Top aide to Iowa governor working as family's expert witness

Iow Gov. Kim Reynolds (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0, License Link)
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP)-- A top aide to Gov. Kim Reynolds is working as an expert witness in a private property lawsuit, backing a family that is seeking millions of dollars from neighbors in a zoning dispute.

The outside work by Department of Administrative Services Director Jim Kurtenbach is unusual for an agency leader. His testimony supporting a family seeking to develop an Ames campground over the objections of neighbors could give the appearance that the executive branch is taking sides in a local dispute.

Adding to the potential for a conflict is a misstatement about his state job on Kurtenbach's résumé, which was filed in court last week. Kurtenbach wrote that his department is the "primary entity charged in the Code of Iowa with representing the State in legal matters," which isn't true. The attorney general's office represents the state in legal matters.

Kurtenbach didn't respond to messages seeking comment. A Reynolds spokesman said Kurtenbach had disclosed his work on the case before his appointment in June.