Business, Economy and Consumer Affairs

Indiana-based American Senior Communities is suing its former executives over claims they embezzled millions from the nursing home company in a years-long kickback scheme.

The civil suit follows a major federal money laundering and fraud indictment last fall.

Former American Senior Communities CEO James Burkhart and his COO Daniel Benson were indicted in October 2016 on charges of money laundering and fraud.
J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has returned from the state’s economic development trip to Japan, where he visited with executives of two long-time Montgomery County employers.

Barton says city officials have begun trying to get other prospective Japanese investors with whom the mayor had contact to travel to Indiana.

Lake County and East Chicago could have new affordable housing by 2020 as part of a state tax credit program called Moving Forward.

It’s how officials plan to fulfill their promise to help East Chicago residents displaced by lead contamination.

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority executive director Jake Sipe says Moving Forward tries to rethink affordable housing as about more than just a number of units.

Indiana’s unemployment rate last month took its largest single-month jump in more than eight years.

Four months ago, Indiana’s unemployment rate had its biggest one-month improvement in more than 20 years. That trend is now going the other direction in August, as the state suffered its largest single-month increase in the unemployment rate since March of 2009.

courtesy Purdue University

Purdue is set to receive almost $20 million from the National Science Foundation to run a research center studying what its leaders are calling “bridge fuels” – in other words, fuel made from gas that's trapped in underground rock. It's extracted through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The researchers say it’ll be needed to satisfy the country’s demand for oil until renewable resources like wind and solar become dominant in the future.

But there was no mention of the “f-word” – fracking -- during a public celebration of the grant or in any of the promotional materials concerning it.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

The city of West Lafayette has canceled its plan to block off State Street and Northwestern Avenue after blowback from local businesses.

After the announcement of the closure, dozens of State Street business owners signed a petition to stop the closures that would’ve taken place on Purdue’s homecoming game day.

The owners, including John von Erdmannsdorff of Von’s Shops, say it would’ve made customers avoid the area.

He says it would be plausible for a special outdoor event like a festival, but not for Purdue’s homecoming football game.

UPDATE: Indianapolis officials have since announced their plans to formally bid for the Amazon project. Read the story here

State officials won’t say if Indianapolis will join the race to house Amazon’s next headquarters. And despite the Hoosier capital’s push to become a tech hub, analysts say the it may face an uphill battle if it opts to bid on the massive project.

Indiana economic development officials are in Japan this week to bolster relationships with the Hoosier State’s top source of foreign investment.

The Asian nation backs more business in Indiana than in any other state – especially in the automotive sector, at Honda, Toyota, Subaru and their suppliers.

And that investment isn’t just about jobs. Those big Japanese-owned factories are also huge energy consumers. That’s why Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Japan trip includes power company executives, such as Harold Gutzwiller of Hoosier Energy in Bloomington.

The $130-billion merger of chemical and material manufacturing giants Dow and DuPont is now official, nearly two years after it was first announced.

In the next 18 months, the newly created DowDuPont will split into three businesses – for material sciences, specialty products and agricultural chemicals.

The agriculture division stands to affect Indiana the most. Dow AgroSciences has 1,500 workers in Indianapolis, and more at seed and chemical dealerships statewide.

Indiana’s battle to collect online sales tax from businesses that don’t have a physical presence in the state will more likely play out in Congress than in the courts, says one economist.

Indiana does collect sales tax from companies such as Amazon, which has seven distribution centers across five counties.

But the state also wants to tax online retailers including Wayfair and Overstock, which don’t – but still earn more than $100,000 a year from Hoosiers.