INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A company that was part of an ethics investigation into a top Republican lawmaker is being sold to an Ohio company as part of a $2.3 billion deal.
HealthLease Properties, part of a business model that House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner battled to protect during the 2014 legislative session, is being sold for $950 million to Ohio’s Health Care REIT, The Indianapolis Business Journal reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1ut1hAz ). The Ohio company also agreed to buy 45 nursing home projects from Turner’s family company for $1.4 billion when they are completed.
The House Ethics Committee said Turner didn’t violate any ethics rules when he lobbied privately to kill a proposed ban on nursing home construction, but added that Turner’s actions merited a review of those rules, though no meetings have been scheduled. House Speaker Brian Bosma said in June that Turner would not be punished.
Two of the Health Care REIT board members have strong Indiana ties, including one who’s close to Republican leaders in the House. Fred Klipsch, a prolific Republican fundraiser and powerbroker in the Statehouse, sits on the board, as does Scott Trumbull, CEO of Franklin Electric in Bluffton.
It’s unclear whether negotiations on the sale coincided with the General Assembly’s consideration of the nursing home ban. A call to Health Care REIT’s Toledo, Ohio, headquarters was not immediately returned Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Eric Turner’s son, developer Zeke Turner, told The Associated Press she could not publicly discuss when negotiations started.
Mainstreet Property documents obtained by the AP earlier this year show that Health Lease and the Turner family would have suffered greatly if a ban on the construction of new nursing homes was enacted. Eric Turner’s daughter lobbied against the ban, as did Zeke Turner, but the lawmaker kept his distance from the issue in public.
Eric Turner worked against the ban private meetings of the House Republican Caucus. Some House Republicans quietly chafed at his lobbying on his personal financial interest, but the ethics panel determined that House ethics rules require lawmakers to provide their “expertise.”
HealthLease Properties is a key part of a lucrative business model that has earned the Turner family and others millions in the nursing home construction business. HealthLease, which is publicly traded in Canada, is operated by Zeke Turner and buys nursing homes built by Mainstreet Property, which is also operated by Zeke Turner.
Eric Turner owns 50 percent of Mainstreet Capital Partners, which holds 76 percent of Mainstreet Property, a stake that’s earned him upward of $1 million on each project that is completed, according to a Mainstreet Property document obtained earlier by the AP. Kate Snedeker, a former spokeswoman for the property company, has said Eric Turner’s ownership stake is incorrect. She has declined to say how much he does own.