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Treasurer Candidate Faces Questions About Background

Ira L. Brody, state treasurer candidates Ira L. Brody, state treasurer candidates

He raised tens of thousands of dollars to put Republicans in charge of Tennessee's legislature.

And now Ira Brody has emerged as one of the GOP's leading contenders to be state treasurer.

But who is he, and why does he have so much trouble answering questions about his background?

Friday, he went one-on-one with our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.

Interviewing with Republican lawmakers for the state treasurer's job, former New York investment banker Ira Brody repeatedly characterized himself as a Tennessean with well-established roots. Here's what he told Phil Williams:

Brody: "I moved to Tennessee, I think, almost five years ago."
Williams: "What year was that?"
Brody: "2004."

That's what he also put on his application for the job. But just try to pin him down on exactly when.

Williams: "At what point in 2004 was that?"
Brody: "Early, middle to late -- somewhere in there."

So why do his New York voting records, obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, show him casting his ballot there in late 2005?

Williams: "We checked your voting records in New York, and you were still voting in New York in 2004 and 2005."
Brody: "I'm pretty sure, the last time I voted in New York. I wasn't sure when I shifted my voter registration. I still do own property in New York."
Williams: "So you were a resident of Tennessee and still voting in New York?"
Brody: "I had property there and I don't think I shifted my registration at that time. That may have been the case. I don't remember exactly."

Which raises the question: was the man who wants to control your money even paying Tennessee taxes in 2004?

Brody: "New York has an income tax so as a result I was still paying an income tax in New York at the time."
Williams: "Are you aware that Tennessee has something called a Hall income tax?"
Brody: "A Hall income tax?"

That's the tax on dividends from stocks and bonds -- the type of investments he'd be controlling as state treasurer.

Brody: "In 2006 and 2007, I had to pay some. I didn't have any qualifying income at that point. I don't invest in stocks and bonds."

Campaign financial disclosures filed by the House Republican Caucus in 2008 list Brody's address in Rye, NY, for two in-kind contributions of $11,285 and $19,800.

Then there are questions about his interest in the investment firm, InsCap -- which our investigation revealed has tried to do business with the state.

Brody: "I severed that relationship. I was a partner until December 31st.

In fact, our investigation discovered InsCap has a luxury suite at LP Field -- which has become the scene for some of Brody's power plays.

Williams: "Have you entertained lawmakers in that suite?"
Brody: "I've invited some of my friends to some games, yes."
Williams: "Lawmakers?"
Brody: "Yes."
Williams: "Who will be in a position to vote?"
Brody: "Yes."

And get this: Brody confirms he's invited some lawmakers to InsCap's suite for this weekend's big playoff game.

Still, he doesn't see a problem.

Brody: "I'm not using their suite. I purchased the tickets to the game."
Williams: "In their suite?"
Brody: "In their suite, yes, absolutely."
Williams: "You don't see that that shows there is still some sort of connection?"
Brody: "There is a connection. It's an arms-length transaction between two parties to buy tickets to a game. So, no, I do miss that -- I'm sorry."

And Brody confirms that top Republican leaders have been in that suite, to raise the money that's put them in control of the Senate and House.

Now, he's asking them to put him in charge of more than 30 billion dollars of your money.

Republicans will meet Monday to nominate their candidates for the state three constitutional officer jobs -- the treasurer, comptroller and secretary of state.

The full General Assembly will then vote on Wednesday.

Web Extra:  Brody told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that he would actively consider an idea to take out life insurance policies on state retirees, but structured differently than the "ghoulish" plan pitched by InsCap's predecessor company in 2003. That plan was first revealed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates. Brody said the state could take out term life insurance policies on retirees, then issue no-risk bonds to take out loans with those policies as collateral. Those loans would be used to buy life-insurance annuities that would make payouts to the retirement fund as long as the retirees lived.

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