Democrats Ask For Ethics Probe Of GOP Lawmaker
March 20, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party is calling for an investigation of Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, for allegedly using his position as a lawmaker to benefit his family and a business run by his son.
Democratic Party Chair John Zody sent a letter to House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, requesting an investigation.
The situation involves legislation the General Assembly considered that would have placed a moratorium on the construction of nursing home beds in Indiana.
Turner excused himself from a vote because his son, Zeke Turner, operates Mainstreet Properties, and his daughter, Jessaca Turner Stults, is the company’s lobbyist. But the Associated Press reported that Turner lobbied against the moratorium in a private Republican caucus.
Zody’s letter said, “Rep. Turner clearly believed that there was a conflict of interest, or he would not have recused himself publicly from voting on this issue. But behind closed doors he fervently lobbied his colleagues near the end of the session when significant decisions are made.”
Mainstreet Properties is in the process of building 24 nursing homes in the next three years. Legislation from 2009 had previously prevented the building of more nursing homes, because of a boom in development and lawmakers this year were considering whether to lift that moratorium or keep it in place.
A spokeswoman for Bosma said he was unavailable to comment Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Turner did not return a message for comment.
Supporters of the ban say that the moratorium ensures that existing nursing homes would lose private-paying patients to newer facilities, making it hard to adequately care for Medicaid patients.
Opponents of the ban say it interferes with the free market.
The projects Zeke Turner and Mainstreet Properties have planned are worth millions, according to the AP.
Last year the AP released a report that Turner used his position and power to benefit a client of his daughter.
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