The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

State News

June 7, 2014

Indiana House Republicans to meet, discuss Turner's future

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana House Republicans will meet Monday to decide whether to take action against Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, who is accused of using his influence to protect his family's lucrative nursing home business.

Two House Republicans spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they could face sanctions for discussing the private proceedings.

The full Republican caucus hasn't met since the end of the legislative session in March. It was in those private meetings that Turner fought legislation that would have imposed a moratorium on nursing home construction, costing his family nursing home development company millions.

Turner, through a lawyer and spokesman, has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong by lobbying against the moratorium and contends he was transparent about his personal financial stake.

The House Ethics Committee cleared him of wrongdoing in April but urged lawmakers to strengthen the disclosure rules for public officials. The panel plans to meet this summer to draw up new rules for consideration during next year's legislative session.

Turner also has drawn scrutiny over $345,000 in tax credits that the state, through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, awarded for a Terre Haute nursing home project in which Turner has an ownership stake. Documents obtained by the AP show that Turner owns 38 percent of Mainstreet Property Group through his ownership in a separate company, Mainstreet Capital Partners.

When the ban was being considered, Mainstreet spokeswoman Kate Snedeker sent a press release saying the Terre Haute project was one of many that would be shut down if the legislation was approved. She later said that was a mistake on the company's part and that construction would have been completed even if the ban had passed.

The caucus has strict rules against going public with information about the secret meetings. Senate President Pro Tem David Long stripped Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, of his leadership position in February after accusing Delph of violating caucus secrecy rules. Delph has denied the charge.

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