Turner resigns Indiana House seat in wake of nursing home scandal

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INDIANAPOLIS — Embattled Rep. Eric Turner submitted his resignation from the Legislature with the promise that he leaves a decades-long career with his "head held high."

Turner mailed his resignation to House Speaker Brian Bosma on Monday, and it takes effect Nov. 30. Turner made no mention of the ethics scandal which spurred Bosma to remove him as House speaker pro tem and call for ethics reform to be a centerpiece of the 2015 session.

"I leave the Legislature with my honor, my integrity and my head held high, knowing for every one of the years I served, I always tried to do what was right," Turner wrote.

Instead, Turner focused in his one-page letter on the Christian megachurch group he is joining in Atlanta. He said his new job is "all volunteer, and I will pay all of my own expenses."

An Associated Press investigation earlier this year uncovered Turner's major financial stake in his family nursing home business, Mainstreet Property Group. Internal Mainstreet documents showed that Turner and other direct stakeholders made millions of dollars every time they built a new home and then sold it to another, affiliated company incorporated in Canada.

Turner worked in private meetings of House Republicans in the last session to defeat legislation that would have banned the construction of new nursing homes. The House Ethics Committee determined that Turner did not technically violate House ethics rules barring lawmakers from using the office for their own self-interest.

But shortly after Mainstreet announced it was being sold to another nursing home investor for $2.4 billion, House Speaker Brian Bosma announced that Turner would be removed as House speaker pro tem.

Bosma has promised that drafting new rules for financial disclosure and when lawmakers must recuse themselves on an issue will be a top priority during the upcoming session. The House Ethics Committee is planning to meet in December to consider new ethics rules.

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