Letter to Editor: Perry Township Trustee Rick Riney Blasts “Machine”


Rick Riney

Perry Township Trustee Rick Riney Supports Rick Davis

I know from personal experience that it is very difficult to hold an elected office as a Vanderburgh County democrat when you are not part of the Central Committee inner circle. I was elected to the Perry Township Trustee’s Office last fall and was sworn in January 1st of this year. I was not invited to the recent meeting that was called to decide the future of Connie Robinson’s position in the party. This is not the first meeting or event I have not been invited to. Maybe this is because, had I been invited I would have voted to relieve Mrs. Robinson of her responsibilities as the Vice Chairperson of the Local Democrat Central Committee immediately. Dissention is not something this group of people deal with well.

In my opinion Connie Robinson has been an embarrassment to all democrats, especially her constituents who have worked hard to support her by giving their time, money and long time loyalty. Previous leaders of our party dedicated themselves to building a strong Central Committee that could keep the party united and support its candidates. Mrs. Robinson’s violation of State Democratic Committee rules has brought shame and embarrassment to our local party. It is really sad to me that she and many more of our current party “leaders” have recently turned their backs on their mayoral candidate. They have also turned their back on the democrat base of Evansville. Rick Davis is who the base wants and they made that very clear in the primary when they voted him in by a very large margin.

There are many questions needing to be answered about Connie Robinson and her motivations. Allow me to propose just a few of them for you to ponder: Does she indeed have a contract for supplies with Casino Aztar? If so, how long has she had this contract? Has anyone else ever bid against her for the contract? Or even been allowed to? Is it possible that her 16 year tenure on the City Council has somehow allowed her to maintain the contract? Is it a coincidence that Casino Aztar opened its doors 16 years ago?

More recently Connie Robinson has placed bids for contracts with the Evansville School Corporation and VenuWorks, the management company for the new Ford Center. Her connections and her public support of the people that award these contracts undoubtedly provide her an enormous advantage. It would not be surprising if these contracts have already been promised to her. She has already announced that this will be her last term. My guess is that she will not have time due to the rising demand of her business.

Mrs. Robinson has had 16 years to file her Uniform Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement but just did so on October 5th of this year. Why now? Maybe the possibility of a change in power has instilled a little fear. I haven’t the time to go into her involvement with the Brownfield Corp, which I also find to be very suspicious. My message to you is that that I feel her endorsement of Mr. Winnecke is based on what is best for her personal future, not what is best for the future of the residents of Evansville.

Another sign that party lines have been crossed in the interest of self-preservation is Mr. Winnecke’s cooperation with Mayor Weinzapfel while serving together on the GAGE Board of Directors. They were both members of the Executive Committee in 2009 when they reported that the Freedom Festival that year lost $290,000. However, just last week Rick Davis received a copy of the 2009 financial audit from current GAGE Director Debbie Dewey. The audit suggests an actual loss of over $600,000 for that event. If this is accurate it means a difference of over $400,000 of taxpayer money lost and not reported. My question is how did something this important stay secret for so long (2 years)? Why has none of the local media ever reported this discrepancy? Were they made aware of it and somehow persuaded to keep quiet or was it just that well hidden? If Winnecke and Weinzapfel claim to be such transparent civic leaders why has no one ever seen this oversight? I feel this deception of the taxpayers was intentional and could only be done by these very powerful people in powerful positions. The apparent influence over the civil servants of Evansville and the media outlets we rely on for factual reporting needs to come to an end. Lloyd Winnecke has been involved in a major political cover-up, the Homestead Credit scandal. He must not be allowed to have the opportunity to continue these practices through the most powerful office in the city.

The “Machine” has had it out for Rick Davis since his first attempt at public office. When he announced his candidacy for Treasurer in 2009, the Central Committee democrats ran a man with Republican credentials against him in their own primary! Rick was victorious by a large margin. Under the same circumstances he was victorious in this year’s mayoral primary, and again by a very large margin. It seems clear what the public wants and it is not the same thing the power brokers want. I am reminded of my most recent victory against David Mosby. We started the process of dismantling the “Machine”. Now let’s help Rick Davis finish it.

Vanderburgh Democrat Party County Chairman Mark Owens, Vanderburgh County Democrat Party Vice-Chairperson Connie Robinson and the self-proclaimed “elder statesman” of the Democrat party Curt John are all backing Lloyd Winnecke, the Republican candidate. These three top leaders of the party are nearing the end of their political careers. They have nothing to gain politically with a Davis win but it would seem that they have much to gain both personally and financially with a Winnecke win.

Connie Robinson and Curt John have both publicly endorsed Lloyd Winnecke. Mark Owens has been quick to demonstrate that he agrees with their accusations that Rick Davis is too inexperienced and inept to lead Evansville into the future. Yet these same three people fought tooth and nail to give the taxpayers Ms. Linda Durham. If this is a sign of how they judge a person’s character, are you sure that their choice for mayor is the best choice for you?

If this political cycle is allowed to continue, our local government will resemble the political climate of Chicago by the end of the next term. Rick Davis is the man to pull our beloved Evansville out of this vicious tailspin. Please get out and vote this coming Tuesday. Vote for transparency and accountability in the Civic Center. Please vote for Rick Davis!

Thank you,

Rick Riney
Perry Township Trustee


  1. Great article, Mr. Riney. Personally, Im excited about the possibilities awaiting Evansville in the wake of this major shake-up in the Democrat Party. Rick Davis is a central figure for this bright vision. Is Rick Davis perfect? I doubt it. But, his energy, his experience, and his ability to listen to the people will make him a strong mayor and a positive influence on our community. The answer in this election is clear:


    • Picking Rick might be a good idea if he only had more maturity and if he only had meaningful ways to get Evansville rolling again – AND – might be a good idea when he gets out of bed with the unions and sets a clear and fair playing field for all workers in Evansville.

  2. Mr. Riney, this is whats a coming to the disloyal local Democratic party leaders. Thank you for your service and honest voice:


    State Democratic Central Committee removes Henry County Chair
    Unanimous vote comes after investigation, finding of party disloyalty

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party State Central Committee met today and unanimously voted to remove Henry County Chair Steve Clark from his position as a result of failed leadership that included multiple violations of party rules.

    Clark was barred from holding any party office sanctioned by the Indiana Democratic Party for a term of five years. The Henry County Vice Chair will assume the Chair’s responsibilities until the party reorganization meeting on March 7.

    Clark was removed from office following a formal investigation into allegations that he allowed Democratic party officials to openly support the Republican mayoral candidate in New Castle in 2007, leading to the election of the first Republican mayor there in 56 years.

    A Jan. 19 report summarizing the investigation found that “[t]he Hearing Officer came away from the hearing with the clear but sad conviction that the Henry County Party is in disarray. Individuals on both sides of the controversy are good and sincere people, but the hostility between factions in the County Party is extensive and alarming.”

    Party rules allow for the removal of a party officer for neglect of duty; willful violation of the party rules; conviction of a felony; disloyalty to the party; or any other course of conduct that does not promote the best interests of the party or creates dissension within the party.

    “This is never a step we like to take, but the rules are in place to make sure the party can achieve its goal of electing Democrats,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker. “When a party officer permits other party officials to work for a Republican candidate, we can’t turn a blind eye.”

  3. Mr. Riney – Very well said! PICK RICK DAVIS FOR MAYOR ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH!!!

  4. If there are so many disillusioned Democrats in Vanderburgh County why do they continue to be Democrats? Is it because they are too dumb to vote Republican? An old proverb cautions that if you sleep with dogs you will wake up with fleas. Avoid flea infestation, vote Republican!

    • Why are we loyal to OUR party? Because WE are true, strong,proud democrats.
      Owens and his crew are not true, they are not strong, and they are not democrats.They are shady, sneaky, self serving, and power hungry. We WANT to keep our party and what it stands for. We HAVE to get rid of them to do it.
      And if you for one second believe the republican candidate for mayor is free and clear of the machine politics, I suggest you read the letter to the editor from Mr. Riney. It’s pretty informative. Just scroll UP from here and see the light.

    • We’ll clean up our own party thank you very much, in the meantime why don’t you look in the mirror yourself.

  5. Mr. Riney,

    Great article!

    In addition to the above referenced contracts that may be a conflict of interest, several years ago Ms. Robinson had a contract with the Evansville Housing Authority that HUD declared was a conflict of interest and had to be terminated.

  6. Mr. Riney

    Good Article!!

    In addition to the above referenced contracts, several years ago Ms. Robinson had a contract with the Evansville Housing Authority. HUD declared this arrangement as a conflict of interest due to her position as an office holder with the City of Evansville.

    HUD required the Evansville Housing Authority to terminate the contract with Ms. Robinson because it was a conflict of interest.

  7. Here is what I’m having a hard time understanding:

    Why is there not a SINGLE mainstream media organization in Evansville that will even ask these questions?

    When the C&P reports on cross-party endorsements, all we get is recycled pabulum about “good government,” and “leadership skills.” Any reporter worth his or her salt should have have these facts and ask a few follow up questions. Why does that ever happen in Evansville?

    Freedom Festival?
    Homestead tax theft?
    Multiple conflicts of interest?

    The C&P can blather all they want about the need to attract new jobs, but NO EMPLOYER in his or her right mind would ever consider headquartering in a Boss Hogg operation like Evansville. Transparency is THE issue. Until Evansville is run ethically and transparently, none of the other issues matter. The city will continue to get poorer, smaller, and more corrupt.

    • Easy answer as to why C&P doesn’t cover these items – because Mizell is stuck on CONSOLIDATION and Winnecke is his guy. Read any article related to the mayor’s race and even a blind person could see it.

      • REALDEM:

        I think you’re right, and that only reveals how callow and trite the C&P’s analysis of Evansville’s economic situation really is.

        I am also in favor of consolidation, but it is not a cure-all. In fact, if it is done incorrectly, it will only perpetuate the area’s problems.

        Realistically, no major employer is going to come to Evansville unless and until the city’s well-earned reputation for Boss Hogg-style political corruption is ended. Right now, the perception of Evansville outside of the tri-state area is on a level with Gary, Detroit, Flint, and Cleveland.

  8. Mr. Riney: thanks for the article, I am glad that the failure to report a loss of $ 600,000 for the 2009 Freedom Festival (vs. $ 290,000 loss reported) has finally seen the light of day. I believe Winnecke was on the Executive Committee of GAGE while this was going on. The way I perceive this re: Winnecke and his penchant for secrecy when there is “bad news” to be communicated: STRIKE ONE: Homestead Credit; STRIKE TWO: Failure to report a loss of $ 600,000 at GAGE while an officer there; and STRIKE THREE: Recent revelations that The Centre has lost over $ 7 Million since its opening, yet the contract for SMG was given a 5-year renewal in Dec. 2010, with the operating losses not being publicly disclosed (I wonder if the operating loss disclosures of The Centre would have slowed down the JW steam roller for the Arena ??). Finally, I believe Winnecke has earlier in the campaign released a position paper on “TRANSPARENCY”. Might be instructive for someone with a few hours available today to see how the 3 STRIKES above correspond to the candidate’s policy on transparency ( I’m guessing not well).

    • It should be noted that Winnecke and Weinzapfel were both on the Executive Committee when all that GAGE money was lost. Neither one of them ever told the public what the TRUE loses were.
      Another vow of silence comes to light.

  9. I want to personally thank the CCO and the Vanderburgh Democratic Party for brightening my otherwise dull life out here in scenic Eastern Warrick County. I never go a day without a chuckle or two about the bickering, mudslinging, and antics of the current office holders and the other wannabees.
    In my humble opinion it looks to me like the Vanderburgh County Democratic Party needs new leadership. Your current party chairman is allowing your party to splinter, mistakes inaccurate financial disclosures, did not support your candidate for mayor and so forth. The word “implosion” comes to mind. The only problem I see with changing leadership is I will have to find another source of entertainment. Maybe “Keeping up with the Kardashians”? That’s another train wreck.

  10. I would really like to see democrats like Rick Riney take their party back from this current group of thugs. We need a health two party system.


    • We need a healthy two party system, yet they accuse the GOP candidate of being part of the Dem machine. So many with opinions in this year’s election have made massive fools of themselves. The GOP candidate is Republican through and through. The Dem party is split, but is their candidates fault. It’s a lot easier to break something than fix it. Davis has proven that he is a breaker and not a fixer.

      • I believe before a dentist starts filling a cavity he has to remove the decay (pretty word for rot) first.

      • The thing you failed to mention is that we have what is refereed to as “machine politics” the machine is fueled by both democrats and republicans and for most of the machines history the democrats have been steering/driving the machine.

        You do not have to be of a specific party to fuel or ride on the machine…the machine really doesn’t care about parties they are a diversion for the public, all you need to do to be a member is feed the machine…which has a veracious appetite for power/money.


      • “The GOP candidate is Republican through and through.” (SW_Hoosier)

        * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        And I’m a Jedi Knight.


  11. thank you Rick .
    this is a great letter it like hitting the nail on the head.
    it time someone talk for the DEMOCRATS, because the ones over the DEMOCRATS party are fence riders they arenot true and blue to the party.
    if everybody gets out to vote pleas please VOTE FOR RICK DAVIS.
    weneed new enegy in office so we can focus on going forward not backwards. let the new guy , Rick Davis ! let Rick Davis show evreyone how its to be done . Sue Grayson

  12. Concerning those contracts MS Robinson has supplying businesses that in turn fill government contracts, the school corporation or the Centre, or have contractual relationships with city government, such as AZTAR, one has to wonder, aside from the ethical dilemma presented, just what sort of premium is paid by the taxpayers for doing business with a woman owned or minority owned business?

    In other words: Whit is the difference in the prices charged by the minority owned business compared to the lowest non minority bidder for the contract? Are we paying a premium to fulfill this government mandated minority business program?


    • I may be wrong but I believe a 10% differential is allowed to minority owned small businesses

      • That is just great. She can be 10% higher than the lowest non minority bid and still get the contract. Sweeeeeeeeet.


        • The key to this is knowing, uh sorry, estimate the correct amount to make you money and beating the lowest bid? Am I correct? As long as she is either the lowest or 2nd lowest bid, she gets the contract?

          • Also, how does this work if more than one minority company were to submit a bid?

  13. Rick that was well written and spot on. I am proud to call myself your friend. You took on the machine with a good and clear message. Vote for me and you will get honesty, integrity and a hard working civil servant. Since you have won I see your vehicle at the Trustee’s office almost daily. What most people may not know is that the Perry Township Trustee’s office is a part time job but you put in full time hours. The public is getting more than their money’s worth for once. I too followed your lead and dismantled another portion of The Machine by defeating Watts in the Democrat primary. This was followed by 3 lawsuits by Watt’s father in law David Mosby the career politician that you defeated in last year’s primary and his lackey Randy Whitehouse. After thousands of dollars in legal fees their frivolous lawsuit was defeated. Rick Davis is the only candidate in this Mayoral election who is running for the right reasons and is a true change of politics. Now it is up to the voters if they want more of the same (Winnecke) or a true Mayor for the people (Rick Davis).

    • YES!!!!!!!!!

      I can’t wait until you win on Tuesday night, Al.

      So glad to be on your team!

  14. The very first democrat to speak out against Rick was Weaver right after the primary race announced Davis as the winning democratic mayoral candidate. Weaver cost the county $25,000 awarded this week to one of two employees he fired after he lost the last election, acting out immaturely because he “felt” those two weren’t backing him? Is he not doing the same? Fire him from the politics world all the way around.
    Owens has never been able to keep the party ties together. If he doesn’t see personal gain from a candidate, he will not support that candidate.
    Curt John at least has the descency to be a rat up-close and personal. He squeaks out last minute he supports Robinsons decision to back Winnecke and announces he is out of the political running. How impressive, speak up and run away.
    Not only did ALL of the mentioned fight tooth and nail for Linda Durham and cost us a fortune there, they never once apologized. Now they are going to fight against the candidate that will be the overall party leader and they expect us to believe they can all play nice once he is elected? I think not. I am not sure what Davis can do about having them removed from office, I do think that is something we all need to look at.

    • The State Democratic party should take care of that problem for Rick Davis if he wins office. It would be the right thing to do on their part. Start with a clean slate. Remove the cancer and allow the wound to heal.


      • they have already said they will deal with Ms. Robinson After the election, which may be closing the gate after the horse has escaped

        • The only way to really deal with Ms. Robinson is to open a full scale investigation of her financial dealings with the Casino and the City.

          Hit her in the pocketbook.

          • Maybe we should ask the Mayoral candidates if they would be in favor of an investigation, that would tell everyone a lot!!!

          • I’d settle for her resigning as vice chairman of the party, along with the resignations of Chris Cook and the other party officials who endorsed republicans. Time will take care of the rest

        • One wonders how many times, if any, in the past 16 years City Councilwoman Connie Robinson has abstained from voting on matters before the council because she had a business relationship with the party involved?

          That would be a good place to start looking, especially votes concerning CASINO AZTAR.


      • PressAK, Mr. Long sent the message to the disloyal rouge leadership that the State Party will intervene. Maybe Mr. Riney or another true Democratic team player will accept a local party office and help rebuild a Central Committee the Democratic voters can finally be trust to represent the voters, and not just advance the office holders self-interests and vendettas:

        November 5, 2011

        City-County Observer
        Evansville, Indiana

        RE: Rick Davis for Mayor

        Dear Sirs:

        In May, democracy worked in Evansville. Evansville Democrats selected Rick Davis as our party’s candidate for mayor, Alberta Matlock as our party’s candidate for city clerk, and Dan Adams, Conor O’Daniel, Jonathan Weaver, Missy Mosby, Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley, Connie Robinson, John Friend and Al Lindsey as our party’s candidates for city council. I trust our public election process. I trust and believe that Evansville Democrats selected the very best representatives of our party to go forward and serve the citizens of Evansville. Also, all of Southwestern Indiana depends upon and enjoys all that Evansville has to offer. These fine citizens have offered themselves up for one of America’s highest callings–public service. I am proud to support the Democrat Team for Evansville’s future.

        Let me state, before your bloggers can declare, I do not live in Evansville. I am from Warrick County. I do however, represent the Democratic Party as the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party Chair. Evansville is a valued part of the 8th District.

        Rick Davis and the entire Democratic Party’s slate of candidates for next Tuesday’s election are proven, capable and experienced candidates. I encourage citizens of Evansville and particularly all Evansville Democrats to go to the polls and vote for Rick Davis for mayor, Alberta Matlock for city clerk, and Dan Adams, Conor O’Daniel, Jonathan Weaver, Missy Mosby, Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley, Connie Robinson, John Friend and Al Lindsey for city council.


        Anthony Long
        Chair, 8th District
        Democratic Party

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