The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

April 22, 2013

Prosecutor, mayor work to make deal on former Alexandria bar

Some of demolition money to come from Neal settlement

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — A former bar and now condemned building continues to pose a hazard to surrounding buildings and the downtown area.

But Mayor Jack Woods and Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings are working out a deal that would offer the former site of Happy Times Bar to the city along with about $18,000 to help with the demolition. Cummings said the money comes from a fund set aside from the John Neal case, which shut down Happy Times and 10 other establishments for good in 2009.

Woods said the total cost for the demolition is estimated at $43,500. During a winter windstorm, several sheets of roofing from the building were blown onto Harrison Street, where the building rests. The building is currently owned by Madison County.

“Everybody’s agreed it needs to be torn down. It’s a danger to the city and it’s important to clean up our downtown,” Woods said. “Rodney has been gracious in assisting us in the matter.”

Woods also said the adjacent building likely needs to be torn down to make room for a permanent stage that will host summer concerts. There still needs to be an asbestos inspection before the demolition, and Woods is also expecting funds from the county food and beverage tax to help with the cost. The Madison County Council will meet in May to decide how the tax funds will be apportioned across the county. Woods said he’s not sure the council will approve the amount needed, but he’s hopeful.

The case against Neal started in 2006. Neal was accused of running a multimillion-dollar criminal gambling enterprise out of Happy Times and more than 20 other bars in the area. During his first stint as prosecutor, Cummings brought the charges against Neal, which included 71 counts of money laundering, gambling and illegal promoting.

The case wrapped up in a 2009 settlement agreement requiring Neal to plead guilty to promoting gambling, serve a six-month prison sentence, forfeit about $2 million and roughly half of his businesses.

Cummings said Neal’s presence to the county was detrimental, and he’s glad the businesses no longer plague the area, but he said he still had some misgivings about how he executed the case.

“I can say that it was my least popular decision as prosecutor,” Cummings said.

Cummings was also a police officer over much of the investigation of Neal before taking office as prosecutor. He said his approach in the case led to some unintended consequences, like loss of jobs and popular establishments in many of the affected communities. He said it’s one of the things he regrets as prosecutor.

“As an officer, your job is to look for the bad guys. And sometimes you fail to look at the big picture when you do that. I regret a few things, but I don’t regret that John Neal is out of business,” Cummings said.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Accident.jpg Coroner: Woman dies in Indiana 9 accident

    A woman was killed and two other people were injured in a single-car accident Wednesday after the driver lost control and rolled into a telephone pole on Indiana 9 near Victory Gardens around 6 p.m.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0723 - 4-H fair - 018 Beef, dairy entries handle the heat

    For some 4-H'ers in the beef and dairy shows at the Madison County 4-H Fair, one cow can be a handful. Then there's Jeron Mason who was just one cow short of a literal handful.

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Travel restrictions on Interstate 69 this weekend During at least the next eight weekends, travel north of Anderson on Interstate 69 will be restricted as damaged concrete is repaired.

    July 22, 2014

  • Vaughan, Nancy Madison County grad rates and test scores improve, but still lag state High school graduation rates and standardized test scores in English, math and science all improved among public school students in Madison County from 2009 to 2013, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWS - HB0724 - 4-H Fair morning 2 Work starts at sunrise at 4-H Fair With the skies filled with lightning and the threat of rain on the horizon the Madison County 4-H Fairgrounds was mostly vacant at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0724 - Messersmith, Justin Man arrested at fair after witnesses say he battered his son A father was arrested at the Madison County 4-H Fair Tuesday night after witnesses said he went too far in disciplining his 4-year-old son.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0715 - Chuck Pagano Pagano breakfast sold out A breakfast with Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is sold out, organizers said Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ernie's Heart Pet Food Pantry collecting items The community is invited turn its "stuff" into pet food. Ernie's Heart Pet Food Pantry will be collecting "stuff" from downsizing, decluttering and redecorating on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

    July 23, 2014

  • SPT - HB0725 - Colts arrive - JC - 307a.jpg Wayne arrives in IndyCar for Colts Camp

    Ed Carpenter woke up to rain Wednesday morning and briefly worried his big opportunity might be lost. But the two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter's fear proved to be unfounded. He delivered Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne safely to Anderson University at the wheel of a two-seat IndyCar.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arrest Log: July 23

    Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 23, 2014

July Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook