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NI Corridor denies DM Register public information request


This news story was published on May 19, 2014.
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North Iowa Commerce Center, formerly a broken-down slum, refurbished with at least $1.5 million in state dollars

North Iowa Commerce Center – formerly a broken-down slum, refurbished with at least $1.5 million in state dollars – now home to MC Chamber of Commerce and NI Corridor

DES MOINES – The Des Moines Register is finding out that the North Iowa Corridor is more like a dark cave, and to navigate it, you will need to bring your own flashlight, because there are no tour guides.

Today, a Des Moines Register investigative reporter wrote an in-depth article on the shroud that has fallen over North Iowa. The reporter is finding out that all roads lead back to 9 North Federal Avenue, a multi-million dollar building owned by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, where the North Iowa Corridor calls home. These semi-public agencies are being used by elected officials to hide information from taxpayers, to “get things done” that otherwise might not happen, or would take more work to get done. The gist of their ideology is “give us your (public) money, we will make life better for you, but don’t question us on how we did it.”

Right now – courtesy of the Corridor – we have a couple dozen $9.50 per hour jobs that came to Mason City and no certain guarantee that a Fortune 100 company will take over for a shell company that got a sweet deal from taxpayers and come to Clear Lake – the Fortune 100 could pull out before we ever know its identity. We also have a few good old boy businesses that moved across town, too, and that is called economic development (See: Metalcraft) by the Corridor and its cheerleaders (city hall, Globe Gazette, board of supervisors).  The public continues to pour hundreds of thousands into this charade every year.

According to the reporter from the Register:

“Last week, I filed an open records request with the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp., asking the interim president for the name of the Fortune 100 company and related communications. He said no such records exist and said the agency ‘is a registered private nonprofit corporation and is not a government body.'”

I wish the Register luck in its endeavors.  Will a truly unbiased, first-class media such as the Des Moines Register be able to crack this veil of secrecy?  Many of us in North Iowa will be watching to see this outcome.

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21 Responses to NI Corridor denies DM Register public information request

  1. Koch Brothers Reply Report comment

    May 23, 2014 at 3:59 am

    This is how Koch Industries has been slithering in to new areas for years. Yeah with all the kickbacks for the officials would you want some paper like NIT to chase out a chemical processing storage facility…I mean warehouse. Enjoy the smell and dangers in your community….with their track record you are going to need it.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      May 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

      This has absolutely nothing to do with the article.

  2. David Aames Reply Report comment

    May 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I like Matt and admire his entrepreneurship. There aren’t many of us that have the guts it takes to start your own business and the conviction to stay true to your dream. Now, having said that, I do not believe that there is anything legally or otherwise wrong with the way the NICEDC conducts its business – for the most part. I think its lack of openness with the public is a necessary aspect of doing business in the economic development world.

    • David Aames Reply Report comment

      May 20, 2014 at 7:08 am

      The articles written by the DM Register’s bulldog are no better done than anything Matt has written on this site. In fact, I would consider Matt’s work a little more thorough. The bulldog’s articles lacked focus and failed to draw any real meaningful conclusions whatsoever. The business receiving the incentives in Clear Lake is well known to the public as Windmill Realty LLC. The leaders there played by the rules and that should be respected. The fact is the NICEDC had little to do with…

      • David Aames Reply Report comment

        May 20, 2014 at 7:12 am

        success. The facts, as I know them, are: 1. the City of CL and CG County approved an incentive deal for a placeholder LLC who is serving as an interim project developer; 2. the City and County both hold authority to approve the assignment of the development agreement from Windmill to whomever; 3.unless 164 jobs, $19 million tax base, and $6.5 million payroll are created there will be no incentives; 4. there is no assurance that a Fortune 100 Company will be the assignee, but it is highly likely

        • David Aames Reply Report comment

          May 20, 2014 at 7:16 am

          But perhaps most astonishing to me is that the bulldog and her so called authorities were so baffled that no public records exist identifying this reported Fortune 100 Company. Look at the situation mrs bulldog. Huge efforts have been made by the company and its agents NOT to disclose this company’s name publicly yet and you really think someone from that company has sent an email on company stationary to the Mayor and he has it in a project file or on his computer??? Goodness, this bulldog is

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      May 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      I’ll agree with you … to a point. I say, let the NICEDC do as it pleases. Who am I to say it should not be in business. However, I have serious misgivings about how it operates, who it is attempting to benefit, and the real outcomes of its activities for the common citizens. Based on the fact that the NICEDC is closed to the public, has brought few and extremely limited results, spends lavishly on anything it pleases, and has lax oversight from corrupt elected leaders, it is time (again) to stop the public funding to this agency and create a new agency tasked with bringing jobs and economic development to NI (not just retainment of existing businesses). An agency that is 100% open to the public, an agency where any average Joe can walk in off the street and ask for help, direction, possible funding sources, etc etc for his business. An agency where all localities in the county are chipping in financially and have a stake in its success. There should be no board (as the NICEDC has, which is stocked with good old boys) and simply have the agency submit (very detailed) monthly spending AND activity reports, published to its website. I could go on. As for the NICEDC, pull the plug on public funding and let it go rudderless into space. If it survives, fine; it can compete with its ugly cousin the Chamber of Commerce for dues from member businesses. That would be a lovely cage match.

      • David Aames Reply Report comment

        May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

        I don’t, to a large extent, disagree with you Matt.
        The public should be able to walk in to that office, no different
        than they can City Hall. Many of the former directors have
        come across too superior in their approach. There are far
        greater problems in Mason City and the biggest one
        wears a cape most days and works for the school masquerading as
        someone who is capable of leading our district.

    • Philosophus Reply Report comment

      May 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

      You sir are completely oblivious to how a free & democratic, open, transparent government is supposed to work. You speak more true to a Monarchy, where kings, queens, lordes, and barons made decisions for the peasants while commanding the fruits of their labors. A functioning democracy allows the people to make the decisions for their community, not a group of plutarchial, pseudo aristocrats.

      • Philosophus Reply Report comment

        May 21, 2014 at 7:00 am

        You can apologize for the clear lake city council all you want, but in my assessment after direct experience, they engage in quid pro quo, cronyism behavior. I know this to be absolute certainty; subsequently secret desls do not surprise me. Without a knowledgeable, informed, and proactive public, they enjoy free reign. Who in the hell invests 2 million dollars in a business without knowing what it is? That’s ludicrous, blind, faith-based, brain washed behavior. Simpletons.

        • Philosophus Reply Report comment

          May 21, 2014 at 7:14 am

          Most people are appointed to the clear lake city council by the blessings of Scott Florey, who is the city administrator and godfather of the city. Jim Boenke walked in unoppossed, as a consolation for not winning the Vets golf course bid. Terry Upshaw was appointed by Florey with no election when a councilman was forced to resign. Most of theme in their seats unoppossed. Dana Brant lives off his wife’s wealth, and Hugi is a friend and insider to business as usual.

          • Philosophus

            May 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

            And to help you understand the intelligence level of the voters in clear lake here’s a point of interest: the councilman who was forced to resign had won his seat as a joke by his friends who nominated him to the ballot. He beat the encumbent who was said to be a very good councilman & happens to be homosexual. He told me he was surprised he won. So if the town votes for prank candidates, what the hell can be expected from them? I moved out. Done with the dumb ass place.

          • Anonymous

            May 21, 2014 at 7:48 am

            Now if we could only get you to give up on north iowa today like you promised…

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 20, 2014 at 6:48 am

    “Cult” would be the best word to describe the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp. and Mason City Chamber of Commerce.

    They have some mighty strange people that work and belong theses cults.

    Secrecy are part and parcel how cults operate.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      May 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm


      CULT LEADER?
      Robin “Thriller” Anderson

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      May 21, 2014 at 9:56 am

      @Anonymous-I agree with you. However, I would throw in the city council too. They are all tied in together.

  4. jr herr Reply Report comment

    May 20, 2014 at 2:04 am

    If there isn’t anything to hide why would they not be upfront and settle all this,with some real numbers to backup they are worth every penny we support them with.Seems to me you have alot of do as I say because you yourself do not any better,that is the attitude alot of people in our local goverment(use that term very loose) have for the average citizen it appears.If your one of their cronies open checkbook and do whatever you want we can always get more.

  5. Jason Reply Report comment

    May 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Really nice to see it HERE on NIT first Matt!!
    Tickled to see front page headlines in the Des Moines Register—IF ONLY we had a local paper that did actual reporting——

  6. LVS Reply Report comment

    May 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    If the corridor takes public money then they should have to comply with public rules. It is time they went away and they need to take Robin Anderson with them when the go. Oh yes, and those ugly statues can go too.

  7. Rahmbo Reply Report comment

    May 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    These so-called private-public partnerships serve two purposes: 1. to facilitate the transfer of public property (in this case taxes) to the private sector and 2. to do so without the standard checks and balances that are basic to democratic governance.