- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TIPTON, Ind. (AP) - In a story Dec. 16 about the appointment of Tony Cook to the Indiana General Assembly, The Associated Press misspelled the name of a lawmaker who urged Cook to seek the seat. She is Kathy Richardson, not Cathy Richardson.

In the same story, the AP also reported erroneously that Turner’s family business, Mainstreet Properties, was being sold to a nursing home company in Ohio. Instead, HealtxhLease Properties in Canada, which was started by Turner’s son, Zeke, was sold to the Ohio company. The Ohio company also agreed to buy properties from Mainstreet once they’re complete.

A corrected version of the story is below:

GOP chooses ex-school official to replace Turner

Republicans choose ex-school district official to serve out ex-state Rep. Eric Turner’s term

TIPTON, Ind. (AP) - A former central Indiana educator has been chosen to serve the two-year term of former state Rep. Eric Turner, who resigned last month after being the subject of a state ethics investigation.

Republican Party precinct committee members chose Tony Cook, 63, during a Monday night caucus in Tipton to serve out Turner’s term, The Herald Bulletin reported.

“I’m excited and ready to go,” the former Hamilton Heights School Corp. superintendent told the precinct gathering.

Cook was the only person to declare his candidacy to replace Turner. He said his career in education, including managing multimillion dollar budgets and communicating with the public, has helped him develop the skills needed to be a successful lawmaker.

State Rep. Kathy Richardson, who encouraged Cook to seek Turner’s vacant seat, said Cook’s career has “prepared him well” to represent Turner’s former House district.

Turner became the focus of a House ethics investigation earlier this year after he privately lobbied lawmakers to kill legislation that could have cost his family’s nursing home business millions of dollars.

An Associated Press investigation 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 lawmakers’ 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 House Speaker Brian Bosma announced later that Turner would be removed as House speaker pro tem.

Turner had announced before the November election that he would resign from his seat if he was re-elected. He announced last month that he had accepted a job with a Christian megachurch in Atlanta, Georgia. Turner made no mention of the ethics scandal in that announcement, but said he leaves the Legislature with his “head held high.”

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