Bill Knapp turned 86 years old this week. Most
guys his age don’t buy green bananas. They think
the short term is this afternoon, the long term
is tomorrow. They buy razor blades one at a
time, open the paper just to make sure they’re
not in the obituaries, put $5 of gasoline in
the tank and worry they’re overspending.
But last week, at a meeting of those big hitters
who are guaranteeing the multi-million-dollar
loan to assemble and hold soft areas downtown
and then re-sell them to developers, someone
asked how long the folks will be on the hook
for their guarantees. One guy said he’d been
telling people five years. Another fellow said
10 might be OK. But Knapp — the liveliest guy
at the table — carried the day with 15 years.
We can’t be in this for the short term, he said.
God bless ’im. ...
Things aren’t going so great in Minnesota for
Des Moines bar owner Tom Baldwin, who over the
years has run various bars in Des Moines including
Wellman’s Pub and Crush and Drink and Tequila
Tom’s and Uncle Buck’s — where Baldwin settled
a racial discrimination suit two years ago.
Earlier this month, the Minnesota Department
of Revenue revoked the sales-tax permit of the
Minneapolis version of Drink, in which Baldwin
was a shareholder, according to the StarTribune.
The state says the bar “failed to pay sales
taxes between March 2003 and January 2007.”
Baldwin apparently has opened a Wellman’s on
the corner where Drink was in Minneapolis. ...
The University of Iowa Foundation is not the
only foundation handling big money — and paying
nice salaries — at the university. There’s also
something called The University of Iowa Research
Foundation, which handles the patents and licensing
for technologies developed at the university.
Like the University of Iowa Foundation, it appears
to be its own boss, reporting neither to the
university nor the Board of Regents, although
it “acts solely on behalf of” the university.
Its board is made up of university people and
a few outside business leaders. On the website
of the university’s vice president for research,
the foundation is called a “unit” of his office.
And it apparently doesn’t know that there are
patent and licensing attorneys in Iowa. Last
year, according to its tax return, its five
highest-paid outsiders all were law firms. It
paid those five $1,552,316. One is in Philadelphia,
one in Bloomington, Minn., one in San Francisco,
one in Minneapolis and one in Washington. The
year before, the five highest outside contractors
— all law firms — got $2,750,809. Again, all
were out of town — Philadelphia, Bloomington,
San Francisco, Minneapolis and Austin, Texas.
Two years ago, the foundation had revenue of
$31.3 million and a profit — though foundations
don’t use that word — of $4.1 million. In the
latest year, which ended June 30, 2011, it had
revenue of $9.5 million and a loss of $179,845.
The foundation was run until recently by Pam
York, who earned $174,370 in the latest year
and got another $23,248 in “other compensation.”
Zev Sunleaf is the interim executive director.
Ken Mason does not appear to be on the payroll.
When the university makes a patent or licensing
deal, the first $100,000 of net income goes
to the inventors. Of the remaining income, 25
percent goes to the inventors, 15 percent to
the inventors’ department, 15 percent to the
inventors’ college, 20 percent to a “research
enrichment fund” at the foundation and 25 percent
to the foundation for operating expenses. ...
When The Des Moines Register moves into Capital
Square, Cityview is told, it will set up an
internet cafe on the first floor. Skinny, who
remembers not only Donald Kaul but also Harlan
Miller, suggests it be named “Over the Coffee.”
Register editor Rick Green says he’ll be looking
for a sports editor to replace Bryce Miller,
who was named sports columnist the other day.
That squelches speculation in the newsroom that
sports might go without a boss and just report
to Randy Brubaker, the former sports editor
who now has broader duties in the newsroom.
At any rate, one sure bet: The job won’t go
to former Register sports part-timer Steve Deace.
Look for the State of Iowa to make a deal to
move into Ruan 2, the building at 6th and Locust
that formerly housed Wellmark. ...
New postings out this week show that Democratic
Congressman Leonard Boswell has cash on hand
of $472,250 for his race against fellow incumbent
Republican Tom Latham. Latham has a whopping
$2,145,581. In the Fourth District, Republican
incumbent Steve King has $1,266,162 under the
mattress; Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack
has $846,205. Each has raised roughly $2 million
so far, but Vilsack has been going through money
Iowa State University also has a research foundation
that is supposedly independent of the university
and the Regents, with a separate board. Last
year, it had revenue of $11.9 million and net
income of $2.9 million. Lisa Lorenzen, who runs
it, makes $127,000, according to the latest
state-salary list. Oddly, its tax return is
not on the site that carries tax returns of
all nonprofits, even though it’s registered
with the state as a nonprofit. ...
So far, Iowans have contributed $255.2 million
to the Obama campaign and $266.7 million to
Republicans. Of that, Romney has received $120.6
million, Paul $40.5 million, Gingrich $23.6
million, Santorum $22.2 million, Perry $19.7
million, Cain (remember him?) $16.3 million,
Bachmann (and whatever happened to her?) $10.3
million, Huntsman $7.8 million, and Pawlenty
$5.2 million. ...
Footnote from Olympic Track and Field trials.
The National Track and Field Writers Association
presented this year’s award for excellence in
announcing to Jim Duncan (father of Cityview
Food Dude Jim Duncan) and the Drake Relays.
Jim Duncan died in 1989. ...
“You blew into my life like a force of nature,
and my life is no longer as it was.” — Nancy
You can say that again.
“You blew into my life like a force of nature,
and my life is no longer as it was.” CV