Vander Plaats Campaign Responds to Rants Attack

DES MOINES – Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Rants today released inaccurate information about GOP frontrunner Bob Vander Plaats’ tenure as President and CEO of Opportunities Unlimited, a long-term care facility for individuals with brain injuries.

Rants based his false attack on Vander Plaats’ success as a turnaround chief executive officer on the contention that Vander Plaats was president and CEO from 1997 to 2003. Vander Plaats held those positions from Feb. 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2000. The different time line than that claimed by Rants means his statements about Opportunity Unlimited’s financial status under Vander Plaats’ leadership are completely incorrect.

On Jan. 1, 2001 when Vander Plaats sought the 2002 Republican gubernatorial nomination, he assumed the role of chairman at Opportunities Unlimited and devoted his time on behalf of Opportunities Unlimited to public relations, development and new initiatives. A new president and CEO assumed day-to-day operational responsibilities for Opportunities Unlimited from Jan. 1, 2001 forward. Vander Plaats held the chairman position until June 2002. From July 2002 to February 2003, Vander Plaats serving in a strategic vision role for that organization, Quality Living, Inc. in Omaha and Village Northwest in Sheldon.

Dr. Kim Hoogeveen, who was Chairman of Opportunities Unlimited at the time Vander Plaats was hired and continues to hold the position, has issued this statement:

“When Bob Vander Plaats was recruited to lead Opportunities Unlimited in 1996, the organization was in grim financial condition, clinical operations were inadequate, and the organization had serious image problems. Those combined issues threatened OU’s very existence. After four-and-a-half years with Bob as president and CEO, Opportunities Unlimited went from 54 pages of cited deficiencies to being deficiency free and its financial condition was substantially improved. Under Bob’s leadership OU designed and constructed a dynamic new programming facility, achieved accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and started a wonderful and much-needed program serving children with special needs.

It is unfortunate that such negative statements would be issued based on inaccuracies. Mr. Rants did not even bother to contact any of us who were actually working to save an important nonprofit organization that has now successfully served so many families in need over the past fifteen years. It is sad that Bob’s success as a CEO at Opportunities Unlimited would be questioned by someone who did none of that hard work.”

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