Indiana agency OKs money to legislator’s company

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Leaders of a state agency have approved $345,000 in economic incentives for a company started by a top Republican legislator and his son following a review sought by Gov. Mike Pence.

The governor asked the Indiana Economic Development Corp. board of directors last month to review its decision to offer the state aid to Mainstreet Property Group hours after The Associated Press reported the company’s connection with Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner. The real estate development company was co-founded by Turner and is run by his son Zeke.

The state promised conditional jobs tax credits and training grants to the company if it hires additional workers as part of its move from Cicero to Carmel.

Former Republican Lt. Gov. John Mutz, chairman of the IEDC board’s policy committee, said in a statement released by the agency that the committee recommended the agency approve the incentives to Mainstreet.

“The committee found no conflicts and confirmed that the IEDC incentive offer to Mainstreet is very much in line with other IEDC projects,” Mutz said in the statement released Monday evening.

Eric Turner, R-Cicero, said last month that he wasn’t involved in seeking the state economic incentives and that his son runs the business as its president and chief executive.

Mainstreet spokeswoman Kate Snedeker didn’t have an immediate comment Tuesday on the state agency’s decision.

Mainstreet is planning to spend $800,000 leasing and equipping its new office in Carmel and anticipates adding as many as 25 new workers by 2015. The company currently employs about 20 workers.

Mainstreet, which develops senior and assisted living complexes, was founded in 2002 has been a fast-growing company, with some $200 million in projects under construction, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Turner was passed over to head the powerful House Ways and Means committee last year because fellow Republicans were concerned about his and his daughter’s lobbying efforts, some lawmakers told the AP in April.

Turner is a lobbyist for the U.S. Fireworks Safety Commission and his daughter works on behalf of, Insure-Rite, nursing home operators and other groups.

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