You know the old saying, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it just may be a duck.” which should be followed by the sayings “Follow the money.” and “Pay to play.”
Sioux Falls city attorney Stacy Kooistra is becoming the new chief operating officer and general counsel for the Dakota State University-Applied Research Corporation.
Kooistra will begin his duties this spring and will be based in Sioux Falls.
Last year when the city pledged $10 million to the project for ‘landscaping and other stuff’ according to DSU’s president in a city council presentation, it seems someone is receiving the benefits of that gift.
The city certainly won’t be in dire straits if Mr. Kooistra leaves since most of the heavy lifting in that department is done by staff attorneys and outside counsel (in which the city spends millions each year by hiding legal budgets throughout multiple departments instead of having a centralized legal fund in the finance department).
Kooistra has also been rumored to take extensive leave for his military commitments (while still receiving city compensation, PTO and benefits) which is protected by Federal Law but has left the office in disarray. Just look at Stacy’s misguided opinions on the 1st Amendment and prior restraint or the multiple typos on council agenda items culminating into misleading legal statements presented to the council on the 6th Street Bunker Bridge vote.
But the timing of this promotion is what is dubious. The city announced a little less then a year ago they would be committing $10 million to the project and even after the president of DSU really didn’t know what the money would be used for the rubber stamp council approved the pledge. After TenHaken enjoyed four endorsed council victories in the city election last spring it seems he has been on a ramrodding spree to do whatever he wants including this suddenly mysterious promotion of Kooistra to the very institution that is receiving millions of dollars from Sioux Falls taxpayers and the city he currently serves (ironically to a guy who doesn’t even live in Sioux Falls city limits).
So is this a conflict of interest? Does a duck quack?