Written by Ally Crutcher, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
There are new details in an investigation KWWL has been following for nearly a month.
Conservative non-profit group Americans for Prosperity eyes Coralville's mayoral race this election season. Its strong interest led to the investigation of radio station KCJJ in Coralville. In the investigation, AFP filed a public records request to obtain KCJJ's lease agreement with the city.
According to that document, KCJJ isn't paying rent. Instead, the station has a deal with the city. KCJJ runs advertisements for Coralville, and in return, the city pays its rent. As stated in the lease.
"As payment to the City, KCJJ shall provide an amount of advertising credit equal to the yearly rent paid by the City. The subject matter of the advertising shall be in the sole discretion of the City. The cost of the monthly advertising provided by KCJJ shall be equal to the monthly rent paid by City..."
KCJJ Owner Steve Soboroff, however, denied that AFP would find anything out of the ordinary between the station and the city.
"They won't find anything. There's nothing that's been done unethical. I know that they think you can't trust anybody because you can't trust them, but this city has never, I know these people and that's why I take it personal," Soboroff said.
The agreement strikes a chord with AFP because the City of Coralville currently has a $280 million dollar deficit, the highest per capita in the state of Iowa. Therefore, the city is spending money it doesn't have.
AFP-Iowa Director Mark Lucas said this isn't the first time the city has had a "sweetheart deal" with a local business.
"You look at the fact that they own a Marriott hotel that loses millions of dollars, the fact they own a brewery, they're making financial decisions that are not in the best interest of the City of Coralville and that's the reason why they've got a 280 million dollar deficit," Lucas said.
AFP said it has a significant financial investment in this year's election, but wouldn't provide any concrete numbers.
The City of Coralville municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Monday, September 1 2014 2:01 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:01:07 GMT
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