News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 20, 2014

State giving $345K to Eric Turner company project in Terre Haute

Controversial build located on site of former city park

TERRE HAUTE — The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is giving Mainstreet Property Group $345,000 for the construction of a nursing home in Terre Haute that is expected to net House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner $1.8 million.

The money was originally offered by the state so that Mainstreet, which is owned in part by Turner and his son, could move its headquarters from Cicero to Carmel. But now it will go toward the construction of a $15.3 million project in Terre Haute, one of many Mainstreet projects Turner helped save when he defeated legislation that would have banned the construction of new nursing homes.

Gov. Mike Pence had placed a hold on the state aid last year after The Associated Press reported Turner’s connection to the company. But an IEDC review found “no conflict of interest” and cleared the money for the Turners.

John Mutz, a former Republican lieutenant governor and head of the IEDC panel that initially cleared the money for the company’s relocation, said he had concerns about a state lawmaker benefiting from state tax dollars, but also did not think that should stand in the way of a good project being completed.

“Of course there’s a concern,” Mutz said. “In my mind, as a committee member, I want to know if somebody has an interest in these things. But that doesn’t necessarily mean their business shouldn’t get the credit.”

At the center of the issue is Turner’s ownership stake in Mainstreet and legislation proposed earlier this year that would have halted Mainstreet’s construction of new nursing homes. In public, Turner recused himself from votes on the issue, but in private meetings of House Republicans he successfully lobbied against the ban.

The House Ethics Committee determined last month that Eric Turner did not technically violate any ethics rules, but decided that ethics rules need to be tightened because of concerns exposed by the situation.

The $345,000 from the state will now go toward the construction of a nursing home at the western edge of Terre Haute. According to Mainstreet Property documents obtained by the AP, the company expects to spend $15.3 million completing the project and then sell it to a Canadian company started by Zeke Turner, Eric Turner’s son, for $20.1 million.

The sale will be enough to net Eric Turner $1.8 million, according to a Mainstreet investment document obtained by the AP, as he owns 50 percent of a company which owns 76 percent Mainstreet, for a 38 percent of Mainstreet itself.

“As a passive investor in Mainstreet, Eric has no responsibilities regarding the day-to-day management and operation of the business,” Turner spokesman Roger Harvey said in a statement.

Mainstreet spokeswoman Kate Snedeker has maintained that Eric Turner has no say in how the company operates, and also that the state aid is being provided to the city of Terre Haute and not Mainstreet. IEDC spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock also said the money was not being provided to Mainstreet.

But the September 2013 contract signed by the IEDC and the city specifies that Mainstreet will ultimately receive the $345,000. The city will act as a pass-through, giving the money to Mainstreet once it has completed expensive site preparations, including filling in a basin and driving in pylons around the site.

Josh Perry, an assistant professor of business law and ethics at Indiana University, said actions like the state’s approval of money for Turner and lobbying in secret meetings of the House Republican caucus “erode the public trust” in government.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity