Court sides with Reynolds’ in plane-use case

DES MOINES — An Iowa appeals court has rejected a Des Moines attorney’s challenge to Gov. Kim Reynold’s use of a businessman’s private airplane, upholding previous rulings that Reynold’s use of the flights did no real harm and were allowed by Iowa law.

The Iowa Court of Appeals said in a ruling filed Wednesday that a state court judge was right to dismiss the lawsuit filed by attorney Gary Dickey.


Dickey, a Democrat, filed a complaint last year with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, alleging Reynolds, a Republican, underestimated the value of the flight she and her family took to the Liberty Bowl in Tennessee in December 2017.

The jet was owned by Reynolds’s campaign contributor David North, CEO of a company that has a contract with the state.

The board dismissed Dickey’s complaint, ruling the flights were allowable under Iowa’s gift law. Dickey appealed and a judge agreed with the dismissal. Dickey said he will ask the Iowa Supreme Court to review the decision.

School district loses $900,000 on error

BONDURANT — A small Iowa school district won’t be getting nearly $900,000 it wanted to spend as part of this year’s budget, because officials have learned the budget revenue was in part based on an erroneous tax valuation from the county assessor’s office.

The Polk County assessor’s office had included in the tax base figures for the Bondurant-Farrar school district a fourth building at Facebook’s giant data center in Altoona. But the $52.4 million building was exempted from taxation for 20 years as part of a development agreement the social media giant signed with the city and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Exemptions also were granted for the center’s first three buildings.

The district won’t get the erroneous windfall, because the county has corrected the tax base figures.

Woman faces 2nd trial for 1992 murder

MUSCATINE — A second murder trial has begun for a southeast Iowa woman accused of the 1992 killing of her former boyfriend.

The trial began Tuesday in Muscatine for 56-year-old Annette Cahill, who was charged in May 2018 with first-degree murder in the beating death of Corey Lee Wieneke.

Wieneke’s body was found in October 1992 on his bedroom floor in rural West Liberty.

The first trial ended in a mistrial in March 2019 when the jury couldn’t reach a verdict. Cahill, of Tipton, has pleaded not guilty.

Suspect dies after shootout with officers

BURLINGTON — Investigators say a suspect has been killed in southeastern Iowa after fleeing from and shooting at law enforcement officers. The Division of Criminal Investigation said the man died early Wednesday at the Great River Medical Center.

Burlington police officers and a Des Moines County deputy responded to a call of shots fired at 12:50 a.m.

Officers found the suspect’s truck minutes later and initiated a traffic stop. The DCI said that initial reports indicate the driver got out, displayed a gun toward the officers and fled on foot. The officers gave chase, and both the suspect and law enforcement fired multiple rounds.

Murder charge filed in December shooting

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man has been charged with first-degree murder following the death of a man who was shot in December.

Ezekiel Phillips Jr. is accused of shooting 27-year-old Tyrice Douglas and 19-year-old Mone Dotson on Dec. 19. Court records show Douglas died May 6.

A trial scheduled for later this month will be rescheduled because of the new charge. Phillips had pleaded not guilty to the charges filed before Douglas died: attempted murder, willful injury and going armed with intent.

The 31-year-old Phillips remains in Linn County Jail, pending $1 million cash-only bail.

The Associated Press