Emails show regent’s conflict in Africa land deal
IOWA CITY (AP) — Regent Bruce Rastetter participated in discussions with Iowa State University about its partnership with a company he founded that is developing a huge commercial farming operation in Tanzania, a project critics call a land grab, records show.
Rastetter blurred the line between his role as investor in AgriSol Energy, which was working with ISU on the land deal, and his position on the Board of Regents, which governs the university, according to emails released to The Associated Press. Rastetter later recused himself and Iowa State pulled out of the deal, but only after both received criticism.
While the project already has been scrutinized, the records provide details about how Rastetter’s dual roles complicated matters for ISU and emboldened critics who say he tried to use the university’s expertise for a profit motive. Citing the emails, one liberal group called for his resignation Wednesday.
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