Sunday, November 28, 2010

Times hires PR flak tied to corrupt mayor

The Times of Northwest Indiana has hired Damian Rico as community online director.

Rico, as a source tells me, is "the guy who ran the PR machine for George Pabey, former mayor of East Chicago (Ind.) and now convicted criminal. Rico is going from one corrupt administration to another. Apparently Rod Blagojevich wasn't available for the job."

In February, Pabey and co-defendent Jose Camacho, an East Chicago city employee, were charged in a grand jury indictment with conspiring to embezzle city money and illegally use city workers to remodel a house Pabey bought with his daughter in 2008. Camacho is also charged with trying to persuade other city employees to lie to federal investigators about work the laborers allegedly did on the house while on the clock for the city.

On Sept. 20, the first day of the trial, Rico spoke in Pabey's favor: "We are here to support him. He's done so many great things for the city."

Pabey was convicted on federal corruption charges four days later, and removed from office. Anthony Copeland was sworn in as mayor on Oct. 16 and began making personnel changes, including Rico's role as spokesman. (Read Times stories on the Pabey trial.)

While serving as East Chicago spokesman, Rico also has been a Times columnist and freelance photographer.

The memo from Times editor Bill Nangle:
From: William Nangle
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 2:39 PM
To: MUN Newsroom
Subject:

Effective Monday, Damian Rico assumes the position of Community Online Director. His duties center on content development for “community.com” sites, including contact with the many and varied community organizations throughout The Times market.

Rico most recently served in a contractual consultant role for public relations with the City of East Chicago. In his capacity as a consultant he has served many clients, ranging from industry to education and small business. He holds a B.A. in communications from Purdue University; a Masters Degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University and a B.A. in clinical psychology from Purdue University. He is a graduate of Bishop Noll Institute.

Damian is married with four children and resides in Schererville. Please welcome Damian to the media center staff. Bill

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