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IEDC deal with Mainstreet put on hold by Pence

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Gov. Mike Pence asked the Indiana Economic Development Corp. on Monday to review its decision to grant $345,000 in economic incentives to a company started by a top Republican lawmaker and his son.

The governor said he wants the IEDC's board of directors to review the state aid offered to Mainstreet Property Group. The company, which develops senior and assisted living complexes, was co-founded by Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner and is run by his son, Zeke.

The IEDC awards tax breaks and training grants to foster economic development in the state. Mainstreet was offered conditional jobs tax credits and training grants if it hired additional workers as part of its move from Cicero to Carmel. The deal was announced earlier Monday by IEDC.

IEDC spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock said in a prepared statement that the agency, at the governor's request, "has placed the letter of intent with Mainstreet Property Group LLC on hold pending a review by the IEDC board of directors."

The Associated Press first reported the lawmaker's ties to the project Monday afternoon.

Eric Turner, Hancock and a Mainstreet spokeswoman each said independently Monday that the lawmaker wasn't involved in winning the state economic incentives.

"I don't know anything about whether they're getting any state or local aid. I know about the move, but my son runs the company; he's the president and CEO," Turner said.

Asked if he saw anything wrong with any company started by a lawmaker or a lawmaker's immediate family getting state aid, he said many part-time legislators work in jobs or invest in businesses that seek business or aid from the state.

"My son is operating an expanding business and looking for new space for the expanding business and hoping to hire new employees," the House speaker said.

Mainstreet is planning to spend $800,000 leasing and equipping 7,120 square feet of office space in Carmel, and hiring as many as 25 new workers by 2015. The company currently employs 20 workers.

Founded in 2002, Mainstreet has been one of the fastest-growing companies in central Indiana in recent years. It currently has some $200 million in projects under construction.

Mainstreet spokeswoman Kate Snedeker was not immediately available to comment on the governor's decision. Earlier in the day, Snedeker said Eric Turner had no role in the company's move and touted the project as a good investment for the state.

"I would think this is the kind of business we would want to attract and retain in the state," Snedeker said.

The company has previously secured work from the state. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reported in 2010 on Eric Turners' successful bid to place a call center in a converted school building purchased through a subsidiary of Mainstreet. The call center was authorized as part of the state's failed attempt to privatize welfare. Eric Turner denied any wrongdoing.

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  • Dig Deeper
    Inquire how they started business. Why daughter left FSSA as Gen. Counsel? Call Center for DCFS? Sen. Kenly as well. Why go public in Canada and no USofA? More to the story folks.
  • This IS a good company.
    This is a growing Company that has made a choice to put their headquarters building in an affluent part of this state. Their very presence in our State will create a need to hire people to manage projects and facilities. Those facilities will further foster the need to fulfill positions within the assisted living industry.
  • Tom is Correct
    Time for CIB to quit draining our pocketbooks and doing things without taxpayer or council approval? I thought Ballard was going to abolish CIB. What happened?
  • HOLD ACCOUNTABLE
    The IEDC ethics have been in question before, they need to give public access to there doings, meetings, and especially handing out tax payor monies.
  • More to this?
    I am assuming there is more to this. I would hope the IDEC would not grant incentives for the company to move from Cicero to Carmel. There is no benefit to the state for this. Was there a real threat to move out of the state? This seems more like something the Hamilton Cty Alliance should be involved with. Pence is right in having this looked at but the IDEC already approved it. Someone else should be looking into their decision.
  • Truly Banal
    This is an example just how deep your legislator has fallen into the cesspool of influence peddling. I say: ban tax incentives, ban the CIPB from investing any more into capital improvements where the owners of stadiums benefit.
    • Shady Dealings
      This sounds like a shady deal! It makes sense now how these guys are doing their deals - the company president has his daddy pulling strings for him!
      • Deodorize
        I guess sometimes things stink so much that even IEDC has to wait for a breeze to come by and take away some of the smell. After an appropriate period to "assess" the situation, these guys will get their welfare, too.

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