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Financial questions hound Indiana state treasurer candidates

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Financial questions from years-old deals are dogging two top candidates seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer and evoking memories of previous intraparty battles.

For Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, questions about a deal to redevelop a former YMCA building in the city's core have bubbled up. A fight among church officials over a land sale has crept into financial adviser Don Bates' race.

Both cases are old transactions, but the questions have persisted as each man seeks the Republican Party's nod to become one of the state's chief investment officers.

Seybold, Bates and Kelly Mitchell, a top staffer in the treasurer's office, will seek the nomination next week during the Republican Party convention in Fort Wayne. The three are looking to replace Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in November.

Seybold faces scrutiny over a $2.5 million loan Marion made in 2009 to a Korean businessman, Michael An. The money was offered through tax-increment financing, a popular economic development tool that provides developers money up front in return for the guarantee their property tax payments will repay that debt in the future.

But The Marion Chronicle-Tribune has reported extensively on questions about the deal -- including whether the money was spent properly and if it will be repaid to the city. The paper's most recent story focused on a city refinancing of that loan in 2011 that decoupled the property tax payments from the loan, leaving open the possibility it may not be repaid if the project falls through.

Seybold said last week that the questions have been blown out of proportion and that the project is moving forward after hitting some road bumps. He calls the redevelopment of the former YMCA building crucial to his city's rehabilitation.

And he blames political opponents, including Grant County Democrats, for trying to take advantage of the statewide attention being paid to him as he runs for treasurer.

"Now you fast forward to me running for state treasurer, and now this has become this big political hot button," Seybold said.

In Bates' case, a former pastor at the church he attends accused him in a 2010 lawsuit of illegally selling $7,900 in church property. The suit, which was uncovered by libertarian blogger and talk show host Gary Snyder, is set for trial in August.

The Bates campaign provided a statement from local prosecutor David Daly saying he decided not to pursue criminal charges. It also provided a statement from a church official, saying that the former pastor did not speak on the church's behalf.

Whether the years-old issues resonate with the roughly 1,700 convention delegates remains to be seen.

Seybold has the backing of the state's establishment Republicans, while Bates is working with support from social conservatives and Tea Partyers.

Convention battles have proven to be some of the nastiest, in part because the target audience is not the voting public, but a select number of delegates. In the 2002 convention battle for secretary of state, Mourdock squared off against Mike Delph, now a state senator, and Todd Rokita, now a congressman. During the convention battle, flyers were circulated falsely claiming that Delph was throwing his support behind Mourdock.

Rokita ultimately won, served two terms and used the office as a launching pad for a congressional run. Mourdock won the treasurer's nomination in 2006 and is now term-limited from seeking re-election.

Whoever wins the nomination this year will face Democrat Mike Boland, a former Illinois lawmaker, in the general election.

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  • Perhaps?
    Perhaps, the Republicans need to re-announce this particular position. Wanted: a staunch Republican, willing to sacrifice the honor of the State, and whose sole purpose is the advance of their family's values. Whoops, wait, Eric Turner has that slot...
  • Illinois politicians running in our state?
    that has to say something about Illinois. Democrats are running a guy from that state? Please you can do better than that. Picking a former politician from the most corrupt state in the Country.......... Ill pass.
  • oh wow
    please start over.

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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

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