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Woodruff I-69 Land Sale Controversy Will Not Go Away

Last updated on Friday, February 8, 2013

(WASHINGTON) - The scandal surrounding INDOT chief of staff Troy Woodruff will not go away.

The Associated Press reports that Governor Mike Pence has directed the inspector general's office "to make certain that the latest allegations are being thoroughly investigated."

At question is INDOT's purchase of land owned Woodruff and his family as part of the expansion of Interstate 69 for more than market value.

According to data provided by INDOT, Woodruff and family members sold land to INDOT for 43 percent more than the average per-acre payout to other Daviess County landowners for the I-69 project.

In 2010, Inspector General David Thomas had investigated Woodruff's sale of land in Daviess County to the state and found Woodruff didn't profit from the deal.

But legal experts say the legal opinions Thomas cited in clearing Woodruff were "flat-out wrong," ''inappropriate" and "odd."

Joel M. Schumm, professor criminal law at Indiana University is quoted saying: "Any lawyer or member of the public that looks at this report would be concerned. If you read the report, it doesn't dispel this idea that something wrong happened here."

Woodruff continues to claim nothing inappropriate took place. He says he didn't think he needed to seek an opinion from the state's Ethics Commission.

The Associated Press quoted Woodruff saying, "I wasn't in violation of any ethics laws - or any other laws, for that matter.

Governor Pence Weighs In On Woodruff Controversy

Governor Pence has weighed into the controversy swirling around former Daviess County resident and Knox County State Representative Woodruff.

Monday, Governor Pence's office says the Governor supports the public's right to know" and is willing to discuss whether the State should open records on appraisals and prices paid for land to build I-69.

An investigative report published in the Indianapolis Star on Sunday says that prices paid for land in the I-69 corridor varied greatly.

In Woodruff's case, the Star says it uncovered six land deals associated with I-69 that put $1.8 million into the pockets of Woodruff and various family members.

At the time Woodruff was a high ranking official in the Indiana Department of Transportation's Vincennes District which was in charge of the construction of the new Interstate.

In Sunday's article, the Inspector General's Office was accused of soft-peddling a 2010 ethics investigation into Woodruff's dealings.

Confronted with the new evidence, the Inspector General's Office is re-opening its investigation.

Woodruff No Stranger To Controversy.

His tenure in the General Assembly was cut short by voters when Woodruff cast the deciding vote in favor of former Governor Mitch Daniels controversial Time Zone initiative.

After the vote, Woodruff's wife was given a job at INDOT. A move which was seen by many as a reward for his vote.

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