INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) – During a detention hearing at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, the U.S. Government asked that Frank Shahadey to be detained because he is a danger to the community.
First, let’s go back to what happened on Wednesday.
We first got a tip into our newsroom from a viewer around 6:30 a.m. that the FBI was on scene of 1948 Cobblestone Way South in Cobblestone Crossings. This is where our photojournalist witnessed federal agents placing Shahadey into handcuffs, before taking him away in a black SUV.
Vigo County Sheriff Ewing confirmed Shahadey, a 37-year-veteran with VCSO, was arrested as well as Vigo County School Corporation Transportation Director Frank Fennell. “Shahadey has been placed on administrative leave with pay effective immediately pending a merit board meeting,” Ewing stated. That merit board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 5 p.m.
“Our director of human resources has terminated the employment of Franklin V. Fennell and Frank Shahadey,” said School Board President Paul Lockhart.
Both Fennell and Shahadey face federal charges stemming from a kickback scheme between themselves and a vendor.
DOCUMENT | FULL COURT DOCUMENT (warning; foul language)
News 10’s Jon Swaner reviewed the complaint filed in the case against them on Wednesday. It details the allegations made. Fennell handled facilities for the school corporation. His role would be to order work for the tree trimming business.
The vendor would send an inflated invoice that Fennell made sure was paid. Then, the owner would give the difference back to Shahadey and Fennell to split.
Federal agents believe Shahadey threatened the life of a school corporation employee. That prompted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ask the judge to have Shahadey incarcerated indefinitely on Wednesday. The judge granted that request. However, the defense requested a detention hearing.
That hearing brought Shahadey back to federal court Friday at 12:30 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to determine if Shahadey should be held in custody until his trial or should he be released. During this hearing, the US Attorney’s office said the most troubling evidence was that Shahadey verbally threatened to kill a Vigo County School Corporation employee.
That employee filed a complaint against Shahadey on 9/30/16. The employee said Shahadey cornered him in a bathroom, verbally threatening him and pointing to his service weapon.
FBI agents also interviewed a Vigo County Central Dispatcher who stated Shahadey had her run the criminal history and identifiers on that VCSC employee. In open court, the deputy US attorney told the judge the dispatcher asked why Shahadey needed this. He responded, “it’s none of your business.” She asked again, and he repeated himself loudly. The dispatcher complied with Shahadey’s request, and she also reported the incident to her supervisor. Shahadey told the FBI he needed the VCSC employee’s information, because that employee was the subject of a theft investgation.
Ewing says the FBI subpoenaed Shahadey’s personnel file with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office. News 10 will file a public records access requesting a copy of that file. The US Attorney’s office said in court Shahadey has received numerous disciplinary actions in his 37 year career.
@WTHITV Two of those actions involve extortion and a child custody matter, which led to the largest settlement in Vigo Co. history.
— Jon Swaner (@jonswaner) November 4, 2016
Shahadey’s attorney, Kimberly Robinson, argues the charge of theft against Shahadey doesn’t warrant detention, because it’s a non-violent offense. Robinson also argues the alleged threats didn’t rise to the level that the government felt compelled to file charges against Shahadey.
Robinson also outlined several medical conditions from which Shahadey suffers, citing them as reasons for Shahadey’s pre-trial release. Shahadey was involved in a car accident, and his injuries require physical therapy. He’s also set to have knee surgery on Nov. 29.
@WTHITV Shahadey also suffers from sleep apnea and requires a machine to sleep. Robinson also said cots at the jail are uncomfortable.
— Jon Swaner (@jonswaner) November 4, 2016
The federal judge ordered Shahadey to be placed on home incarceration, under the supervision of the probation department. However, Shahadey will be detained until Monday, as the government will appeal this ruling. In the meantime, a supervising officer will inspect his home to make sure it’s appropriate for home incarceration. This includes making sure the home is free of weapons. If Shahadey is placed on home incarceration, he will be monitored via GPS 24-hours a day. Shahadey will not be able to leave his residence without supervising officers’ approval and must follow point to point instructions. Shahadey is also to have no contact with any potential witnesses or co-defendants, and he’s to have no contact with Franklin Fennell.
The Vigo County School Corporation also placed Shahadey’s wife, who is an attendance counselor, on paid leave.
Meanwhile, Fennell was released on Wednesday, but was ordered to have no contact with potential witnesses or co-defendants in the case.