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Marquardt exposes sham of “human rights symposium”, accuses Robin Anderson and Tim Ackerman of assault (video & photos)

by Matt Marquardt, Publisher –

Robin Anderson attacks
Robin Anderson attacks

By now, some of you have heard that there was an incident at a “human rights symposium” held Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, an event presented by state employees and with locally-appointed and elected public officials in attendance.  I have spoken to police and attempted to file assault charges against two individuals who, at this meeting, came into physical contact with me, attempted to prevent me from doing my job, and generally attempted to intimidate me and place fear within me. I found the actions of both individuals to be offensive and insulting, not to mention despicable and classless. Those two persons are Chamber of Commerce Director Robin Anderson and freelance reporter Tim Ackerman, who creates content for the Globe Gazette.

I did attend this meeting as a member of the media; I have been a media member for over 4 years.  I was called a “blogger” on TV Tuesday night; just another attempt to undermine and steal the voice NIT has built.  I wore clothing Tuesday that clearly displayed that I was working for local news. I did attend with the purpose of getting some answers. I asked some tough questions, and the two women from the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in Des Moines who were making the presentation answered them as I posed them, and continued right along with their presentation; they were generally good sports. Never was I asked to leave or stop asking questions by these two ladies. In fact, I only asked a few questions before Anderson and Ackerman crossed the room, separately, near the end of the one-hour presentation, and made physical contact with me. I have plenty of video to prove what happened at this incident. Video of Anderson’s assault against me was aired on KIMT TV as well, from a different angle.  It shows her reach for and grab my arm.  She did not like the questions I asked.  Ackerman approached a few seconds later. He bumped me, stepped on my foot and breathed on my face. I could smell his warm, disgusting garlic breath. I was extremely upset at that point, but generally held my composure. I tried to continue on working.

Robin Anderson attacks
Robin Anderson attacks

If a citizen, let alone a member of the media, cannot question government officials, do we still live in America or someplace else? These women drove to Mason City on the taxpayer’s dime. They work for the state of Iowa. Are they above questioning? Robin Anderson’s offices were paid for with $1.5 million in state dollars, by the way.  Why is no one asking these people any questions about their conduct?  The human rights issue has been huge in Mason City over the past year and longer.  Why did no other media question these state officials, who are charged with handling all our human rights complaints?  The Globe Gazette and KIMT should be ashamed of themselves for not being real journalists and asking questions.  They are the true frauds in Mason City.  KGLO did not even bother to attend at all.

That begs the next question. When is it OK to touch someone, to grab their arm, to bump them on purpose, with bad intent?  This is a real can of worms law enforcement is faced with. If they say it is OK to do as Ackerman and Anderson did, this gives license to much worse by others.  We can all now grab anyone we like and not fear police action.  We can bump and step on people we do not like, bully them, and know that the law is on our side.  Police need to do the right thing and arrest them both, immediately. Anyone arrested for assault for less than what they did should come forward.  Police right now are telling me this is a “high profile case” and will likely refuse to file charges unless I turn over all 45 minutes of video from the presentation and even then it could be a lost cause.  I know they fear Robin Anderson and City Hall on this one, and I fear no charges will be brought at all.  If Mason City police cannot handle this situation, then they need to bring in an outside agency that does not fear Anderson and her crew.

Iowa code states:

An assault as defined in this section is a general intent crime.
A person commits an assault when, without justification, the person
does any of the following:
1. Any act which is intended to cause pain or injury to, or which
is intended to result in physical contact which will be insulting or
offensive to another, coupled with the apparent ability to execute
the act.
2. Any act which is intended to place another in fear of
immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious,
insulting, or offensive, coupled with the apparent ability to execute
the act.

About the event itself. It was not well-attended. I counted 16 people in attendance, including myself. Two people were the ladies from the Iowa Civil Rights Commission; three were members of the media; another two were City Administrator Brent Trout and council member Janet Solberg; three more were Anderson, her coffee boy (and employee) Tanner O’Brien and his mother Jodi O’Brien. Julie Valencia, Mark Stanton and Ann Harty of the Mason City Human Rights Commission were there. The other three people I do not know.  Pretty much all of these people are juiced into the Mason City good old boy system.  The Chamber Offices are in downtown Mason City and surrounded by businesses. Hardly anyone took the time to attend. Maybe area business owners didn’t know about it or didn’t want to pay Robin $10 for half a sub, a cookie and a bottle of water. I am checking to see how much it cost the City to rent the room from Anderson. I am guessing it was not free, but there is a conference room at City Hall plenty big enough to hold twice this number of people.  I am also betting the city bought lunch for Trout, Solberg and the Human Rights Commissioners.  I hope we are all enjoying our 10% tax hike with another looming.

Since when is human rights about collecting money, making a profit and holding semi-secret meetings?  Is our government not here to serve us?  Do we not pay taxes for these programs?  Did you know that, for example, the next human rights training event held in Iowa City, previously announced for November 12, is touted as “ideal for service providers, store owners/managers, restaurant owners/managers, hotel owners/managers, mall management as well as the general public to understand and learn your rights” and will be held at the public library.  Everyone is invited, openly, to attend.

Seconds later, Tim Ackerman, working for the Globe Gazette, advances across the room and makes contact with Marquardt
Seconds later, Tim Ackerman, working for the Globe Gazette, advances across the room and makes contact with Marquardt

That’s not how Mason City advertised their human rights event.  It was only announced on October 6 that this event would be held – less than 8 days later. The city wrote on its website and via Facebook that “Cost is $10 and includes lunch.” (See screenshots, below.)  The cost alone excludes many here in Mason City from even considering attending.  When I arrived this afternoon to attend, there were no signs or anything indicating the event was taking place. I entered Robin’s palace and asked the front counter lady and she said to go to the third floor. It is my opinion, that the general public was not wanted there. No, city leaders running this event did not explicitly say this, of course; they are way too slick to make that mistake. However, charging a fee, giving little to no notice of the event and the fact it was held almost in secret upstairs at the Chamber of Commerce made it clear to me that the average person was not wanted there. In fact, the event was only for employers; employees were not invited. I said during the meeting that the information being given was nothing more than a cheat sheet for bosses on how not to get caught or sued for abusing employees.  Maybe Robin Anderson and Tim Ackerman took offense to that.  I think they were pissed the minute I walked in the room.

At any rate, I do what I do because the entitlement and free pass that this small group of people here in Mason City has taken for itself amounts to a hijacking of the community.  Most people have no say in anything, and don’t take the opportunity to get involved when they have the chance.  So, what we are left with is a perversion of how things should be handled, and this “human rights symposium” is a result.

You can be sure I will continue to be a thorn in their side.

“Not So Blurred Lines: Harassment in the Workplace" Employees were not invited - only employers and bosses.
“Not So Blurred Lines: Harassment in the Workplace”
Employees were not invited – only employers and bosses.
City charges $10 to learn about Human Rights. Taxes aren't enough.
City charges $10 to learn about Human Rights, with public officials in attendance. Taxes aren’t enough anymore.
 City charges $10 to learn about Human Rights, with public officials in attendance. Taxes aren't enough.
City charges $10 to learn about Human Rights, with public officials in attendance. Taxes aren’t enough anymore.
Event was not well attended.
Event was not well attended.
Janet Solberg's $10 lunch
Janet Solberg’s $10 lunch.  Who paid for it?

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This was at a HR meeting to help employers identify and prevent harassment in the work place. Than Robin, in her displeasure with Matt, put her hands on him. Regardless of public opinion on how “mild” it was. You can’t do that! Than Tim darts in and bullies his way into Matt’s personal space. Those presenters had to be completely dumbfounded. Sure Matt may have been talking out of turn but come on.

I would like to say I do look at NIT from time to time and noticed it covers mostly “bad” topics from this area and not much of the “good” stories. I watch/read/listen to most local news sorices from the area and it seems to me that NIT likes to paint a negative light on North Iowa. Maybe if it was a little more balanced with what is reported people would be more apt to read and support your site. As for the video and story above. I see it as childish and was unfair to the presenters.

I believe they were the professional ones in this situation. It makes Mason City look like a joke and makes NIT look unprofessional as well. I understand Matt likes to get expose issues that due not get covered normal, but that is the worst way to do it and also kills the credibility of Matt and NIT. Just my observation.

@Rob-there is a good reason you are not on here much. No one cares about you establishment opinion. Go play with your buddy’s at the country club.

actually I don’t play golf or go to country clubs, but thanks for the idea. 🙂

@Rob-maybe you should take up golf and the country club. You would fit right in.

an opposing view or observation does not make it an “establishment” opinion. To assume I am apart of an “establishment” based of one comment makes you seem uneducated or misinformed. I am not part of any “establishment”. Now the Hawkeyes are on so enjoy your day sir.

Rob’ Are you kidding me? This was a meeting about harassment in the work place. If anyone was Unprofessional it was Robin & Tim they made a perfect example of what your NOT suppose to do. The look on those two Ladies faces was priceless. Some of you people are seriously not getting the point.
Good job Matt!

If they didn’t tell you to ask questions until they were done with the presentation then you were not in the wrong. I don’t think Robin is guilty of “assault,” but if the roles were reversed, regardless if its was Robin or any other female you grabbed, I would bet you would be arrested. Do you have a history with Tim? Or was he just trying to show off in front of the ten people that were in attendance? Btw, keep up the good work.

I, typically, support your point(s). But,what you did was instigate a situation, bullied your way in to a presentation and did nothing more than prove to me and probably others that if you were to act respectfully and not so intrusive, the result would have probably been the same but, instead, you were very unprofessional and I have to say, not acting like you should, but, rather like someone who has their own agenda exactly what you’re trying to prove others have…disappointed in your…

actions…believe me, I would have much rather been giving you an “atta boy!!” on this one!

@Anonymous-anyone who trolls around under the anonymous name is not entitled to an opinion. You are a coward, sneak and backstabber without enough guts to stand on your own.

I think you might be referring to the mayors invite only lunch, that Matt made an appearance at.

Vote Ernst !!!!!!!!!!!!

@Matt-As always, you have my full support. Keep up the fight. Someone has to try to keep these fools honest. They have run over the working man in Mason City for far to long. Where the hell do they get off holding a meeting like that with our tax money? Who was paying Trout and the other sheeple in attendance? If it was a meeting why wasn’t it announced to the public? Is it possible they do not want us there? How can you have a public meeting on the 3rd floor with no handicap entrance?

It’s called an elevator.

Do you know that for sure? Is it posted at all?

Yeah, there’s an elevator there….it even stops on every floor. I know this for sure as I have attended many meeting there and I would REFUSE to attend any that were not handicapped accessible.

@Polio Loco-Thanks.

Matt you have to excuse the PAID TROLLS who try to ruin your business and reputation – it’s just a paid job to them – You GO BOY!

I thought this was a news site, not a blog.

I appreciate the work you do and the improved news coverage that NIT provides..otherwise I wouldnt have subscribed. However, from what the video shows, that was tacky – attack style journalism. Your questions should have waited until a Q&A session and by ALL laws of human decency you should know interrupting someone (let alone a presenter) is down right rude and unprofessional. PLEASE KEEP UP THE QUALITY WORK AND STAY AWAY FROM THIS UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR THAT DOES NOTHING BUT DEGRADE YOUR…

Why don’t you just try being nice man?

I’m sure that anyone would be much more likely to answer questions, and talk to you.

Instead of interrupting and saying: Hey yeah, aren’t you embarrassed there’s so few people here?

How about saying: I see the turn out, wasn’t quite as expected, do you have any idea why?

This was just a big shame put on by the people who destroyed the Human Service Dept. in Mason City – They are the walking Turds.

My question is “What would have happened to Matt if he would have grabbed HER wrist and bumped and nudged that Glob reporter?” I think he’d still be in jail without bond. Or, would he have just walked away from the camera and rolled his eyes?

@Matt-Hell Matt, Trout probably would have pulled his gun on you. It sure looked like he was just waiting to do it.

@rukidding, does that mean if the “rolls” were butter side up? Or down?

Hey sorry to the spelling policeman I will try to be perfect like you from now on. But my opinion is still the same Robin Anderson and paperboy tried to provoke a physical altercation my grabbing his arm and obviously getting into someone’s space. If this is not intimidation and harassment then you need to go to some class’s. Just because you don’t like what someone has said doesn’t mean you have the right to start a physically confrontation.

Matt, I get that the point is to sell papers. But please don’t over do it. Don’t let the positive attributes of this site become outweighed by personal attacks on decent people. One of these days you are going to push the wrong person the the wrong way and you will have had it coming.

I really don’t know all the circumstances about the event. If, for example, it was open to the public, etc. From my experience Matt is a very decent man and is doing the best he can to support his family and grow his business. The symposium, at face value, probably was of marginal value in the first place and likely would be hard to justify from the pure business perspective of a tax paying citizen. None of the bitterness of both sides is good for MC. Someone extend an olive branch.

Is that lunch blur zones approved

You said, “If they say it is OK to do as Ackerman and Anderson did, this gives license to much worse by others. We can all now grab anyone we like and not fear police action. We can bump and step on people we do not like, bully them, and know that the law is on our side.” I believe you have a point. And I agree it was an act of bullying.
Now, was it a crime? I can’t say, but their actions, no matter any provocation they felt, should not be physical.

Matt I hope you follow thru with the charges against these two fools. You can damn well be sure they would have filed charges against you if the rolls were reversed.

Matt thank you for asking the tough questions that most working people would like answered. Keep up the good work if they have nothing to hide they would not have tried to grab you or step in front of you like this guy did. They were the ones that escalated this situation. This guy from the globe is lucky he wasn’t laid out on the floor. What a rude SOB. And who in the world gave Robin Anderson the right to put her hands on somebody to lead them away when she doesn’t like their point of view.

Dude this is going to be the end of nit. The fact you put “garlic breath” goes to show how immature you are in general, and in this situation. It also doesn’t help the fact you love asking the “tough” questions but delete anything that someone asks you that you don’t like.
Grow a pair of balls. I’ll expect this to be deleted quickly as well. You lost all respect for me, someone who was at one point interested in working with you.


I think it’s great to ask questions. But it is extremely rude to interrupt the presentation to ask questions! Heck even my five year old knows better than that!

Yep, just like a poorly behaved 5-year old, like your reader just said.

Go girl! Grit those teeth and bite him!
You know you want to! He exposes all your goodies!

Let’s hear from YOU Robin! If you aren’t attacking him then what ARE you doing? At a meeting about that very thing…WHAT?! You are the joke sister.

But you know that ole saying, A woman scorned. Precisely why people kiss your wrinkled hand. Scared to the north end of you. You are mean spirited and you know it!

PD get this one RIGHT!

How come this webpage keeps going offline?

@Matt-I figured you were getting hacked. Anyway to trace the I.P.’s?

Lol, I’m sure they are using a proxy. No ip trace

You must be doing something right then.

Censorship is time consuming.

I’d say Marquardt is right in the fact. That the powers that be, are intimidated by him.

I’m sure he would have been jailed and beaten by now, if he didn’t have his camera rolling all the time.

Robin CANNOT take that you are ON to all of the inter city crime, meaning the people in the front seat of politics.

You could have dismantled her homely face in the time it took to put on her fake jewelry so of course you were in no real danger, although fake finger nails can do a job.

Matt you gave us the ASSAULT definition and clearly Robin is guilty. The PD should start thinking about this for real. Why are they scared of her? It happened. You may have to go beyond the local PD. Do…

Charging those people with assault is a joke Matt. I have been punched in the face, spit at, kicked from behind, had a gun in my face, had things thrown at me by the hands of my ‘significant other’, thats real assault. Get a life, you make me sick. If you hate this city so much, MOVE! Try reporting on something worth while.

I do get on your website, it gives me a good laugh, but I certainly wouldn’t pay to read this shit. I watched the video of your alleged assaults and got a pretty good laugh. Someday someone will really assault you and you will realize how ridiculous you should be embarrassed. I feel sorry for the people associated with you.

NO matt, I am not saying that its ok to assault people, but get real. Robin had brief contact with you on your arm, she didnt grab it and twist it, its all on video. like i have said before, i am a victim/survivor of domestic i do not believe in it. were interrupting and rude during that meeting. have a little respect and maybe others will respect you. I am not a thug, i am just a WOMAN way to familiar with assault. you sir make me laugh, so yes i frequently read this page.

@Matt-No not let her lies bother you. She is probably a pot smoker who imagined everything when she was under the influence.

i didnt say you said ‘Twist’.i was saying, its not like she twisted. and yes, i reported my abuse, charges were brought and i no longer have to live that way. but as a victim of abuse, i didnt broadcast it. i didnt email you to tell my story. i was just glad to be safe. if you truly felt you were victimized, why make a big deal out of it and involve the public. but i guess, my face was all messed up so mine wasnt hard to prove.
and i do NOT smoke pot. I’m a working mother of 4. thank you

The only sham little Matt exposed was himself. I think all can take a look at the video, read Matts blogged version above, and come to the only logical conclusion. He is absolutely delusional. In addition, refering to his work as a blog is really belittling to all legitimate bloggers everywhere, and his work attire is demeaning to professional painters as well.

Everyone enjoys a good train wreck!

You should require everybody to use their real names then, at least first names or their initials.

@Matt-why don’t you stop the troll, sneak, chicken sh## anonymous in his tracks and make everyone buy a subscription and use the same name everytine they comment?

Does anyone else think that Robin’s a bit of a Vixen? Matt should consider himself lucky she touched his hand. LOL. There may be some underlying sexual tension going on between the two of them.

Ironic-Janet states she is an “owner” of where she works-but slapped them with a Civil complaint-they had to get an attorney to defend and then another suit for bogus work comp-she has sued every employer? no one will talk at all about this.

Did they hurt your vagina? You are far from a real journalist. Real journalists have an education

Matt get a lawyer and sue, now!

There was no assault and there realy isnt any news story there either. NIT, there are real stories and real issues in North Iowa that you could be covering. Its clear to me(and I’m sure to others)that you keep nit-picking these issues not out of any real concern but more out of your hatred for the Globe and the City and its elected and appointed officials.I mean really,at public meeting taking pictures of an elected officials half eaten lunch is not the way any credible journalist would…

(cont)…behave. Perhaps thats why they refer to you as a blogger. I agree that North Iowa needs an alternative news source. Please focus on covering the real news, issues, successes of North Iowa instead of this on-going witch-hunt.

As like most of city/state/federal government these are created positions run by clueless individuals -but well paid phonys. Good Job Matt ! At least someone is try to keep them HONEST.

The public has a right to know how their money is being spent and they have no right to charge a fee to get in the meeting. Especially if the city paid “RENT” for the facility. If Trout and others were being paid to attend and were putting the cost on their expense report it makes it even worse. Keep up the good work Matt.

I hope that the right thing is done on your behalf. My guess it that it will not. Don’t let it go. they need to be held accountable for once.

Could you be any more of a loser? REAL news people don’t set up in the front of a room or interrupt presenters multiple times for no reason other than to cause a scene. And they have have REAL camera equipment. My 10 year old son has a nicer camera than that!

KIMT recorded your despicable behavior and have it available for all to view on their website. It’s very clear who was in the wrong here and it wasn’t Robin Anderson. I hope you are charged with filing a false report.

Disturbing the peace. It’s even recorded.

How big of an ass do you have to be to harass people at a harassment seminar? Very classy Marquardt. KIMT hit the nail on the head when calling you a blogger. Real news reporters don’t make the headlines about themselves.

Matt-Why does KIMT keep calling you a blogger? I always thought a blogger was someone that writes about a specific subject, i.e. sports or politics. I would consider you a news reporter not a blogger!

Good job Matt. Keep these people on their toes.

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