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September 1st, 2009

Rants Fires Another Shot at Vander Plaats

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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bob_debateState Representative Chris Rants launched another attack on his main gubernatorial opponent Bob Vander Plaats late last night. Rants, who criticized Vander Plaats last week over comments he made regarding health care, is now questioning Vander Plaats’ leadership of Opportunities Unlimited. Vander Plaats served as the CEO of Opportunities Unlimited from 1997 to 2003.

Opportunities Unlimited is a Sioux City based, non-profit organization that provides Residential Rehabilitation services for individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or other physical disability.

Below is the press release which was obtained by TheIowaRepublican.com late last night.

Rants: Iowa Doesn’t Need a CEO Who Specializes in Down Turns

SIOUX CITY, IA – Bob Vander Plaats claims Iowa needs a ‘turn around CEO’, but taking an operating surplus and turning it into a deficit is something our current Governor has already perfected. State government doesn’t need a CEO who specializes in down turns, said Rep. Chris Rants, candidate for Governor from Sioux City.

“In every speech he gives, Bob says he was a ‘turn around’ CEO at Opportunities Unlimited, and most people take his word for it. But when he told the crowd at the Black Hawk Lincoln Dinner that he grew the assets of the organization by 440%, it made me wonder just how much truth there was to the story, so I checked it out,” explained Rants. “A review of the tax returns found on Guidestar uncovered something very different. The facts show Opportunities Unlimited tanked financially during his tenure as CEO and Chairman.”

According to a review of Opportunities Unlimited tax returns, during Vander Platts tenure as CEO starting in 97 to when he was dismissed as Chairman in 03, the organization went from a $471,455 operating surplus to a $630,655 deficit, and total operating revenue dropped from $4.2 million to $3.9 million. Public support for the charity dropped from $550,211 to $27,672. End of year net assets were largely unchanged, but long term debt doubled from $2.4 million to $4.7 million.

“Once again, what Mr. Vander Plaats says might sound good in a stump speech, but the facts tell a very different story. Budget deficits and more debt show his record is just like Chet Culvers.”

The Vander Plaats campaign has sent out the following response at 9:41 am this morning.

Subject: What you need to know before broadcasting or publishing anything on the Rants news release

I will provide you all with a more detailed response as soon as possible concerning Christopher Rants’ news release about Bob Vander Plaats’ tenure at Opportunities Unlimited but before you file anything you should know that the entire basis of the news release is inaccurate.

Bob Vander Plaats did not serve as CEO of Opportunities Unlimited from 1997 to 2003 as Christopher Rants states. Vander Plaats’ tenure was from February 1996 to December 31, 2000. That fact alone will affect the numbers that Mr. Rants provided to you and, therefore, anything you publish based on that release is wholly incorrect.

The Rants press release states that Vander Plaats was CEO in 1997 and was then Chairman of the Board when he left in 2003.


About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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