Local News

Political Friction Flaring Up Again

(La Porte County, IN) - Some local public officials are butting heads again, adding to a longstanding and dramatic governmental feud. 


La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz was sued several months ago by County Attorney Shaw Friedman. Friedman is alleging defamation of character against Stabosz, who alleges Friedman oversteps his roles as the county attorney. No decision has been made on the lawsuit which was filed in St. Joseph County.


During the La Porte County Commissioners meeting this week, Shaw Friedman’s judgment as an attorney was questioned by Stabosz over a $1.5 million no-bid contract for repairing the Franklin St. bridge in Michigan City. No-bid contracts are allowed by state guidelines under certain conditions, which Friedman claims fits this situation. 

The attorney asserts that the repairs being an emergency and the bridge having a major economic impact on Michigan City are among the qualifiers for a no-bid contract.

Stabosz asked Friedman if the attorney had ever dealt with the state no-bid contract guidelines before. But, while Friedman was responding, Stabosz kept interrupting him with other statements and questions, adding to the moment's frustration. 

"We do our due diligence. We provide our best advice to the county. We've done that. We've given a basis to move forward," Friedman said. 

Commissioner Joe Haney, a supporter of Stabosz, also questioned Friedman’s legal ruling.

The two other commissioners, Rich Mrozinski and Sheila Matias, along with La Porte County Council President Randy Novak, agreed with Friedman's evaluation.

The contract was awarded to an engineering firm and local company, Marquiss Electric.

Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said Marquiss Electric has been the caretaker of the bridge for many years and has significant experience working on the bridge. Mrozinski believes that hiring another company to perform emergency repairs with no experience with the bridge did not make sense, could be more costly, and lead to a longer downtime for the bridge. 

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