Dunes privatization deal focus of Indiana House bill

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By: Brian Slodysko/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers want to breathe life into an embattled privatization deal allowing a well-connected Republican developer to bring fine dining and a bar to a state park nestled among the towering Lake Michigan dunes.

Rep. Sean Eberhart, a Shelbyville Republican, is pushing a measure to circumvent a state agency that denied a liquor permit to Valparaiso businessman Chuck Williams, who wants to refurbish a pavilion that has been in disrepair for decades.

Williams says a liquor license is needed to make a profit and a refusal to grant him one could void his contract, requiring the state to reimburse him.

Opponents say the deal is a suspicious sell-off of public land that should be free of commercials interests. And they question whether the state is getting a good value.