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June 18, 2014

Bosma: No ethics sanctions against Turner

INDIANAPOLIS — House Speaker Brian Bosma said Tuesday he will not sanction House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner after an ethics probe determined the lawmaker did not technically violate state ethics rules.

Bosma said Tuesday he was accepting the committee’s recommendation that no action be taken.

“The ethics committee completed its review, and the review was to take no action but to take a hard look at our disclosure statutes and statements, and that’s what we’re doing now,” he said.

Turner helped defeat a proposed ban on the construction of new nursing homes, which would have cost him millions in future earnings. But because he fought the legislation in private meetings of the House Republican Caucus and not the chamber of the House or in committee meetings, the House Ethics Committee found that Turner did not technically violate any of the state’s ethics rules.

But the panel added that his actions violated the “spirit” of the state’s ethics laws and exposed loopholes that should be tightened. Bosma said work on that review was expected to begin this summer.

Turner declined to answer questions Tuesday about whether he would participate in the upcoming ethics review or whether he would fight the nursing home ban if it comes up again during the 2015 session.

The nursing home ban proposed earlier this year would have blocked multiple projects being developed by Mainstreet Property Group, a company Turner co-owns with his son and others. The state is providing $345,000 in tax credits for a project in Terre Haute that Mainstreet documents show will earn Turner an expected $1.8 million.

A Mainstreet Property document obtained by The Associated Press showed that Turner owns 50 percent of Mainstreet Capital Partners, which holds 76 percent of the company. Turner disclosed his interest in Mainstreet Capital Partners, but never said he was invested in Mainstreet Property or how much of a stake he had.

Kate Snedeker, a spokeswoman for Mainstreet Property, has said Turner’s ownership stake outlined in their document is incorrect. But she has declined to say how much stake he does own in the company.

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