Hart leaves voicemail threatening CSPS funding to cancel rival’s event
Cedar Rapids, IA – Following the breaking news that Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart threatened CSPS – a beloved community non-profit – for allowing a local incubator group to host Amara Andrews for a fundraiser for two other nonprofit organizations, the Andrews campaign released a statement today, strongly condemning his actions. The fundraiser was in no way connected to the Andrews campaign.
In a voicemail that Mayor Hart left to CSPS Executive Director, Taylor Bergen, he states that if CSPS allowed the fundraiser to proceed, it would “significantly damage any possibility of CSPS getting any hotel-motel tax from the City in the future.” Mayor Hart’s voicemail, which was first reported on by the Cedar Rapids Gazette (here) and later by KCRG TV-9 (here), makes it clear that he was willing to use his influence over the allocation of the motel-hotel tax credit to coerce CSPS into changing its decision.
“Our local leaders should be working to help our nonprofits, not abusing their power by threatening to hold up taxpayer funding for political gain,” Amara Andrews said in a statement. “Mayor Hart deliberately threatened the financial stability of CSPS by specifically mentioning the hotel-motel tax credit, which both nonprofit and for-profit entities in Cedar Rapids rely on, all for his own political benefit. This is fundamentally wrong, and unacceptable behavior. The people of this city need a leader who protects and empowers our nonprofits, not one who threatens them.”
Ann Brown, a prominent attorney in Cedar Rapids and Treasurer of the Andrews campaign, also strongly condemned Hart’s actions in a statement. “Mayor Hart’s conduct, as has been reported by local news outlets, is very disturbing,” Brown said. “We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to investigate and determine whether there are additional legal or ethical issues raised by the conduct that may warrant further action. The Amara Andrews campaign is focusing on earning votes through communicating her vision for Cedar Rapids and we hope that going forward Mayor Hart will do the same.“