Exclusive: Indiana State Treasurer Mourdock explains homestead exemption mistake


INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana state official now running for US Senate took more tax breaks than allowed.

In our exclusive story, we investigate how State Treasurer Richard Mourdock took more tax credits than are allowed in Indiana.

Marion County has been cracking down on homeowners who have more than one homestead credit exemption for the past few years. No one ever expected that it could include Indiana's state treasurer.

Eyewitness News has discovered that Richard Mourdock has a homestead exemption on a home on Ridge Knoll in Evansville, Indiana and he has a second homestead exemption on a north New Jersey St. condominium in Indianapolis which he purchased in 2007.

Mourdock is currently challenging longtime incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar for the Republican nomination for United States Senate. Eyewitness News spoke to Mourdock, who is currently out of the country, by telephone and asked him about the problem.

"I remember filing out one of the forms to indeed cancel the homestead property tax credit. That's why I thought this problem had been solved at the time. It wasn't until June of this year that I found out that form had been lost down there so I filled out another form to cancel the homestead credit and made all of the arrangements to pay all the back taxes in excess of what they normally collect in this situation," he said.

In fact, Mourdock even has a form from the Marion County auditor's office admitting to the mix-up.

Marion County Deputy Auditor Claudia Fuentes wrote this memo on June 3, 2011: "Homestead deduction was not removed from property in error. The deduction was applied for by previous owner. Certified statement verified information."

The only problem with that is the amount of time that elapsed. That means Treasurer Mourdock had the homestead exemption credit in 2008, 2009, 2010 until he finally noticed it in 2011 when he was checking personal records prior to his run for Senate.

"The reality is I ran for re-election last year as state treasurer. If I had known before that election I would have gone in, I mean, if you want to take that line of thinking that I was trying to hide the fact, believe me it would have been just as damaging to me politically last year as this year. I fixed it at the first opportunity the exact day I found out about the problem. If I had found out about it in 2008, 2009 or 2010 I would have dealt with it the same day," he said.

Counties throughout the state have been working to close loopholes on multiple homestead deductions but there is still plenty of work to be done when it comes to properties in differing counties.