Corporate Woods

The following are from various newspaper articles:

Not until December 1999 - after the expo had sold its land to Knapp and Elwell for about $15,000 an acre would the MPO add the Corporate Woods project to its long-range plan, records show. Overall, the interchange scored lowest of six new proposed projects that qualified for money from the MPO in 2000. But just three months after that first listing, the MPO approved a grant of $3.96 million for the Corporate Woods project the largest of five interchange grants the organization has awarded since 1992. Wandro, then with the county, had served on a technical committee that forwarded its recommendations to the MPO board. "It was on the fast track," West Des Moines development coordinator Kevin Wilde said of the Ankeny interchange. "I have been around. I am not stupid. I know politics were involved."

Before the House vote, Rep. Janet Peterson, a Des Moines Democrat, nearly secured enough votes to require the DOT to open the Des Moines satellite station, but she fell one vote short. All House Democrats but one voted for Peterson's amendment. Rep. Geri Huser of Altoona opposed it. Her father is Altoona lawyer Ed Skinner. Skinner was listed as a reference on Wandro's application to be DOT director.

Wandro resigned in September as DOT director. He went to work as an executive vice president for Snyder & Associates a company that employs many former DOT workers, that designed the Corporate Woods interchange and that, according to Knapp's letter to Wandro, laid out the Ankeny site for Wandro's review.

Wandro has since resigned from the DOT to become senior vice president of Snyder & Associates. Snyder designed the interchange and is working with Knapp to design a business park at the interchange. Wandro said the work done on the Ankeny interchange has nothing to do with his new job. Bishop, the former Polk County supervisor, said "it would not at all be out of line" for Wandro or his employees to have suggested the interchange project to county supervisors. Wandro said "it's coincidental" that he was involved from the beginning to the end of the Corporate Woods interchange. He said that through his Polk County and state jobs, he has been on the ground floor of many projects across the state and the metro area.

Wandro has said his work in Ankeny for the DOT has nothing to do with his new job with Snyder & Associates. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board has received two complaints about Wandro that question whether he should have been allowed to accept the new job. The board will review the matter Dec. 1, deciding whether to investigate or not.

Former state transportation director Mark Wandro, at the center of a controversy over the move of Polk County's only driver's license station to Ankeny, is overseeing Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino's multimillion-dollar expansion. Wandro left his job with the DOT in September to work for Snyder & Associates, an Ankeny engineering firm. Prairie Meadows Chairman Jack Bishop called on Snyder in November when casino officials recognized that early construction costs were millions of dollars over budget. Bishop and Wandro worked together in the the 1990s, when Bishop was a Polk County supervisor and Wandro was an assistant county engineer. Both worked in 1999 to develop an Interstate Highway 35 interchange in Ankeny near an 84-acre site that was bought the same year by developers Bill Knapp and Dennis Elwell. Wandro, as DOT director, later authorized purchase of seven of those acres for the driver's license station after he had rejected 15 proposals to build the station elsewhere. On Wednesday, Prairie Meadows' nonprofit board of directors voted to extend its agreement with Snyder for continued services related to the casino expansion. Polk County owns Prairie Meadows and gets a share of the revenue as lease payments.

Snidy the Surveyor

Mark Wandro and Snyder and Associates have been involved in work for Prairie Meadows. Ed Skinner is intimately involved in the workings of Prairie Meadows. Snyder and Associaites is also doing engineering studies for the NE 18th Overpass and the NE Beltway.  Both of these projects would benefit Deer Creek Estates.  Ed Skinner is a founder of Deer Creek Estates.  Click here for more information about an apparent conflict of interest concerning the Deer Creek Estates development.  Contractors working at Deer Creek Estates are also ignoring open burning laws.  Click here for more information.