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Press Release

District Administrator for Muncie Sanitary District and Muncie contractor indicted

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Defendants were indicted on corruption-related charges

INDIANAPOLIS – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Debra Nicole Grigsby (“Nikki Grigsby”), the District Administrator for the Muncie Sanitary District, and Tony Franklin, the owner of Franklin Building, and Design, LLC, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, making false statements, and falsification of documents in a federal investigation. 

Grigsby, 44, Muncie, Indiana, and Franklin, 60, Yorktown, Indiana, were arrested this morning without incident and will have their initial appearance this afternoon at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis.

The arrests are part of a multi-year and on-going investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, into the payment of kickbacks in exchange for public works projects and other corruption-related matters in Muncie that have resulted in the following federal cases:

United States v. Craig Nichols, 17-CR-0021-TWP-DML

United States v. Tracy Barton, 18-CR-284-JMS-DLP

United States v. Jeff Burke, 18-CR-285-SEB-DLP

United States v. Rodney Barber, 19-CR-190-JMS-DML

“Public servants need to serve the public instead of serving themselves,” said Minkler. “When someone betrays the public’s trust by stealing tax dollars for personal enrichment, my office will identify, investigate and, if the evidence supports a charge, prosecute the individual who violates that sacred trust.”

Grigsby has served as Muncie Sanitary District’s District Administrator since 2013, and was responsible for approving the selection of contractors to perform work on Muncie Sanitary District infrastructure projects. The indictment alleges that Grigsby abused her position of public trust and agreed to steer contracts for work arising out of infrastructure projects for the Muncie Sanitary District to Franklin, the owner of Franklin Building and Design, LLC, in exchange for kickbacks.

“The indictment and arrest of these two individuals is one more step in an ongoing investigation to identify any and all public officials or private citizens who have committed federal crimes and victimized the tax paying citizens of Muncie, Indiana,” said Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “Investigating public officials who exploit their official position for personal gain and erode the public’s confidence in government is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities and is the sole purpose of the Indiana Public Corruption Task Force.”

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany J. Preston who is prosecuting this case for the government, Grigsby and Franklin face up to 20 years’ imprisonment if convicted of all charges.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All parties are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court. 

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting large-scale fraud schemes that warrant federal resources and arrest those who abuse their positions of trust. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan  5.3

Updated July 16, 2019