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Democrats seek ethics investigation of Turner

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Democratic Party Chairman John Zody is seeking an investigation into a state lawmaker's private efforts to kill legislation that would have harmed his family's business interest.

Zody wrote a letter to House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, asking whether Rep. Eric Turner, R- Cicero, violated House ethics rules in fighting the nursing home ban this session. A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed banning construction of new nursing homes amid concerns the market was being flooded with new developments.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed banning construction of new nursing homes amid concerns the market was being flooded with new developments. In his letter to Bosma, Zody cited an AP report published Monday showing that Turner had lobbied against the measure in private meetings of the House Republican caucus last week.

IBJ first reported March 14 that last-minute lobbying unexpectedly killed the legislation.

Turner's son, Zeke Turner, owns and operates an expanding nursing home business based in Carmel and his daughter, Jessaca Turner Stults, was hired as a lobbyist to fight the measure this session. The construction ban, sought by existing nursing homes and health care advocates, would have stalled work on projects being developed by Turner's son that were worth millions of dollars.

In his letter to Bosma, Zody cited an Associated Press report showing that Turner had lobbied against the measure in private meetings of the House Republican caucus last week. The private lobbying by Turner was a marked departure from his public action on the issue, when he would typically excuse himself from votes because of conflicts of interest.

"Representative Turner clearly believed that there was a conflict of interest, or he would not have recused himself publicly from voting on this issue. But behind closed doors he fervently lobbied his colleagues near the end of session when significant decisions are made," Zody wrote.

Bosma spokeswoman Tory Flynn said his office has received the letter and "will be developing a response to it in the coming days."

Health care advocates and owners of existing nursing homes argued during the session that a five-year moratorium was needed on the construction of new nursing homes, which they said would undermine their ability to treat Medicaid patients. Supporters of the ban argued that a flood of new construction in the industry — being led in large part by Zeke Turner's business — would draw wealthier patients from their facilities and undercut their ability to treat poorer patients.

But opponents countered that banning construction would interfere with the free market. They also said the new construction would be an economic boon in areas throughout the state.

Turner's work on behalf of his children has hung over various issues throughout the past few years. The AP reported last year that he lost a shot at running the powerful House Ways and Means Committee because of concerns he may use the post to benefit his family. The AP also reported that he sought a provision last year to benefit a client doing drivers' insurance screenings who was represented by his daughter.

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  • sameolgame
    The comments about the Miller's role in the heirarchy remind me of the party deploding...It's coming....The party of Republican's are fighting against one another..So evident in many genres: war, tifs, legislation, laws, social issues and more..
  • People's Agenda 2007
    I would hope that Bosma is serious about this matter of an inquiry this time...Waiting and watching with prior knowledge...Bosma and more. Many are watching this event.
  • More to come
    Not too mention American Senior Communities and it's violations and the take over of IHCA by the pay to players in 2004. Marion County Health and Hospital deal. Dig deeper for fraud and corruption. It's coming.
    • Financial Costs or Gains
      As someone who has been through the nursing hom gamut with a parent, I idly watched while over a million dollars went to pay nursing home costs for my father for a several year period before he died. I will admit that his care was excellent, his caregivers were marvelous (albeit, highly underpaid for what they contended with) but it most assuredly was NOT at one of the Miller operated warehouses of death, nor would it have ever been. Eric Miller is crooked, conniving, and as would have been said many years ago, "...as crooked as a hound dog's back leg..." He has done nothing other than to force his family's position on his fellow legislators, and to push his oh-so-called Christian values on everyone else. While I can but hope that his constituents finally see the light, I have deep doubts that they will. After all, don't they continue to elect him time after time after time ad nauseum???
      • NH Boondoggle
        Reimbursement for a government operated entity is more than a private entity. This practice is corrupt. Government owned entities (read Health and Hospital of Marion County) "buy" or "lease" licenses to operate NH simply to get the higher reimbursement. Same entity, same operator but the boondoggle creates hundreds of millions of extra revenue at taxpayer expense because the homes are now "government owned". Oh, and look at the homes they run and their CMS health record.
      • History
        History speaks volumes with regard to the knowledge available for many to see. Where do they stand currently with ratings. Check it out. Not good. From UCompare Healthcare: Highland Manor Healthcare Indianapolis, Indiana Highland Manor Healthcare, a nursing home in Indianapolis, IN received a 1 out of 5 overall rating from CMS of the Dept of Health and Human Services on November 13th 2012. This score means that Highland Manor Healthcare is rated much below average overall based on health inspections, nursing home staffing and quality measures. See more ratings and in depth inspection results for Highland Manor Healthcare.
      • Corruption
        The process by which the deal was finalized is to be scrutinized. As is the history of this family, their secrets, ownerships and the stream of politicians allowing it to continue should also be brought to light. How did they get started in the business. Start there and investigate all of it. Dig Dig Dig In closing, how does Highland Manor rank on it's level of care?
        • Who is Turner representing
          Who is Eric Turner actually representing in our Legislature. He is advocating for issues that line his own and his family's pockets and not just on this issue. Now that some light is being shed on his positions against Day Care regulation of centers who take State funds, his cosy relationships with Micah Clark and Eric Miller advocating for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions will his constituents wonder what is is doing to help them and Hoosiers in general with THEIR needs. He doesn't pass the smell test when you view his actions and has gotten away too long with serving his own selfish interests. The electorate is fed up with corrupt practices in the Legislature.
        • What Free Market
          Free markets operate when the market has many players that compete on a level playing field and consumers have information to make decisions based on price and quality. In addition, there is little need for government regulation. For those of you who call for letting the free market work, do you really think the nursing home industry operates in a free market? And, with shysters like Turner, the market is anything but free; they are rigged.
        • Who Cares
          Who cares whether it is a free market or not? The fact of the matter is that a politician with no ethics is rigging things for his little boy's company, of which he also happens to have a significant financial interest!
        • Not a Free Market
          @Patty - you are very wrong! The bulk of the money does NOT come from Medicare. It comes from Medicaid. Mainstreet's nursing homes have approximately 2 Medicaid beds in their facilities. They absolutely ARE TARGETING people with the ability to pay out of pocket. This takes away income from the nursing homes that carry the responsibility of caring for Medicaid patients. Mainstreet should be required to include a more reasonable amount of Medicaid beds in the facilities that they build .
        • Free Market
          There shouldn't be a ban. Free market. Having family in the business would only be inappropriate if he wanted a ban. I see no problem. PLUS, the majority of $$$ come from Federal Medicare!!! GRAVYTRAIN!
        • Wrong
          Nursing homes do not operate in the free market people! The government sets the reimbursement rates. Apparently the "government" also makes sure that this company remains relevant in Indiana. Ridiculous.
        • Correct
          Sane person is correct in his description of a free market. Private companies should be able to build as many nursing homes as they please, the free market will sort it out. However, Eric Turner has shown a history of looking out for his family's best interests many times in the last 12 months alone. Turner needs to go.
        • Typical
          While I feel the government shouldn't interfere in most private business affairs, at the same time Mr. Turner clearly abused his powers to financially benefit his family and obviously this isn't the first time. He needs reprimanded if not removed from his position. This is a poor representation of ethics and political representation.
        • Mind your Own business, lawmakers
          Lawmakers should not be tampering with the free market. If the market place becomes saturated with nursing homes, then competition will naturally weed them out. When lawmakers want to tell free citizens that they cannot conduct business as they choose, then it wreaks of corruption. Let it alone, lawmakers, Rep Turner was right...laissez-faire!

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