2020 Election

Small Business Owners ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Iowa Dem’s Eviction Record

Local business leaders express concern over Theresa Greenfield's real estate dealings

Theresa Greenfield / YouTube Screenshot

Iowa small business owners are expressing concern over Senate nominee Theresa Greenfield's eviction of small businesses when the Democrat worked as a real estate executive.

In a letter sent Monday, nearly a dozen entrepreneurs said Iowans "deserve answers" on Greenfield's decision to displace local tenants of a Des Moines shopping center in favor of a multinational corporation.

"As small business owners, and as Iowans, we are deeply troubled by your record as president of the Des Moines real estate firm Colby Interests of evicting small businesses here in our state to make room for a multinational corporation," the letter states. "This is particularly concerning given your repeated claims as a candidate for U.S. Senate to be a friend of small businesses."

While Greenfield has cast herself as a champion of small business, the former real estate executive evicted mom-and-pop stores from a local shopping center to make way for a multinational corporation in 2015.

Greenfield's project called for the partial demolition of a Des Moines shopping center to make way for German grocer Aldi, which would have become the fourth big-box retailer within less than one mile. Eviction notices signed by Greenfield "blindsided" local tenants, who were given 60 days to vacate before their forced displacement. The development proposal was scrapped by the Windsor Heights city council following pushback from local residents, but Greenfield moved forward with a renovation project that she acknowledged would increase rents and may "not fit into" existing tenants' budgets.

The Monday letter calls on Greenfield to provide "detailed records of the proposed agreement between your firm and the German multinational corporation" and questions whether small business owners can trust the Democrat given her "record of favoring a multinational corporation over Iowa small businesses."

"We believe it's critical fellow small businesses, and all Iowans, get answers to important questions about your decisions and actions to evict and displace several small businesses," the letter reads.

Greenfield will face incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst (R.) in November. Campaign spokesman Sam Newton accused the Iowa Republican of "spreading false smears about Theresa's record as a businesswoman."

Greenfield won Iowa's Democratic Senate primary on June 2, garnering 48 percent of the vote. Retired Navy admiral Michael Franken came in second with 25 percent. After receiving the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's endorsement just days after announcing her candidacy in June, Greenfield was boosted by more than $10 million in pre-primary spending from her campaign and establishment-aligned outside groups. She previously ran for Congress in Iowa's Third Congressional District in 2018 but left the race after her campaign manager falsified the petition signatures required to appear on the ballot.