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You may contact me at the following
address and phone numbers. I am
disclosing information concerning an alleged violation of conflict of
interest involving Geri Huser who is a State Representative from Altoona
and is Chairperson of the Des Moines Area MPO. The following information
has already been submitted to the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board.
● Deer Creek Estates LLC a land development company was founded and is partially owned by Ed Skinner and R. Bradley Skinner. Geri Huser is a daughter/sister, employee and beneficiary via the Skinner family trust. Geri Huser's actions as State Representative and as Chairperson of the Des Moines MPO have increased the viability and monetary value of Deer Creek Estates LLC. Geri Huser has not abstained during key votes or made officials aware of her relationship to Deer Creek Estates when infrastructure decisions involving Deer Creek Estates have been made.
● Conflict #1- Geri Huser has used her position as a State Representative in the House, as a member of the local government subcommittee, to change Iowa law so that a rural water district could be purchased by a municipality or utility company. This enables city water to be brought into land developments such as Deer Creek Estates allowing for concentrated property development. This increases the property value and viability of Deer Creek Estates. Geri Huser introduced and was in the subcommittee which recommended the law and she voted for the new law.
● Conflict #2- Geri Huser has used her position as chair of the Des Moines Area MPO to vote for and preside over the recommendation of the N.E. 18th overpass bridge over I-35 as well as another bridge that crosses Four Mile Creek. The N.E. 18th overpass was placed into the the LRTP (Long Range Transportation Plan) under the supervision of Geri Huser. The N.E. 18th overpass thrusts directly into Deer Creek Estates from the City of Ankeny. The N.E. 18th overpass was placed in the LRTP despite the fact that the construction of the overpass is riddled with problems, is expensive and is not necessary. The MPO is also involved in a request for funding for the overpass via ICAAP (Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program). There also appears to be jurisdictional problems. The MPO may not have the right to place the N.E. 18th Street overpass into the LRTP. Some maps may have been erroneously or purposely altered. All this is occurring while Geri Huser chairs the Des Moines Area MPO. Refer to Arguments Against the Proposed NE 18th Overpass for detailed information. A PDF reader is required.
● Conflict #3- Deer Creek Estates lies adjacent to the proposed N.E. Beltway corridor. If the beltway is constructed it will increase the value of Deer Creek Estates properties. Geri Huser as chair of the MPO board is involved with studies and recommendations that will determine the future of the N.E. Beltway. Geri Huser directed that the Full Build Out Transportation Plan that studies the N.E. Beltway (FBOTP) proceed. The committee that studies the beltway will be chaired by her own appointee. FBOTP studies include the testing and evaluation of Level of Service (LOS) for roads, environmental studies, capacity needs and identification of transportation links for the N.E. Beltway. This information will be used when determining whether or not the N.E. Beltway is necessary. Geri Huser's father, Ed Skinner is one of the largest contributors to Leonard Boswell's campaign. Rep. Leonard Boswell is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Leonard Boswell made the request for funding of the environmental study for the proposed NE beltway area.
Click here to download an extensive document detailing the alleged conflict of interest involving Geri Huser. Evidence is presented. A PDF reader is required.
Just a few facts about the NE 18th Street overpass:
1) A portion of the proposed overpass as well as the road and bridge that crosses Four Mile Creek do not lie within the city of Ankeny. There is very little traffic in the area. The road the overpass leads into (NE 102nd Ave.) turns into a gravel road in less than a mile. Click here for a web page that will take you on a visual tour of the area.
2) Ankeny is attempting to use Iowa Clean Air Attainment money to fund the overpass even though it does not meet the necessary requirements to receive this money. The MPO chaired by Geri Huser is involved in the approval process for the funding. Click here for ICAAP funding requirements.
3) The overpass goes directly through a federally recognized wetland and fills in flood plain directly downstream from the area that houses were previously flooded. This will, of course, aggravate the situation. There are numerous examples in which Ankeny and Polk County would be violating their own comprehensive plans if the overpass project were to proceed. The arguments against the NE 18th Street overpass document discusses this and other matters extensively.
Be prepared for City of Ankeny officials. The City of Ankeny has conveyed to numerous persons that the NE 18th Street overpass will primarily be used to relieve traffic during 1st Street construction. I am one of those persons. Traffic would be detoured through Frisk Drive during construction. Frisk Drive is a local road with blind curves, no shoulders and steep embankments. This is clearly dangerous. It seems as if the city thinks spending millions of dollars to temporarily route traffic down a local road with limited traffic handling capabilities is a good idea. Once the 1st Street project is done the overpass will provide little traffic relief.
Using the overpass as a temporary reliever during 1st Street construction is what the city of Ankeny is telling some citizens is the stated purpose of the overpass. They deny the overpass is for Deer Creek Estates and deny it is associated with the annexations to the east of the city. The name of the annexations just east of Ankeny are the Deer Creek North and South annexations. The following is a quote from the August 29th issue of the Des Moines Register:
The following was taken from the The NE 18 Street feasibility study that was paid for and authorized by the Ankeny City Council:
The following was taken from the ICAAP application requesting funding for the NE 18th Street overpass that was recently submitted to the Des Moines Area MPO. The traffic expected through the overpass is generated by the Deer Creek Estates Development that Ankeny claims the overpass is not for:
Certain officials of the City of Ankeny are being inconsistent, perhaps even purposely deceptive. They say the overpass is not associated with Deer Creek Estates and the proposed annexations, however when it comes to ICAAP funding and according to their own study, the overpass is for the purpose of serving expected development east of the city. There is no mention of using the NE 18th Street overpass as a reliever during 1st Street construction in the feasibly study or the ICAAP application.
The city has mysteriously withdrawn its request for ICAAP funding for the 36th street interchange. It could be argued that the 36th Street interchange would substantially relieve traffic and be eligible for ICAAP money. Currently large amounts of traffic exit off 1st Street and go north up Delaware Avenue. There is no denying that these streets do carry a lot of traffic. ICAAP funding is intended to relieve this type of traffic congestion which in turn will reduce vehicle emissions by reducing vehicle idling times. The NE 18th Street overpass will do little to relieve traffic, it is not an exit. The overpass leads into a rural area outside with a low population density and lies outside of the city limits. Why did the City of Ankeny remove the ICAAP funding request for the superior candidate, the 36th Street interchange and retain the 18th Street overpass a very poor candidate for ICAAP funding? My guess is that they knew they could not obtain funding for both since other cities bid for limited resources. So why didn't they drop the 18th Street overpass instead of the 36th Street interchange from the ICAAP funding request?
So why is the city of Ankeny so intent on building the NE 18th Street overpass? It is my personal opinion that is is the political influence of Ed Skinner, who has a substantial stake in the success of Deer Creek Estates LLC, that is the real motivating force behind the proposed N.E. 18th overpass. Ed Skinner is an Altoona attorney with ties to Prairie Meadows. He is a member of the Prairie Meadows Grant Advisory Committee. Large sums of money are handed out to all sorts of organizations. For instance the grant committee has given tens of thousands of dollars to Eastern Polk Regional Development, Inc. an organization that promotes economic development near many of the land development projects Ed Skinner is involved in such as F&S Rosenberger LLC. By the way Ed Skinner's son Brad Skinner is Chair of Eastern Polk Regional Development, Inc and F&S Rosenberger has received TIF money from the City of Altoona. I will go into much greater detail on these and other issues in the future when I create detailed flow charts of land developers and political influence in Polk County. Ed Skinner, members of his family and his law firm also make substantial contributions to many local politicians. They are the number one contributors to many local politicians. Many of these politicians have been involved in the CIETC scandal. Refer to the conflict of interest documentation for evidence tying Ed Skinner and Geri Huser to Deer Creek Estates LLC. The City of Ankeny needs to make its planning decisions based on the needs of its citizens and available facts. Ask the City of Ankeny what the intended purpose of the NE 18th overpass is? They seem to have different answers depending on who asks the question. Please study the information and be prepared to respond to the City of Ankeny's arguments. Various government officials have been notified of the problems with the NE 18th overpass and the conflict of interest.
Another likely explanation for why the city is so interested in the NE
18th Street overpass is that it actually wants to promote sprawl to the
east. The city is very much interested in the NE Beltway project.
Geri Huser, Ed Skinners daughter, is the chair of the MPO and is
intimately involved in studies and recommendations associated with the NE
Beltway. The NE 18th Street overpass and 36th Street interchange are
feeder roads that would support sprawl to the east. This growth could be
used as a justification for the NE Beltway in studies done by the MPO.
Deer Creek Estates touches the NE Beltway corridor. Right now the
area is primarily in agricultural use and the federal government is
finding it hard to justify such a road. The City of Ankeny has signed a
28E agreement along with numerous other Polk County cities with the
express purpose of promoting the NE Beltway project and has spent Ankeny
taxpayer dollars to help fund studies required before the beltway can be
built. Interestingly enough Ed Skinner and numerous members of his
family as well as his law firm are one of Rep. Leonard Boswell's largest
contributors. Boswell is a member of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee and is the one who made the request for federal
funding of the environmental study in the proposed NE Beltway area.
Graphical Representation of
Conflict of Interest
* If you find any inaccuracies please notify me through the contacts menu under Ankeny Watch