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Head of Indiana business agency gets ethics advice

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Indiana's top business-recruitment official has been advised by the State Ethics Commission to separate himself from tax-credit decisions that could benefit a company he co-owns.

The commission told Indiana Economic Development Corp. President Eric Doden on Thursday that a "wall of separation" is needed to safeguard him against any conflict-of-interest accusations. Doden, who was appointed to lead the group in January by Gov. Mike Pence, had sought an advisory opinion from the ethics panel.

Doden is on leave from Domo Ventures LLC, a company he co-owns with a Michigan resident, The Journal Gazette reported. Domo Ventures is a minority partner in Domo Development LLC.

Doden is concerned that Domo Development might offer a bid to develop a site in Fort Wayne that's adjacent to Parkview Field, where the city's minor-league baseball team plays. If Fort Wayne expands a revitalization district adjacent to that property and Doden's company wins a contract, it would be eligible for a state tax credit that would have to be approved by the economic development agency.

If granted the tax credit, the company, and therefore Doden, would benefit financially.

"We wanted to make you are aware of this potential," Doden said in seeking the advisory opinion.

Expanding the city's revitalization district requires approval from the State Budget Committee. But under normal procedures, Doden would be the one who would have final say on whether an investment made in the district qualified for the tax credit.

Stephen Akard, general counsel for the Indiana Economic Development Corp., told the ethics panel Thursday that Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith would handle the matter instead if it came up in the future.

Ethics Commission member Peter Nugent said, "we can't put (Domo) in a position where they can't do business."

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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