Political Notebook

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Avoiding a conflict

Opponents of tax breaks for a local company partly owned by Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters tried to get the incentives killed by insinuating the deal stunk of favoritism.

Peters, however, said such accusations are void of fact. The Fort Wayne City Council delayed granting a tax abatement to Calico Precision Molding on Tuesday after questions were raised about the company’s performance.

Labor supporters also questioned how people couldn’t be upset that one government would give tax incentives to a company partly owned by an executive of another government. Peters was listed as owning 10 percent of the company, according to the tax abatement filing.

“There is very little faith that this is anything more than an insiders’ game,” said Tom Lewandowski, president of the Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Peters on Wednesday, however, said he hadn’t heard any concerns about the abatement until being contacted by The Journal Gazette. He said he hasn’t spoken to a single member of the city’s administration or council about the proposal.

“I purposely stayed away from that entire debate,” he said. “I didn’t even want the slightest specter of conflict of interest.”

Whether Peters could have even influenced the city if he wanted to is another question. The two governments have not always had the best working relationship.

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