Friday, April 04, 2014
More On Turner Helping Turner
Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog has long ago figured out that State Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) blatantly uses his position in the state legislature to enrich his family business interests in nursing homes. The Star finally gets around to reporting what has been reported here and elsewhere previously that Turner's nursing home interests are far more substantial than he wants the public to know about. Tony Cook's lengthy story begins:
When Rep. Eric Turner worked behind the scenes to kill legislation that would have halted new nursing home development, he wasn't just helping his son's company.
An Indianapolis Star review of the lawmaker's personal business interests found that Turner has a stake in at least a half dozen companies that have been engaged in building, leasing or investing in nursing home properties.
Together, those companies potentially had millions of dollars at risk in the debate over the measure that would have put a temporary moratorium on new nursing home construction.
Moreover, The Star found that Turner did not list some of the companies on financial disclosure statements, which lawmakers are required to file each year to make public any potential conflicts.
Turner has denied breaking any House ethics rules and says the moratorium would have caused Indiana to miss out on new jobs and investment.
The Star's findings come as an Indiana House Ethics Committee is set to probe Turner's role in quashing the moratorium. Proponents of the legislation believe a moratorium is necessary because of low occupancy rates and concerns about the quality of care for Medicaid patients.
Turner, the second-highest ranking member of the House, abstained from voting on the measure in public. But during closed-door Republican caucus meetings he passionately urged his fellow lawmakers to kill the moratorium, according to several Republican lawmakers who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity.
Some Republicans felt Turner's role constituted a conflict of interest because his son, a developer of senior care facilities, and daughter, a Statehouse lobbyist, led the opposition to the moratorium.
The precise extent of Turner's financial interests in the nursing home industry is difficult to determine, but records indicate he has been involved in at least 15 different companies with ties to the industry since 1997.
Experts say such deep and longstanding connections could be an important factor as the ethics committee prepares to hear the case, perhaps as early as next week . . .I really don't expect anything to become of the House Ethics Committee investigation of Turner's direct involvement in nursing home legislation, something he's done just about every year that he's been in the state legislature. The ethics rules are written so weakly by design in order to protect members from any serious repercussions from engaging in what you and I would consider unethical conduct for the purpose of personal self-enrichment. And by the way, Turner's latest transgression wasn't as blatant as when he cut a deal with the Daniels administration and ACS to help steer the welfare privatization legislation through the legislature with the understanding that an old school building he and son, Zeke, purchased in Marion would be awarded a long-term lease for a call center to support the private operator's operations. That little sweetheart deal has made millions for the Turner family.