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Review finds no conflict in state's deal with Mainstreet

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An economic development incentive deal between the state and a central Indiana real estate company that was put on hold by Gov. Mike Pence has passed a review by a panel looking for potential conflicts of interest.

Pence asked the Indiana Economic Development Corp. in early April to review its decision to grant $345,000 in performance-based economic incentives to Mainstreet Property Group LLC, a company started by a top Republican lawmaker and his son.

"Today, the policy committee of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. board of directors reviewed the Mainstreet Property Group LLC project regarding potential conflicts of interest," the IEDC said Tuesday in a prepared statement, citing committee chairman John Mutz. "The committee found no conflicts and confirmed that the IEDC incentive offer to Mainstreet is very much in line with other IEDC projects. The committee recommended that the IEDC proceed with the project."

Mainstreet, 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 April 8 by IEDC.

IEDC spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock said in a prepared statement April 8 that the agency, at the governor's request, "placed the letter of intent with Mainstreet Property Group LLC on hold pending a review by the IEDC board of directors."

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.

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

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