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After winning $10 million, Pavone sues Kirke again. Register seeking sports editor — by another name.


Three years ago, John Pavone won a $10 million judgment against Gary Kirke.

Now, Pavone is suing Kirke again, on the same issue.

Pavone claimed — and the Iowa Supreme Court agreed — that in 2004 Kirke had agreed to negotiate a management agreement with Pavone for any casinos Kirke might develop in Iowa. Kirke ultimately won a license to put a casino in Emmetsburg. Lawyers for Kirke and Pavone tried to negotiate an agreement, but they couldn’t come to terms.

In 2006, Pavone and his company — Signature Management Group of Sioux City  — sued Kirke and his company. In 2007, a district court jury awarded Pavone $10 million. In 2009, that verdict was overturned in the Court of Appeals, but in 2011 the Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeals and reinstated the lower court judgment.

“The record contained substantial evidence that the” initial agreement “was a binding management agreement and that Kirke and Wild Rose” didn’t negotiate in good faith, Justice David Wiggins ruled in the unanimous four-justice decision.


Ultimately, 10 lawyers were involved, including former Justice Mark McCormick and former Iowa First Lady Mari Culver, both of whom were representing Kirke.

Now, Kirke has been awarded another license, for the new casino in Jefferson, and Pavone and Signature Management have filed a similar suit against Kirke and Wild Rose Jefferson, his casino company.

The complaint says the 2004 agreement is still in effect, and it says Kirke and Wild Rose should compensate them for losses of expected management fees, revenues and income. Kirke and Wild Rose have not yet filed their answer….

Update: Car salesman and frequent drunk driver Steve Luebke remains in jail. A pretrial conference on his Polk County charges has been set for Nov. 6 in the courtroom at the jail. Those charges include “driving while barred, habitual offender” driving while license is denied or revoked, reckless driving, failure to maintain control, striking fixtures and parole violation. He also faces charges in Jasper County for drunk driving and related offenses. He has four previous convictions for drunk driving. …

Heading into the stretch:

Democratic state treasurer Mike Fitzgerald has $44,000 cash on hand and not many worries. His opponent, Sam Clovis of Sioux City, has $70,000, but not many prospects. Still, a few Des Moines-area contributors are backing Clovis: In the most recent three months, Denny Elwell gave him $1,000, Jim Cownie $250, Dennis Albaugh $1,000 and Bob Brownell $100. Clovis is not well-known outside northwest Iowa, and Fitzgerald has been in office forever.

Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller started the period with $245,000, spent a bundle on mailings and TV ads, and ended the period with around $17,000. His biggest check in the period came from famed lawyer David Boies of New York, who contributed $25,000. His opponent, former Branstad administration official Adam Gregg had $48,000 in the bank on Oct. 20. The Republican Party of Iowa gave him $50,000 in the past few weeks, but few people outside Sioux County think he can beat Miller.

Republican Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, one of the most popular politicians in the state, was sitting on $302,000 at the end of the reporting period, while his opponent, Sherrie Taha, had just $336. Northey’s biggest check in the period, $5,000, came from the Iowa Corn Growers, though lots of big ag companies and the Koch Brothers ($1,000) also anted up. Taha, who has virtually no chance of winning, received one $1,000 check in the period — from a United Auto Workers political action committee in Illinois.

Republican Auditor Mary Mossiman, running for her first full term, had about $50,000 on hand on Oct. 20. The Republican Party gave her $50,000 in the period, too. Her opponent, Jonathan Neiderbach, had $9,000 on hand heading into the final couple of weeks before the election. He also had outstanding loans — to himself — of $12,500. He received $1,000 from the AFL-CIO but no other major contributions.

Republican Secretary of State Candidate Paul Pate had $52,000 on hand on Oct. 20 for his race against Democrat Brad Anderson. Anderson had $26,000 on hand. The race is considered very close, and both men have raised a lot of money and spent a lot. The United Food and Commercial Workers gave Anderson $10,000 in the latest period, as did the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, his biggest contributions. Pate received $50,000 from the Republican Party of Iowa. …

Chad Leistikow, The Des Moines Register’s sports editor, will become a beat reporter under the new alignment. No replacement has been named. The new sports editor won’t be the “sports editor” — he or she will be “regional sports content coach.” “We’ve already started recruiting for that role, so hopefully we’ll have someone in place soon,” says Amalie Nash, the paper’s executive editor. One sports reporter without a chair when the music stopped: Pat Harty, a 23-year veteran of the Iowa City Press-Citizen; his departure will leave just one person in that paper’s sports department.

Meantime, the Press-Citizen soon will be without a full-time opinion editor. Jeff Charis-Carlson, who had had that job, will become the higher-education reporter for the Register and Press-Citizen. He’ll be based in Iowa City but will report to Annah Backsrom in Des Moines. She’s the “content strategist: politics.” She’ll oversee the politics and education reporters. CV

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