Iowa’s Attorney General says he can only investigate a small part of a controversial land sale that led to moving Polk County’s drivers license station to property in Ankeny that’s owned by a long-time backer of Democrats. The Des Moines Register has conducted an extensive investigation of the land sale. Back in 1999, a non-profit group that ran an air show on the land sold the property for 15-thousand dollars an acre. Developers Bill Knapp and Dennis Elwell bought it. Knapp’s brother had been the president of the non-profit group.
Just five years later, in 2004, former Iowa Department of Transportation director Mark Wandro signed an agreement to buy the property for 150-thousand dollars an acre, and Wandro put plans in motion to move a drivers license station from Des Moines to the site in Ankeny. Representative Ed Fallon, a Democrat from Des Moines who’s running for governor, has long been a critic of the sale and has asked Attorney General Tom Miller to investigate.
Miller, however, says he does not have the authority to investigate the land deal the D-O-T director made. Miller says it’s up to the legislature and perhaps the Citizen’s Aide Ombudsman to review that part of the deal. Miller says he can investigate the non-profit group that sold the land to Bill Knapp back in 1999. Knapp has donated thousands upon thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates, including Governor Tom Vilsack. Fallon, who is also a Democrat, has never received a campaign contribution from Knapp.