IBJNews

Turner skips hearing, documents claim no misdeeds

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner skipped a House ethics review Wednesday but claimed in filings submitted to the panel that he did nothing wrong when he fought legislation that could have cost him millions of dollars.

The Associated Press reported last week that Turner has earned more than $8 million through his ownership stake in Mainstreet Property Group, which builds nursing homes. He stood to lose more than $4 million if a construction ban passed the Legislature this year, but he lobbied against the ban during private meetings of the House Republican Caucus in the final days of the session.

The House Ethics Committee met Wednesday for a little less than an hour in the same Statehouse room where Turner fought the ban a little more than a month ago. Their review focused almost exclusively on whether Turner properly disclosed all his connections and did not dissect how much money he had at stake in the fight.

House Ethics Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, said lawmakers may look at whether rules should be applied to caucus discussions during a more comprehensives ethics review later this summer, but not now. Turner admitted in filings with the committee to speaking out in caucus, but the panel also noted that he recused himself from public votes on the issue.

"We found no House ethics rules which apply to caucus," Steuerwald said.

The members are scheduled to meet next Wednesday to tell House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, whether they believe Turner violated any rules.

Turner attended a meeting of the State Budget Committee instead Wednesday, about five miles from where the ethics panel was meeting. His lawyer, Toby McClamroch, said that Turner did not need to be at the hearing because he had submitted answers in writing to the panel.

"I thank Chairman Steuerwald and the House Ethics Committee for conducting a thorough review of the facts and I was pleased to answer the questions presented to me. I am confident the Ethics Committee will conclude that I have acted within the House Rules and the House Code of Ethics, as I have for my entire 24-year legislative career."

The House ethics panel is made of three Republicans and three Democrats. All three Democrats said they were happy with the scope of Turner's review.

Turner appears to have met all the House's financial disclosure requirements. But none of those rules required him to tell the public that he makes upward of $1 million each time Mainstreet Property Group completes another project.

Documents obtained by the AP show that Turner owns a 38-percent stake in Mainstreet Property Group through another company. Mainstreet, which is operated by his son, builds nursing homes throughout the state and then sells the homes to a Canadian company, HealthLease, which was founded by Turner's son.

The last time the House Ethics Committee reviewed the actions of a House lawmaker was in 1996, when Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, and former Rep. Sam Turpin, R-Brownsburg, were put under the microscope. Turpin was later indicted by a grand jury for taking money from gambling interests while running the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Turner had been in the running to lead the Ways and Means panel in 2012 but Republican lawmakers voiced concerns about his conflicts of interest with Bosma and the chairmanship went to Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, instead.

Julia Vaughn, policy director of Common Cause Indiana, said Wednesday's hearing proves lawmakers should not police themselves. She noted that Turner's financial stakes were much greater than those of Turpin, who failed to disclose $46,000 in payments he received in relation to a riverboat casino project.

"Mountains and molehills," she said, shortly after hearing ended. "We are certainly talking about a much greater economic interest. And let's not forget charges were filed against Rep. Turpin in that case, and it was certainly small potatoes (compared to Turner)."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Whitewash In the Making
    Looks like a whitewashing in the making by the investigative committee. Get ready to hold your noses and/or puke. If conflicts-of-interest in the legislature were a virus, we would all be on our death beds.
  • just curious
    it would seem important to delve into what was said and how. Did he threaten to withhold a particular vote, or kill a bill, or somehow mix other business with this measure? Or did he say to a few friends in the assembly "hey, this bill is bad for Indiana ... read page 52 of the bill." Personally I think there is a huge difference. I don't have an opinion on this but I am following it in the news. thank you.
  • Republican Lies
    "We found no House ethics rules which apply to caucus," Steuerwald said. IC 2-2.1-3-7 clearly provides that an ethics committee may investigate misconduct, REGARDLESS OF WHEN THE MISCONDUCT IS ALLEGED TO HAVE OCCURRED. So, is Steuerwald ignorant of the law, or is he lying?
  • Taxes
    Two thoughts: First, at least some Republicans thought Turner went too far in caucus. Otherwise, no one would ever have learned about his excessive lobbying in caucus. Second, based on the amount of money Turner has made, is he reporting all of it on his federal and state taxes? What government watchdog could look into his taxes?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT