Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Financial Deals Hound Treasurer Hopefuls ; Candidates Each Have Past Actions to Address

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Financial Deals Hound Treasurer Hopefuls ; Candidates Each Have Past Actions to Address

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Financial questions from years-old deals are dogging two top candidates seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer and evoking memories of previous intraparty battles. For Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, questions about a deal to redevelop a former YMCA building in the city's core have bubbled up. A fight among church officials over a land sale has crept into financial adviser Don Bates' race.

Both cases are old transactions, but the questions have persisted as each man seeks the Republican Party's nod to become one of the state's chief investment officers.

Seybold, Bates and Kelly Mitchell, a top staffer in the treasurer's office, will seek the nomination next week during the Republican Party convention in Fort Wayne. The three are looking to replace Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in November.

TIF LOAN

Seybold faces scrutiny over a $2.5 million loan Marion made in 2009 to a Korean businessman, Michael An.

The money was offered through tax-increment financing, a popular economic development tool that provides developers money up front in return for the guarantee their property tax payments will repay that debt in the future.

But The Marion Chronicle-Tribune has reported extensively on questions about the deal - including whether the money was spent properly and if it will be repaid to the city. The paper's most recent story focused on a city refinancing of that loan in 2011 that decoupled the property tax payments from the loan, leaving open the possibility it may not be repaid if the project falls through.

Seybold said last week that the questions have been blown out of proportion and that the project is moving forward after hitting some road bumps. He calls the redevelopment of the former YMCA building crucial to his city's rehabilitation.

And he blames political opponents, including Grant County Democrats, for trying to take advantage of the statewide attention being paid to him as he runs for treasurer. …

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