U.S. attorney sues GOP donor over unpaid trading penalty

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The federal government is suing a former Indianapolis businessman and major Republican donor to collect a $600,000 federal penalty for commodities trading violations.

The U.S. attorney's office sued Jerry W. Slusser on Thursday to collect the penalty from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Slusser, who now lives in Las Vegas, was found liable for multiple violations of the commodity exchange act in 1999, but the penalty wasn't imposed until 2006 after he filed numerous appeals.

Officials say Slusser has not made any payment toward the debt, which also includes interest.

Slusser was the owner of First Republic Financial Corp. (formerly known as Vancorp Financial Services) of Indianapolis, which misappropriated nearly $6 million of customer funds and made material misrepresentations and omissions of facts to customers in 1989.

Campaign finance reports on the Indiana Secretary of State's website show Slusser has donated $103,000 in cash and $148,000 in in-kind contributions to various GOP committees. Slusser has given to Gov. Mitch Daniels and his Aiming Higher political action committee.

Daniels' spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said Daniels didn't know Slusser when the violations occurred and was unaware of them.

Slusser had an unlisted phone number and couldn't be reached for comment.

Slusser's attorney, James Voyles, said in a statement that the case was without merit and would be "vigorously defended."

Voyles said the case stemmed from a business transaction in Europe some 22 years ago, and that the statute of limitations had expired.

"Mr. Slusser has fought this battle several times over the past 20 years, and we intend to fight it again and firmly believe we will prevail in the present issue," Voyles said.


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