|19th Mayor of Gary|
January 1, 2012
|Preceded by||Rudolph M. Clay|
|40th Indiana Attorney General|
June 8, 2000 – January 14, 2001
|Preceded by||Jeff Modisett|
|Succeeded by||Steve Carter|
|Born||Karen Marie Freeman
October 24, 1960
Gary, Indiana, United States
|Spouse(s)||Carmen Wilson (m. 1982)|
|Alma mater||Harvard College (B.A), Harvard University (J.D.)|
Early life and education
Judge and Attorney General
She served as a presiding judge of the Gary City Court from 1995 to 2000. In 2000, she was appointed Indiana Attorney General by Governor Frank O'Bannon to serve the remaining eleven months of the term of Jeff Modisett, who resigned to become Deputy CEO and General Counsel to the Democratic National Convention.
As the incumbent, Freeman-Wilson ran for Indiana Attorney General in 2000 but lost to Republican Steve Carter.
State auditors later found that the former Attorney General Freeman-Wilson issued more than $700,000 in grants without approval from the Governor and various agencies during her eleven months in office. The Indiana State Board of Accounts discovered this when it filed the annual audit of this office in 2001. The State Board found that Freeman-Wilson issued grants from the $1.39 million payment Indiana received for work on the national tobacco settlement. A $500,000 grant to the Indiana Minority Health Coalition was also issued without approval from the Governor and agencies under his control. Freeman-Wilson acknowledged, "mistakes were made." She stated to the Indianapolis Star, "I'm not going to criticize Mr. Carter and I don't think he should criticize me." Attorney General Carter responded, "We can only clean up the office from this point forward."
After leaving office, Freeman-Wilson went on to become CEO of the nonprofit National Association of Drug Court Professionals. While there she helped get a trial of Prometa, a treatment for methamphetamine addiction, launched in the Gary drug court. In July 2007, Hythiam Inc., the company licensing the Prometa protocol, named Freeman-Wilson to its board of directors. Other executive posts held by Freeman-Wilson include Executive Director of the National Drug Court Institute and director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.
Legal Counsel: Gary Urban Enterprise Association
Freeman-Wilson served as legal counsel to the Gary Urban Enterprise Association from 1995 to 2006.
Mayor of Gary
In April 2011, Rudy Clay announced he was ending his re-election campaign due to prostate cancer, endorsing Karen Freeman-Wilson as his successor. Rudy Clay asked his supporters to vote for Freeman-Wilson. In May 2011, Freeman-Wilson won the Democratic mayoral primary for the city of Gary. She had previously run in both 2003 and 2007, losing to Scott L. King and Rudy Clay respectively. Given the political nature of Gary she was considered a heavy favorite in the general election. She won the election with a landslide 87 percent of the vote. She became the city's first female mayor.
Freeman-Wilson and her "New Day" Transition Team developed a Blueprint for Gary. Under her axiom, "Karen for Gary," promises were made to improve public safety, economic development, and the city's appearance and image. She has refused to allow a museum in the childhood home of Michael Jackson.
Freeman-Wilson appeared during her tenure as mayor in a December 21, 2016 episode of Undercover Boss, in which she was disguised a long-haired woman from Nashville, Tennessee with a Southern accent. The episode highlighted wage and infrastructure challenges related to Gary's tight budget and allowed the mayor to evaluate ways to improve working conditions. Unlike other episodes, in which bosses tend to provide gifts with the organization's money, she relied on private donations, personal donation, and strategic budgeting to provide gifts and investments.
- Michael Puente (2010-12-10). "Is Gary Ready for Another Mayor Hatcher?". WBEZ.org. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- Robinson, Sean (December 23, 2007). "Data show mixed value of Prometa". The News Tribune.
- "State of Indiana Board of Accounts: Audit Report of the Office of the Attorney General State of Indiana November 1, 1998 to March 31, 2001" (PDF). 2001-08-01. Retrieved 2001-08-01.
- Associated Press (2001-08-30). "Audit Hits Freeman-Wilson Agency Says Grants by Former Attorney General Broke Law" (PDF). Post-Tribune. Retrieved 2001-08-30.
- Huus, Kari (January 11, 2008). "Setbacks plague drug addiction remedy: Prometa pilot program loses funding amid questions over effectiveness". MSNBC.com. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/forum/article_dba25a0b-ae63-5916-9153-c48950401f09.html Retrieved 2011-06-09
- MichaelGonzalez (2011-04-26). "Freeman-Wilson says she has clean hands in drug court, GUEA activities". post-trib.com. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- Pete Nickeas (2011-04-12). "Clay Endorses Freeman-Wilson for Gary Mayor". nwitimes.com. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Jon Seidel (2010-12-03). "Freeman-Wilson to announce Gary mayoral bid". Post-Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/gary/article_dea65a33-81b6-5403-9445-bbd9f548c21d.html Retrieved 2011-06-09
- THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (2011-08-11). "Democrat Karen Freeman-Wilson easily wins election as Gary's first woman mayor". Daily Reporter. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
- Bowedeya Tweh (2011-10-11). "Gary needs to Change It Course, Candidate Says". nwitimes.com. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
Jeffrey A. Modisett
|Attorney General of Indiana
Stephen R. Carter