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Corridor to pay ISU Coach Rhoads to speak at annual meeting; refuses to disclose cost

Paul Rhoads, Iowa State football coach
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State football coach

MASON CITY – The North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation  has hired Iowa State Head Football Coach Paul Rhoads to deliver the keynote address at this year’s North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation Annual Meeting, the non-profit group recently announced.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held in June and it costs $25 for a ticket.

Rhoads has coached 4 years at Iowa State, with a record of 24–27 (.471). He has had records of 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, and 6-7 in 2012, losing to Tulsa 31-17 in the Liberty Bowl. It is not yet known what the topic of Rhoads’ speech will be, or if it will focus on how to rise up to be mediocre or slightly below average. “We are lucky to feature such a prominent speaker as our keynote; attendees- whether they are Cyclone fans or not- can expect to hear a powerful message and leave inspired,” Corridor Director Brent Willett stated.

Corridor Director Brent WIllett, silent on Corridor budget and expenditures
Corridor Director Brent Willett, silent on Corridor budget and expenditures
To date, despite a number of attempts to ascertain the cost of hiring Rhodes to speak, North Iowa Corridor Director Brent Willett and Corridor Board member Brent Trout have refused to divulge the amount paid to Rhodes to come to Mason City and deliver a speech.

The North Iowa Corridor receives well over $200,000 per year in public/taxpayer money from Mason City, Clear Lake, and Cerro Gordo County.  The Corridor has not, in years, faced any scrutiny from any of the three governing bodies which fund its existence.  NIT has argued that the Corridor has not brought any new jobs nor industry to the North Iowa area in years, yet it is funded the same every year with no scrutiny.

Due to mostly dead ends with Trout and Willett, NIT has now contacted Board member and City Council member Travis Hickey and asked for Rhodes’ fee, as well as a detailed budget from the Corridor. Trout and Willett have refused to divulge a detailed budget from the Corridor. Trout sent documents to NIT that stated the Corridor’s mission statement and other information and then lastly listed basic budget information that does not say who the Corridor paid on any of the items. One item states “Rent” of $26,000 for 2013. Since the Corridor uses office space at the North Iowa Commerce Center, which is owned by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, it could be safe to assume that the North Iowa Corridor is paying the Chamber of Commerce rent of $26,000 per year.

NIT will report more on the Corridor’s budget and expenditures soon, if information can be gathered.

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