Off-the-record transactions 

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Thumbs down: Off-the-record transactions

Indianapolis Star reporters did a stellar job identifying a series of questionable real-estate transactions along the I-69 route - dozens of cases in which officials paid more than twice the appraised value with no written justification and, in certain Daviess County transactions, a payout range from $4,000 to $20,000 an acre. Also, the series of land sales linked to Troy Woodruff, a high-ranking INDOT official, which netted his family a 83 percent gain and which he neglected to report to state ethics officials. The lead to one of these stories speaks volumes: "State officials can't tell you why they paid the family of a powerful Indiana Department of Transportation chief more than $1.8 million for land on the I-69 project. They know, but it's a secret." If state officials love transparency and fiscal accountability as much as they claim, they cannot let INDOT proceed unchecked with its policy of keeping under confidential seal the records of land purchased for government projects. Time for a gut check, folks.


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