Governor Eric Holcomb and Commissioner Frederick Payne are In Contempt of Judge Hanley’s Order

Indiana Governor and Workforce Development Commissioner Violates Temporary Injunction

In my last article, I referenced Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter to Edward Carrington; he warns his fellow Virginia native that if the people aren’t enlightened by the papers (a free press), the government will turn into wolves like those in Europe. Well, it’s too late for the United States and definitely too late for Indiana since this state has been run by the wolves for a very long time since the free press sold its power a very long time ago while crying about online news and their dying industry. Had the press retained its power, it would be a thriving industry where the people would be more than happy to support, but when they stopped working for the people, the countdown to failure began.

In the case of Hoosier’s unemployment benefits, Governor Eric Holcomb’s refusal to administer a federal benefit to unemployed Hoosiers has now gone into the contempt stage. At the same time, he stomps his feet with the Attorney General, Todd Rokita, and co-defendant Frederick Payne. Last Friday, Marion Superior Court Judge John Hanley granted a preliminary injunction to a lawsuit filed June 14 by Indiana Legal Services (ILS), along with the law firm Macey Swanson Hicks & Sauer, which had argued that Indiana law required the state to procure all unemployment rights and benefits, including the supplemental federal unemployment bonus.

Well, according to my source in Indianapolis, the benefits still show expired on the Department of Workforce Development website, and no checks have been issued. Todd Rokita said last week that he would be appealing the judge’s decision. Still, I’m not sure Todd is familiar with legal rulings on temporary injunctions because the Judge was very specific:

Indiana Code § 22-4-3 7-1 charges the State of Indiana with the responsibility of securing “all the rights and benefits” conferred under certain federal statutes, including 42 U.S.C. §§ 1101, 1104 and 1105. Presently, Congress has authorized an enhanced use 0f benefits conferred under 42 U.S.C. § 1101, et seq. for pandemic relief through September 6, 2021. By rejecting these benefits after June 19, 2021, Defendants are in violation of their statutory duties, entitling Plaintiffs to declaratory and injunctive relief.

This is rather straightforward…the defendants are Governor Eric Holcomb and Frederick Payne, the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. According to his LinkedIn profile, Fred has a long history of being an anti-worker/pro-corporate lawyer listing his credentials as:

Defended employers in employment & labor litigation and regulatory matters in state and federal courts and before governmental agencies (NLRB, OSHA, EEOC, Civil Rights Commission) throughout country

Counseled employers in workplace issues, draft workplace and collective bargaining policies for employers that are compliant with federal, state and local employment, labor & regulatory laws

Drafted various agreements (distribution, transportation, non-compete, severance and commercial contacts) for clients

Represented employers in Union trust fund litigation, union grievance, and arbitrations matters.

It makes you wonder why Fred would want a job working for the government assisting workers. It seems like he would be better suited for the corporate world advising CEOs how to screw over workers. No wonder he was so anxious to toss a pool of workers into the den of corporate wolves seeking to exploit them with low-paying and dangerous jobs.

I’ve allowed the Governor’s office and the Department of Workforce Development to explain why they haven’t reinstated benefits or why they’ve chosen to be in contempt of a judge’s ruling. Still, the only response I’ve received so far is “they’re working on it.” They were timely in turning off the benefits but slacking in turning them back on.

Just a side note, within the ruling, Judge Hanley overruled the Governor’s and Fred’s complaints about the cost and burden to the state by informing them the federal government had already paid for the benefits and the administration of the benefit in advance. So what is likely happening with brothers Fred and Eric are they are using the dollars paid in advance by the federal government for one of their slush funds within the state’s DWD? Thomas Jefferson would most certainly call Fred and Eric “wolves.”

Here is the final judgment:


Governor Eric Holcomb and Commissioner Frederick Payne, their officers, employees, and agents; all persons acting in active concert or participation with any Defendant, or under any Defendant’s supervision, direction, or control; and all other persons within the scope of Indiana Trial Rule 65, are enjoined from withdrawing the State of Indiana from unemployment benefits offered through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act until this Court renders a final judgment on the merits. Indiana shall notify the U.S. Department of Labor immediately of its continued participation in the CARES Act programs pending further action by this Court.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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