An Indianapolis city-county councilor is backing up Carmel Clerk-Treasurer Christine Pauley’s allegations that Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard continually harassed her in 2016.
Christine Scales, who represents Indianapolis’ third district, said that Brainard’s actions toward Pauley at the Republican National Convention in July 2016 in Cleveland “could not go unnoticed.”
“Whether at breakfast or during a cocktail hour in the lobby, Mayor Brainard sat as close to her as possible without actually occupying her seat,” Scales said. “It was obvious the mayor was desperately trying to gain her attention while Christine sat stiffly and for the most part didn’t even turn her head toward him while he spoke.”
The convention was two months after Brainard said he and Pauley mutually decided to end the relationship. Pauley claims the two were never dating and that Brainard repeatedly pursued a romantic relationship despite her clearly telling him she wasn’t interested.
Scales, who is not running for re-election and clashed with Carmel officials in 2017 over roundabouts along 96th Street, said she voluntarily contacted Pauley’s attorney, Tim Stoesz, to share her side of the story. Scales spoke to the media at an April 30 press conference at Stoesz’s office in Westfield.
Scales said she decided to come forward so that Carmel residents can make an informed decision when they vote for Carmel’s next mayor. The primary election is May 7 and includes a race between Brainard and Hamilton County Councilor Fred Glynn, whom Pauley has publicly supported.
Laken Sisko, Brainard’s campaign manager, sent Current an email April 30 responding to the new information from Scales.
“The latest allegations from Ms. Pauley and friends continue a long history of unsubstantiated claims that are nothing more than political maneuvering to conceal the fact that that mayor’s opponent (whom she supports) does not have any plan or direction for the future of our city,” Sisko said.
She also released a statement from Susana Suarez, a member of the Zionsville Town Council who also attended the 2016 convention.
“I spent quite some time with Mayor Brainard and Ms. Pauley at the GOP convention in Cleveland and did not see any indication that anyone was uncomfortable,” Suarez sated.
Scales pointed to the City of Carmel’s plan to convert several intersections to roundabouts along 96th Street – a shared border with Indianapolis – as another example of Brainard being a “bully” to get his way. State law requires cities to maintain roads that are on their eastern or southern boundaries, making 96th Street Carmel’s responsibility.
In 2017 the City of Indianapolis filed a lawsuit against Carmel to halt construction of several roundabouts east of Keystone Parkway because the Indianapolis City-County Council had not given its approval. The project is mostly in Scales’ district, and she had expressed concerns about how the project would affect businesses in the area. A judge granted a temporary injunction that halted construction and ordered the two sides to try mediation.
The cities reached a deal in mediation, which was approved by both councils, with Scales still voting against it.
“To continue (roundabout construction without Indianapolis’ approval) was very brazen to me, but it was also an example that this man won’t stop until he gets what he wants,” Scales said.
Scales said she did not know Pauley before the Republican convention but that she got to know her approximately a year later when she was directed to Pauley’s office for documents regarding the roundabouts. She said the two of them met for lunch and shared stories about their experiences with Brainard.
She also said she reached out to Pauley in 2018 when the #MeToo movement was receiving a lot of media attention and said it might be a good time to come forward with her own story. She said Pauley told her she’d consider it but decided it wasn’t the right time.
In an email dated Sept. 19, 2017, around the time the Indianapolis City-County Council approved the roundabout deal reached in mediation, Scales asked Pauley if she could “pick up any more scuttle butt” regarding the issue.
“Of course, there’s the likelihood of another secret deal wherein Indpls is going behind my back and telling Carmel to just wait awhile and seek another (interlocal agreement that) they’ll push down my throat,” Scales stated.
When asked about the email, Scales said she had felt “heated” at the time about how the city-county council handled the situation.