An Indiana state official was fired last week because she approved a $417,000 anticrime grant without any required oversight and then steered it to a family friend who planned to spend most of the money on office and travel expenses, says the Indianapolis Star. The official is Heather Bolejack, 31, executive director of the state Criminal Justice Institute. She is a lawyer and former Miss Indiana Black Expo. A statement detailing the firing said documents had been altered to suggest the grant had been handled properly. Bolejack said she didn’t directly deal with the grant and instead entrusted it to a deputy, who was dismissed.
The state agency administers more than $60 million in federal funds, including the grant in question, which was intended to help the children of prisoners. The state said that Bolejack had signed documents awarding the $417,000 grant and had awarded the same amount to a consulting firm without disclosing that the firm was headed by a childhood friend of her husband and circumventing a review and approval process. The consultant reportedly never provided any services and intended to spend more than half of the grant on salaries, cars, office space, and out-of-state travel.