(04/08/2005)
A former state senator appears to have walked through a wide-hole maintained by the State Ethics Commission.

The Commission has dismissed an ethics complaint against Mike Ross, who was defeated in last fall's election.

The commission says Ross did not benefit directly from a State Economic Development grant on which he voted to spend state funds to promote a golf tournament on a course with financial ties to his company.

Through his business, Ross had loaned friends $7.7 million dollars to buy the Pete Dye Golf Club, and received 150 acres in nearby land as collateral. That land will reportedly be developed for housing.

Ross and Gilmer County businessman Ike Morris reportedly received numerous perks for their dealings with the golf course.

Commission Chairman John Charnock says the commission believed Ross should have recused himself from voting, but that wouldn't have been a violation of state ethics law.

Ross has maintained he did nothing wrong.


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