Deadbeat Zaun, cagey Branstad, sleeping reporters
Brad Zaun apparently has his own health-care-reform plan: Don’t pay your medical bills.
According to Polk County District Court records, Republican Zaun ignored for years — until he decided to run for Congress — bills for $1,070.77 from Iowa Health Des Moines and $50.66 from Radiology PC. He was sued in March of 2005 and failed to appear in court or answer the complaint. Judgment was entered against him in May of that year.
He continued to ignore the bills and the judgment against him, and in February 2006 the court ordered the Polk County sheriff to garnish money in Zaun’s account at Liberty Bank in Des Moines. But it wasn’t until last Nov. 17 — four-and-a-half years after judgment was entered against him — that the court entered a “release and satisfaction of judgment” order indicating that the judgment, the interest and all costs had been paid.
Two weeks later, the Urbandale legislator announced he would run for Congress. He won a seven-way primary and now faces incumbent Democrat Leonard Boswell. “I’ll take the same principles of fiscal responsibility...that I’ve lived by...to Washington,” he told The Des Moines Register last December. He didn’t say whether those principles included being a deadbeat.
Aside: The Iowa Republican platform says medical care “is a privilege, not a right.” But, to give Zaun his due, it doesn’t say you must pay for that privilege.
Speaking of that platform... A Skinny reader e-mails: “By my count, Sunday, Aug. 15, will mark the 50th day since the Iowa Republican Party on June 26 adopted a platform that calls for, among other things, the abolition of the Iowa Department of Education, the federal Department of Agriculture and lots of other lunacy that is well depicted in the Brian Duffy cartoon that suggests the GOP platform is made of “Knutty Pine.” Yet, near as I can tell, not one single Iowa news reporter, editorial writer, broadcaster has asked GOP candidates if any would, say, abolish the Iowa Department of Education or institute any of the other bizarre demands in the candidate’s party platform.
Back to Zaun. Wells Fargo twice filed foreclosure actions against him — in 2001 and again in 2005 — but the cases were dismissed, presumably because he made his back mortgage payments. ...
Chet Culver appears to be paying his campaign manager, Donn Stanley, about $9,000 a month, about the same he was earning in the Attorney General’s office, and Culver’s payments to other staffers also are detailed in his reports to the state Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. But it’s impossible to determine how much Terry Branstad is paying his top aides, Jeff Boeyink and Tim Albrecht. The Branstad camp instead sends a weekly check of $20,000 to $25,000 to Intuit, a California company that apparently handles major payroll disbursement for the Branstad campaign. That seems to avoid at least the spirit of the disclosure laws.
When queried, Charlie Smithson, the director of the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, said, “I’ll have the staff speak to the Branstad campaign this week and get amended information.” He said salaries broken down by person will be added. ...
A reader writes: “The good judge William Stuart died last week. Between the ‘Bohemian lifestyle’ opinion [a famous 1966 custody case] and being Nile Kinnick’s fraternity brother and law school roommate, he achieved note while always remaining a truly nice and accomplished Iowan and the pride of Chariton and Lucas County, Iowa. He also was a throwback to ultimate public service — a Naval Air pilot in WW II, elected a state senator, served as a city attorney, became an Iowa Supreme Court justice and left there to become a federal judge and ultimately chief judge of the Southern District of Iowa.
“Still waiting for a newspaper to write something.”
Stuart, who was around 90, died Thursday in Chariton. …
Frontier Air announced last week that it will begin flights to and from Denver. The Register reported that “Greater Des Moines Partnership officials said business leaders are subsidizing the route for an undisclosed amount.” The rest of the story: The amount, Skinny is told, is up to $150,000 a year. ...
Hubbell Realty is getting ready to add more townhouses to its development on Grand Avenue downtown. The land is being graded, and a guy told Skinny the new townhouses will be less upscale than the two rows of houses that already have been built.
Another guy told Skinny to look for Holiday Inn to put up a hotel — or maybe two — on the south side of Martin Luther King downtown. Those are numbers 500 and 501 of the downtown hotels being rumored. ...
Republican State Senate candidate Mark Chelgren (District 47, Appanoose, Davis, Wayne and parts of Wapello counties) gave away 30 kegs of beer at a fund-raising party in Ottumwa last week. The brews consisted of 20 kegs of Keystone, five kegs of Blue Moon and five kegs of Sam Adams. Skinny wonders if he, like the wedding feast at Canaan, saved the best beer for the end of the party.
A local TV station covered the event and interviewed Chelgren, who said the founding fathers sat around, drank beer and talked politics, and that’s exactly what he was trying to do. In the last finance reporting period, Chelgren took in $1,190 in donations. Skinny estimates he spent nearly three times that on beer — and wonders if some of the beer went to the person filling out Chelgren’s campaign-disclosure form. It says he’s running in District 2, which might surprise fellow Republican Randy Feenstra, who represents that north Iowa district and who isn’t up for re-election. Chelgren’s disclosure form also indicates he has $7,129.13 cash on hand — and debts of $10,400. “I feel it is my duty as a father, husband and Iowan to do everything in my power to bring about fiscal responsibility,” Chelgren said in announcing his candidacy. ...
Anything for a buck: The Business Record, whose Ohio parent company was just sold in bankruptcy proceedings, held its “Women of Influence” awards the other evening, packing a room at the downtown Marriott with folks who paid $20 a head (or $200 a table) plus whatever they spent at the cash bar. The day after the event — which was subsidized by a couple of corporate sponsors — attendees received an e-mail saying “thank you for attending.” It added: “As a way to say Thank You, we would like to offer you a special one-year subscription for only $49.95.”
The math: $20 to attend, $49.95 to subscribe; total $69.95. Or: zero to not attend, $59.95 to subscribe; total $59.95. Or: zero to not attend, zero to not subscribe; total: zero. Your choice. CV