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Daniels speaks out about IPALCO investigation

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Kevin Rader/Political Reporter

Indianapolis, Jan. 30 - "When I retired I was getting interest on my stock. I said, 'There are a lot of things I can do with that,' and I don't have that now." What 83-year-old Margorie Young does have is a desire to see someone held accountable.

When Indianapolis Power and Light Company merged with AES in 2001, Margorie's 7,000 shares she'd amassed during her 31-year career at IPALCO were locked up in the company 401K plan.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels, then serving on the company Board of Directors, voted for the merger. "When I voted aye I voted for $25 a share for every stock. That was at $17 and headed for $12. No one in that position would vote any other way on the facts we had."

A class action lawsuit filed against AES alleges the merger was fraudulent and top executives reaped millions selling stock before the deal went through while many employees like Margorie Young saw the stock drop. "It didn't drop. It just fell."

Daniels, who is not named in the lawsuit, gave a third party deposition where he said the IPALCO board agreed the AES sale was the best thing to do.

Why did you believe that to be the case, he was asked. Daniels responded, "That judgement was the product of a lengthy period of study and presentations to the board. Debate within the board and, of course a careful study of the specific offer, as well as others that had been tentatively made to the company."

He went on to acknowledge he could have put his assets in a blind trust, but opted to completely divest all family investments instead.

Democrats argue he bought and sold the stock all within one week. He earned $1.4 million from the sale, most of which he donated to charity.

"The sadness is that profit was not retained by every shareholder over the long term and that, of course, bothers me."

Earlier in the week the Secretary of State cleared Daniels of any wrongdoing in the case as a former state securities commissioner alleged no real investigation even took place.

Secretary of State Todd Rokita responded, "First of all, it's a very thorough investigation. It is my understanding it is the biggest investigation the securities division has ever done."

Margorie Young isn't sure about Daniels' bid for governor. "I get kind of hurt. Is he going to be fair with us?"

"If put to a choice between a choice of integrity or being governor, it's not a close call," says Daniels. "I want the reputation."

Daniels' integrity in this case could become an issue in this campaign if Democrats have their way. Democrats have long hoped to use this as a balance against the charges of mismanagement and scandal Republicans are using against the administration.

To reiterate, despite all that is being made of this, keep in mind, Mitch Daniels is not currently named in any lawsuit dealing with the AES-IPALCO merger.

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