Who could have predicted that a scandal involving a university president would become one of the biggest Iowa political stories during the later stages of the 2016 election campaign? Not this blogger.
The controversy surrounding Iowa State University President Steven Leath’s use of university-owned aircraft is unlikely to fade away soon. This page is for all relevant Bleeding Heartland posts and will be updated as needed.
September 24, 2016: ISU president used university plane for personal trips, didn’t pay to fix damage
This post covered several days of news following Ryan Foley’s first Associated Press story on ISU President Leath’s previously undisclosed hard landing in July 2015.
September 28, 2016: Seven ways ISU President Leath’s airplane excuses don’t add up
Analysis of some holes in the narrative offered by Leath and ISU.
October 4, 2016: ISU’s cover story on President Leath’s airplane use is falling apart
New disclosures called into question Leath’s compliance with university policy and state law, and could even raise red flags for the Internal Revenue Service about “excess benefit transactions” by ISU’s Foundation.
October 14, 2016: If ISU pilots chose to land at Elmira, it wasn’t for cheap fuel
A close look at one of the least plausible narratives ISU has floated in connection with Leath’s questionable uses of university aircraft: professional pilots “unilaterally decided” to refuel at a convenient location for Leath’s brother and sister-in-law.
October 17, 2016: Unanswered questions about ISU airplane use will stay that way–for now
About ISU’s poor follow-through on Leath’s promise to be “open and transparent.”
State Auditor Mary Mosiman confirmed, “My office decided to review this situation as soon as we became aware of it.” Meanwhile, the Iowa Board of Regents voted unanimously to order an audit of every ISU Flight Service flight since Leath became president in 2012.
October 24, 2016: ISU slipped previously undisclosed airplane spending onto “FAQ” page
University officials quietly admitted that ISU’s Foundation spent much more than previously disclosed on the Beechcraft King Air 350, purchased in 2014.
After receiving a complaint that a round-trip flight by Leath to North Carolina may have violated Iowa law, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds referred the matter to ISU’s interim police chief. In other words, she asked an ISU police officer to investigate his boss’s boss.
November 14, 2016: ISU president didn’t follow university policy on transporting firearms
Leath has not complied with university policy on transporting weapons when using ISU’s Flight Service for various hunting trips.
When ISU applied for new aviation insurance in 2016, Leath didn’t disclose a 2014 hard landing incident on his pilot history form, and the university attested to no “aviation losses” during the previous three years.
December 8, 2016: ISU stonewalls, Leath plays the victim ahead of airplane use audit
I discussed the limits of Leath’s promise to be “as open and transparent as possible” and responded to his complaints about supposedly “vicious personal attacks” in media coverage of the scandal.
December 15, 2016: Twelve holes in the internal ISU Flight Service audit
A deep dive into the deeply-flawed internal audit prepared for the Iowa Board of Regents.
One example of how ISU and the Iowa Board of Regents have thwarted my efforts to answer questions raised by the internal audit.
February 20, 2017: Four oddities from the audit of ISU president’s weapons policy compliance
In a brief report on what appears to be an open-and-shut case of President Leath not following the rules, Internal Audit left some big questions unanswered and didn’t address inconsistencies in the new official narrative.
March 19, 2017: Weekend open thread: A new job for Steven Leath?
Thoughts on the rumor that Leath is the top contender for the Auburn University presidency, as well as the news that ISU provided King Air passenger names to the Des Moines Register.
March 20, 2017: ISU president seeking greener runways
Leath had plenty of reasons to look for other opportunities. Plus: how ISU’s stonewalling stopped me from writing a story I had hoped to publish during the NCAA basketball tournament.
June 13, 2017: ISU alum overpays for airplane former president damaged
ISU lost some money on the Cirrus SR22 mostly used by the former president–but they could have lost a lot more.
October 25, 2018: Seven ways Mary Mosiman helped bury ISU’s airplane scandal
A look back on how State Auditor Mary Mosiman failed to properly investigate Leath’s personal trips on the taxpayer’s dime. Because she didn’t do her job, Iowans will never know the scope of a top official’s misconduct at a large public institution.