Second Day Same as the First; Rants Attack Misses the Mark Again

DES MOINES – State Rep. Christopher Rants’ second consecutive day of attacks on fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats’ leadership of a Sioux City nonprofit rehabilitation facility is based his continued use of an inaccurate timeline and other flawed assumptions.

“Voters want candidates who spell out a clear, constructive vision for Iowa’s future. Bob Vander Plaats has done that, and that’s why he is leading Christopher Rants by more than a three-to-one margin in every poll to date,” spokesman Eric Woolson said. “Christopher Rants is following the oldest rule in the political book: ‘When you’re far behind, attack.’ He apparently believes that’s the only way his unviable campaign can get attention.”

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:

“Christopher Rants has again made several incorrect and misleading statements regarding Bob Vander Plaats’ leadership at Opportunities Unlimited. Bob Vander Plaats was OU’s president and CEO from February 1996 to Dec. 31, 2000 – not from 1997 to 2003 as Christopher Rants continues to incorrectly assert. At the risk of being repetitious, I will say it again as clearly as I can: Bob Vander Plaats was recruited to lead Opportunities Unlimited at a time when our image, finances, and clinical performance were in acute need of improvement.”

Hoogeveen continued, “Under Bob Vander Plaats’ day-to-day leadership, OU’s net assets rose from $621,000 to $2.69 million between fiscal year 1996 and fiscal year 2000 as evidenced by audited statements. During that period of time: OU went from having 54 pages of cited deficiencies to being deficiency free; Bob was awarded the JoAnn Kramer Award presented to Iowa’s Best Brain Injury Services Advocate; Bob was appointed by Governor Branstad to serve on Governor’s Council for Brain Injury – a council he chaired from 1997-99; and OU received the highest accreditation by Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).”

Hoogeveen said Rants’ attempt to make an issue of a 2003 instance in which Opportunities Unlimited was not in compliance with a bond covenant is “trivial to the point of silliness.”

“Let me once again point out to Mr. Rants: Bob Vander Plaats’ tenure as CEO concluded on December 31, 2000, i.e., Bob was not the CEO during the audit period Mr. Rants references. In response to Mr. Rants’ decision to put out more incorrect information, let me offer the following: OU never missed a single bond payment and has a long record of responsible financial operations. By searching for a technical violation of a bond covenant, Chris Rants shows that he either has little understanding of finance, is intentionally distorting OU’s record for his own gain, or both. I’m disappointed that a candidate for governor would use such misleading assertions. Bob Vander Plaats made a large contribution to the success of Opportunities Unlimited and misleading statements issued by a politician cannot alter that fact.”

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