Community group files ethics complaint against Regent Bruce

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed an ethics complaint against Regent Bruce Rastetter on Tuesday for allegedly abusing his role as a regent.

David Goodner, the Iowa City community organizer for Citizens for Community Improvement, said group members gathered Tuesday morning and had a 45-minute meeting with Megan Tooker — the executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board — to discuss their concerns and fill out paperwork. The group then went to the State Capitol and dropped off a copy of the complaint, Goodner said.

"… Members are filing a conflict of interest complaint against Iowa Board of Regents member Bruce Rastetter because he abused his role as a regent and public servant to seek a partnership between his company, AgriSol Energy, and Iowa State University — a regents' institution — for a project in Tanzania that could have netted him millions of dollars in profit while forcibly evicting thousands of refugees from their land," the complaint said.

The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement outlined four primary concerns with Rastetter's behavior in its ethic complaint involving relations between Iowa State and Rastetter's AgriSol Energy and Summit Group companies.

Rastetter is the president and CEO of Summit Group and AgriSol Energy.

"Rastetter's actions as the president and CEO of Summit Group Inc., and AgriSol Energy LLC and simultaneously serving as a regent is a detriment to the mission of the Board of Regents and to the state of Iowa," the complaint said.

The group alleges that Rastetter used his influence and power obtained as a regent to partially subsidize the business practices of Summit Group and AgriSol through Iowa State, according to the official complaint.

The group also alleges that Rastetter filed a fraudulent personal financial disclosure statement with the ethics board in order to hide his interest and investments in Summit Group and AgriSol, the complaint said.

The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement ask that Rastetter be terminated from the Board of Regents.

"There is little public trust that Rastetter will use his experience to foster or support the development of policy that will enhance the quality of life for Iowans by maintaining the educational quality, accessibility, and public-service activities of Iowa's universities," the complaint said. "He has already proven that he will put his own financial interests ahead of those of everyday Iowans."

— by Kristen East

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