SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Recent campaign filings by the President of the South Bend Common Council, Sharon McBride, show several illegally documented campaign contributions in what appears to be a scheme to hide the identities of donors and/or launder money.
The most glaring illegal documented contribution for the District 3 Councilwoman is a $3,700 “miscellaneous transfer” from March 20th, 2023. Campaign fund documents exist so the public knows where money has been donated from. In McBride’s case, it’s not clear where THOUSANDS of dollars came from.
The filing also leaves out the addresses of a dozen contributors. Further, many of the listed donors don’t include a full name. Below are examples of those contributions.
March 6th: Bauer — $250
March 6th: Claeys — $50
March 20th: S. Burai — $100
April 12th: Solomon — $25
April 12th: Branden — $250
The entire CFA-4 document can be viewed below.
SECRET USE OF TAX DOLLARS
The misuse and secrecy of funds seems to be a pattern for McBride, even when using tax dollars. In December of 2022, RNM obtained the secret contract of a woman hired to do the job of the South Bend City Clerk, as well as one of her questionable invoices, charging the City of South Bend more than $11,500 for a month of work. The contract was never seen or approved by the entire Common Council. In fact, it appears Council President McBride and Vice President Sheila Niezgodski were the only two who even knew about it. It also appears none of the other council members were aware of the invoicing either.
“This is a scandal.” Democrat Common Council Member, Henry Davis Jr., said to RNM. “Let’s not push it aside. The council deserves more. The city needs more. The council leadership allowed this to happen. All parties need to apologize and/or resign.”
“I have never seen the contract or any invoices (prior to you providing them).” 5th District Councilman, Eli Wax (R), said in an email. “To my knowledge, the contract was never voted on by the whole Council.”
The contract, which took effect in April of this 2022, is for former Chief Deputy Clerk Bianca Tirado who is currently running for South Bend City Clerk. Sources tell RNM, she has been acting as the defacto City Clerk in her scope of duties. However, South Bend citizens are responsible for electing their City Clerk. The current Clerk is Dawn Jones.
The contract states, “The parties agree that the Consultant will be compensated at a monthly rate not to exceed $6,000 a month. It is understood that if performed hourly, the services to be provided would approximate $60 per hour for hours approved by the Common Council… Upon receipt of the Consultant’s monthly summary of services, the Common Council may request greater detail from the Consultant as it deems appropriate.”
Despite that, Tirado charged the city $11,520 for work done between 11/18/2022 and 12/20/2022. She claimed to work 8 hour days for 24 work days that month. And, most of the council members weren’t able to request greater detail about her work and billing because the invoices were never provided to them, not to mention nobody had seen the contract either.