2020 Election

Iowa Dem Scrubs Business Experience From Campaign Site After Local Business Owners Slam Her Record

Theresa Greenfield came under fire for evicting small businesses from a local strip mall

Theresa Greenfield / YouTube Screenshot

Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Theresa Greenfield deleted references to her controversial business record from her campaign website.

Greenfield faced criticism from fellow Democrats and local business leaders after a Washington Free Beacon report detailed her role in evicting small businesses as a real estate executive. While her campaign has downplayed the eviction controversy, calling it "desperate" and a "smear," Greenfield's business record was scrubbed from her campaign site in March.

The Iowa Democrat's biography page initially listed her tenure with the now-defunct land-development company Rottlund Homes, saying Greenfield "moved quickly through the ranks … to lead the company's Iowa division." The page also touted Greenfield's role as "president of Colby Interests, one of Des Moines' oldest family-held real estate and development companies."

In March, however, Greenfield removed all mentions of her ties to Rottlund Homes and Colby Interests. Her campaign site now says Greenfield simply "worked as an urban planner and has worked in real estate and development in Iowa." While Greenfield has portrayed herself as a champion of small business in her bid to unseat Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, the scrubbing suggests that the Democrat sees her business record as a political vulnerability.

As president of Colby Interests in 2015, Greenfield evicted mom-and-pop stores from a local shopping center in an attempt to make way for German grocer Aldi. Tenants were "blindsided" with eviction notices signed by Greenfield, and while her development proposal was ultimately scrapped following local pushback, the Democrat moved forward with an expensive renovation plan that she admitted may "not fit into" existing tenants' budgets. At least five local businesses were forced out as a result of the project.

Greenfield was criticized for the project during Iowa's Democratic Senate primary. Businessman Eddie Mauro said that "instead of fighting for small-business owners," Greenfield "attempted to evict them to make way for big business."

Local business owners have also expressed concern over the evictions. Nearly a dozen Iowa entrepreneurs sent Greenfield a letter in June calling on the Democrat to provide "detailed records of the proposed agreement between your firm and the German multinational corporation."

"How can small-business owners trust that, given your record of favoring a multinational corporation over Iowa small businesses, you would prioritize our needs as a U.S. Senator?" the letter says.

Small-business owners also gathered at the shopping center cleared out by Greenfield in June to question her business record.

"I'm concerned that small-business owners will be tossed to the side when the next big dollar sign comes in," Jacob Handsaker of Hands On Excavating LLC said at the press conference.

Ernst campaign spokesman Brendan Conley accused Greenfield of "misleading Iowans" and "attempting to hide her troubling business record by scrubbing her campaign website."

"Scrubbing details from her campaign's website won't hide the fact that she prioritizes her own personal gain ahead of Iowans," Conley said in a statement. "Why is Greenfield hiding from her record?"

Greenfield did not respond to a request for comment.