how quickly or not it's occurred," he said. "My experience is that it's not that unusual."
Brandler, a career prosecutor, said he will hold office until the president appoints someone to replace him.
"How long that takes is anyone's guess," he said.
L. George Parry, a Philadelphia attorney who worked in the Justice Department during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, agreed with Brandler's assessment: "Resignations of US Attorneys when a new administration takes over are standard practice and unremarkable."
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told The New York Times that many of the U.S. attorneys nominated under the Obama administration have already left their posts.
"Attorney General [Jeff Sessions] has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition," Flores said, in a written statement.
Career prosecutors will take over running those offices until new U.S. attorneys are nominated and confirmed, she said.
The call for resignations would apply to Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for New York's southern district who was asked by several ethics watchdogs to investigate whether Donald Trump had received payments or other favors from foreign governments in violation of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause.
According to the Justice Department website, the following 46 U.S. attorneys were presidentially appointed:
Alabama, Middle George L. Beck*
Alabama, Southern Kenyen Ray Brown*
Alaska Karen L. Loeffler*
Arkansas, Eastern Christopher R. Thyer*
California, Central Eileen M. Decker*
Connecticut Deirdre Daly*
Delaware Charles M. Oberly, III*
Florida, Middle Lee Bentley*
Georgia, Southern Edward J. Tarver*
Guam Alicia A.G. Limtiaco*
Northern Mariana Islands Alicia A.G. Limtiaco*
Hawaii Florence T. Nakakuni*
Illinois, Northern Zachary T. Fardon*
Indiana, Northern David A. Capp*
Iowa, Northern Kevin W. Techau*
Louisiana, Eastern Kenneth A. Polite*
Louisiana, Middle Walt Green*
Louisiana, Western Stephanie A. Finley*
Maine Thomas Edward Delahanty, II*
Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein*
Michigan, Eastern Barbara L. McQuade*
Minnesota Andrew M. Luger*
Mississippi, Northern Felicia Adams*
Mississippi, Southern Gregory K. Davis*
Missouri, Eastern Richard G. Callahan*
Missouri, Western Tammy Dickinson*
Montana Michael Cotter*
Nebraska Deborah K.R. Gilg*
Nevada Daniel G. Bogden*
New Hampshire Emily Gray Rice*
New Jersey Paul J. Fishman*
New Mexico Damon P. Martinez*
New York, Eastern Robert L. Capers*
New York, Northern Richard S. Hartunian*
New York, Southern Preet Bharara*
Ohio, Northern Carole S. Rendon*
Oklahoma, Eastern Mark F. Green*
Oklahoma, Northern Danny Williams*
Rhode Island Peter F. Neronha*
Tennessee, Middle David Rivera*
Texas, Southern Kenneth Magidson*
Utah John W. Huber*
Virgin Islands Ronald W. Sharpe*
Virginia, Eastern Dana Boente*
Washington, Eastern Michael Ormsby*
Wisconsin, Western John William Vaudreuil*
Wyoming Christopher A. Crofts*
U.S. Attorneys Listing
United States Department Of Justice
Offices Of The United States Attorneys
March 06, 2017
Below is a listing of current United States Attorneys for all 94 districts. Presidentially appointed United States Attorneys are noted with an asterisk (*) after their name and should be addressed as “The Honorable.” All others should be addressed as “Mr.” or “Ms.” Acting United States Attorneys are designated by a caret sign (^).