MASON CITY – NIT Publisher Matt Marquardt was forced to leave a meeting of elected officials Wednesday at the Mason City Public Library.
Marquardt went to the library to cover a meeting that was called a “mayors luncheon” on a publicly posted agenda of meetings from the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse.
“I saw the meeting on the County Board of Supervisors’ meeting agenda for Wednesday,” Marquardt explained. “What would be more newsworthy than a room full of Mayors, Supervisors and other elected officials?”
Those in attendance included City Administrator Brent Trout, Mason City Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crabb, Nora Springs Mayor George Anderson, Mason City Council member Scott Tornquist, and Cerro Gordo County Supervisors Urdahl and Bob Amosson, among others.
At the meeting, which was held in a second floor board room at the Mason City Public Library Wednesday at noon, a sign on the open door said only “MAYORS LUNCHEON.”
Marquardt, in an attempt to cover the meeting for a news story, entered the board room where the meeting was being held.
Within a few seconds of entering the room, Marquardt was spotted by Trout, Bookmeyer and Urdahl. Bookmeyer immediately motioned to Trout and stepped aside, allowing Trout to advance towards Marquardt (see video below).
Trout told Marquardt that he was “not invited” and had to leave as he crowded Marquardt out of the room towards the door, blocking his view. Marquardt refused to leave, identified himself as a member of the press, and told Trout that he could call police if chose to as the room full of elected officials filled their plates and ate.
“The people of Mason City are not invited,” Trout told Marquardt. (See video.)
Trout then told Marquardt that he would call the police, and proceeded to do so. After Trout stepped aside, Marquardt walked further into the room and shot about 3-4 still shots and about 10 more seconds of video of the elected officials eating and then met Trout outside the board room.
Marquardt and Trout were then escorted downstairs to a first-floor classroom by Library Director Mary Markwalter where they waited for Mason City Police to arrive.
Ten minutes and 30 seconds later, Mason City Police Chief Michael Lashbrook, accompanied by another officer, entered the room where Trout and Marquardt were waiting.
Trout confirmed in the discussion that followed that Eric Bookmeyer was acting in his capacity as Mayor of Mason City at the meeting.
See video, below, for that discussion.
County Supervisor agenda:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2013
9:00 a.m. Press Conference – Iowa Citizen Action Network on Medicaid Expansion in Boardroom (a)
10:00 a.m. County Social Services Board Meeting – Butler County Courthouse – Dougherty
12:00 p.m. Mayors Luncheon – Mason City Library Boardroom – Urdahl & Amosson
1:30 p.m. Meeting with McGladrey LLP – Board’s Office – Urdahl (a)